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On the face of it, the story of Bridgeport, Connecticut, is a familiar one. After losing much of its manufacturing and industrial base following the Second World War, the city confronted the problems of many old industrial cities' high unemployment, a shrinking tax base, the growth of violent crime and drugs. As a result of roughly a decade of hard work by organizations, "ordinary" citizens and various local leaders, public engagement has become embedded in the life of the community.