Deliberative public engagement seeks to combat a lack of understanding and public trust, to attract more people to public meetings and to help counter the domination of the loudest voices.
Rather than merely presenting the public with additional information, deliberative strategies help people understand the choices that the community faces in addressing a public problem. It involves the use of well-designed ways for people to work through those choices and their pros and cons.
Instead of asking local officials and civic leaders about deliberative public engagement in conceptual terms, we probed their attitudes by presenting a specific scenario that entailed some key deliberative features. This scenario is meant not to be prescriptive but to exemplify what a deliberative process may look like, and hence elicit local officials’ and civic leaders' views on such approaches in general.