Citizens as community experts Cover Image

Citizens as community experts
Citizens as community experts

The benefits of a neighborhood leadership program

Author(s): Adrian Schiffbeck
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences, Civil Society
Published by: Editura Universității de Vest
Keywords: Expert citizens; Leadership; Neighborhood; Participation; Training;

Summary/Abstract: Referring to citizen leadership and expertise in participatory processes at community level, research emphasizes the necessary balance between inclusiveness and knowledgeability. Both conditions provide efficiency and legitimacy for policy making, so as to avoid governance based either on elites, or on mass democracy. Scholars propose the inclusion of "expert citizens" as mediators between scientific and lay knowledge. In a practical manner, this is to be achieved by the formation of community leaders, able to address the needs and improve the quality of life for residents. A neighborhood leadership program develops capacities in human relations, public speaking, conflict resolution, rebuilding of trust and acting inside a network, as well as practical skills related to grant writing, fundraising or completing a community project. To what extent is the implementation of a professional training program able to provide sustainable solutions in the field of community development? The study addresses this research question by means of a review, synthesis and analysis of previous literature. Its empirical section approaches three particular case studies, from the United States and Canada. Results show that the initiative of training citizens to become community leaders has positive effects at an individual and collective level - it fosters personal development, mutual understanding and social cohesion, contributing to an ongoing educational process.

  • Issue Year: 1/2020
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 73-92
  • Page Count: 20
  • Language: English