GSE Publications

Document Type

Book Chapter

Date of this Version

January 2005


On a sunny Saturday in May 1999, citizens streamed into an auditorium on the University of Pennsylvania campus, wending their way around television trucks and a maze of wires. Inside, seated on a stage, were the five candidates for the Democratic nomination for mayor of Philadelphia. The debate that was about to begin had produced some real buzz. This race to succeed the wildly popular Ed Rendell as mayor was generating tremendous interest and anxiety. Rendell had rescued the city from bankruptcy and near despair in the early 1990s, restoring a sense of forward civic momentum. Now, from the glass towers of Market Street to the row houses of Bustleton, a sense of urgency bubbled.


Reprinted from The Deliberative Democracy Handbook : Strategies for Effective Civic Engagement in the Twenty-First Century, edited by John Gastil and Peter Levine (San Francisco:Jossey-Bass, 2005), pages 90-104.



Date Posted: 06 April 2007