The Cupertino Community dialogues, our flagship project, began in March of 1996. Over a five-year period community members were engaged in numerous processes to explore a wide spectrum of issues affecting the quality of life in the community. Phase I consisted of a series of discussion groups to elicit concerns, visions, and ideas and to learn what issues were important to community members. Phase II addressed city issues identified in Phase I and consisted of inter-generational interviews and small group dialogues. It culminated with a creative Town Hall Meeting designed to expand the dialogue, explore issues constructively, and engage citizens and city officials in deliberations about future action. In Phase III the City Council spent time discussing citizen concerns and ideas and responded by hosting a two-day citywide leadership event. Phase IV was designed to institutionalize many of the processes established in the earlier stages of the project. A volunteer group of community members called the Citizens of Cupertino Cross Cultural Consortium (5Cs) led the dialogue process in the City for several years. The City continues to sponsor the Neighborhood Block Leader Program today, which was another successful outcome of the project.
Learn more in the publication Public Dialogue and Participatory Democracy: The Cupertino Community Project by Shawn J. Spano.