What's Next Alexandria - Community Dialogue & Online Engagement History

Alexandrians participated in four Community Dialogues to collaborate on improving the City's public participation process, including development of principles of engagement and a framework for the planning process. All materials from the Community Dialogues are posted below.

Page archived as of March 12, 2019

CD4 image4th Community Dialogue - June 24, 2013

The final Community Dialogue was held Monday, June 24, 2013 at First Baptist Church, 2932 King Street. Community members reviewed the draft elements of the Handbook for Civic Engagement and collaborated on communications strategies.   

Table Exercises:

Meeting Evaluations: 

CD4 image3rd Community Dialogue - April 30, 2013

More than 130 community members participated in What's Next Alexandria's 3rd Community Dialogue on April 30th at First Baptist Church. The community finalized the principles of civic engagement and discussed concrete steps for achieving the principles.

CD4 imageTable Exercises:

 Meeting Evaluations:

CD4 image2nd Community Dialogue - January 29, 2013

Approximately 120 Alexandrians participated in the second Community Dialogue on January 29th to refine principles of engagement and begin work to develop a framework for the planning process. 

Table Exercises:

Meeting Evaluations:

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1st Community Dialogue - November 15, 2012

Approximately 165 Alexandrians participated in a Community Dialogue on November 15. That night, after hearing results of the community poll and remarks by Dr. Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, founder and former President of AmericaSpeaks and Executive Director of the of the National Institute for Civil Discourse, attendees worked together on principles of engagement.

Each table answered the following questions, individually and as a group:

  • What does ideal engagement feel like? 
  • What is expected of you as an engaged citizen? 
  • What do you expect in return for your effort? 

Group Work on the Principles of Engagement

Meeting Evaluations

Online Engagement History

Virtual Table - June 24, 2013

During our final Community Dialogue on June 24, members of the community were able to participate using our 3rd Virtual Table .   View the webcast and chat session 

Online Comment Board - May 2013

Review the Revised Draft Civic Engagement Framework . Community feedback was received on the revised Framework from May 9 through May 23. Comments will inform the final draft framework that will be shared at the June Community Dialogue.

Virtual Table - April 30, 2013

On April 30, What's Next Alexandria held its 3rd Community Dialogue at First Baptist Church. The community again had the opportunity to participate in the City's Virtual Table, an online option allowing those who could not attend in person to watch the meeting unfold and participate with other viewers in group exercises through a moderated live chat. View the webcast and chat session.  

Online Poll on Civic Engagement Principles: March 19 - April 9, 2013

At the January 29 Community Dialogue, community members worked together to develop civic engagement principle statements to guide public participation in Alexandria. Subsequent to the meeting, facilitators from the tables collaborated with staff to synthesize the 17 table statements into 8 single statements. The community participated in ACTion Alexandria's online poll to affirm the principle statements. We had a great response! A total of 160 community members participated in the poll, the majority of whom supported the principles as written. At the next Community Dialogue on April 30, participants will have the opportunity to affirm the Principles based on feedback received from this poll. Summary of Civic Engagement Poll Responses and Copy of Poll  

Response to Poll Comments: 
We received 160 responses, 85% of whom supported the principles. The results of the poll were posted (above) shortly after the poll closed.  Many people provided comments with their poll response and we very much appreciate the thought that went into these. All of the comments were reviewed to determine what changes would be made. About a third of the total comments provided specific suggestions about the principles. Of those, some included suggestions to tighten the language, which we incorporated. There were also a variety of specific suggestions for word changes – changes that would alter the meaning of the principles. Because there was no consistency among these suggestions, and because the great majority of poll respondents supported the principles as written, we did not incorporate these changes.

There was an additional set of specific comments that are more detailed and, we believe, provide guidance for implementing the principles. We plan to include these suggestions into the civic engagement handbook that will guide future civic engagement practices.

Four people wrote that the statements were too long or that there were too many principles; this may very well may be true, but we have decided not to make wholesale changes to the statements since they had such wide support as written. Finally, many people commented that while the principles are valuable, the key to success will be implementation.   

Virtual Table - January 29, 2013

During our Community Dialogue on January 29, the City of Alexandria tested and evaluated live Internet video engagement. This online option served as a Virtual Table, allowing community members who could not attend in person to watch it unfold in real time, participate with other viewers in group exercises through a moderated live chat, and tell us what they thought of this tool for future use. You can also visit this link to view the video webcast and chat.

Principles of Engagement Online Poll - January 2013

From January 4-14, 2013, the City of Alexandria and ACTion Alexandria invited Alexandrians to participate in an online poll to further refine work begun at the November 15, 2012 What's Next Alexandria Community Dialogue to develop Alexandria's Principles of Civic Engagement . The online poll asked participants to confirm eight principle categories created in response to community feedback. The categories were: Accessible and Informed Participation; Civility; Early Involvement; Inclusiveness and Equity; Meaningful Engagement; Mutual Accountability; Sustained Cooperation; and Transparency. Participants were asked to confirm the draft principle categories by selecting them, or choose not to confirm a principle by not selecting it. They were then invited to write in additional principle categories and statements.

A total of 130 community members responded to the online poll, the majority of whom confirmed the principle categories as proposed, with the strongest support shown for Transparency and Accessible and Informed Participation, with Civility, Early Involvement, and Inclusiveness and Equity following close behind. Additional principles/statements were also provided by respondents. Most of these suggestions were relevant to the eight draft principle categories proposed and will be included in materials used to wrap up work on the principles during the Second Community Dialogue on January 29, 2013, at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church. At that meeting, the community will develop supporting statements for the civic engagement principle categories, and will discuss the planning process framework, including concrete steps and engagement tools for achieving the principles. 

Community Poll - Fall 2012

The community poll on the future of civic engagement in Alexandria, hosted by ACTion Alexandria, closed on October 25 with more than 1,600 Alexandrians having participated. Poll results are posted below and a summary was shared at the Community Dialogue on November 15. The poll was just the first step in the What's Next Alexandria initiative to collect input on what you think about civic engagement, both in terms of your personal experience and your suggestions for improvement.

Details on Poll Distribution and Response
The poll was distributed online on the ACTion Alexandria website and on paper at various locations throughout the community including recreation centers, libraries and through community organizations between September 18, 2012 and October 25, 2012. The poll consisted of 10 questions about civic engagement and planning for the City's future. In order to reach as many residents as possible, news of the survey was distributed via the City's eNews service, City website, media advisories, by email to City Commission members, community and civic organizations, past participants in planning processes, ACTion Alexandria email list, and to several neighborhood listserves.

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