Entire book

From civicintelligence
Revision as of 22:29, 19 May 2011 by Dschuler (Talk | contribs)

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)

This section establishes some of the important background for the project.

It should include the following topics — and maybe more!

How this came to be created.

The status of the project

What we plan to do next

Why we used a Wiki

This project as a civic intelligence project


What is Civic Intelligence

The basic idea behind civic intelligence is that a group of people are collectively more intelligent than the individuals are alone. When this collective intelligence is harnessed to address the issues that these individuals face as a group they are able to tackle complex problems and improve the quality of life for all. This idea of addressing civic ends through civic means is not a new concept. But, in today's culture of hyper-individualism, consumerism, social services, and government as an institution that utterly fails to support local economies or healthy civic settings, the development of the study and implementation of civic intelligence is much needed.

Getting Started

A look at Section I

This first section of the Civic Intelligence Open Text Book will develop on this basic concept of group intelligence applied towards civic means. The first chapter on Motivation will set the stage for the need to develop civic intelligence. The following chapter will show the presence of this concept throughout history. We will follow up with an overview of Related Disciplines exemplifying civic intelligence today. Section II will explore in depth these diverse fields.

Later in Section I we will develop a framework for thinking about civic intelligence, starting with a look at the constituents of intelligence and how they relate to group intelligence (Intelligence in Individuals and Groups). This will be followed by a look at how civic intelligence plays out in the many fields it is found, with a focus on developing useful models for understanding (Approaches to Civic Intelligence).

What do we mean by civic?

In America's form of representative democracy the term civic is usually contextualized as relating to citizenship and voting -- it is not incorporated into the act of living in civic settings. The idea of rugged individualism that has been a part of the American psyche since its inception makes thinking of ourselves as intertwined with the lives of our neighbors almost antithetical to our cultural identity. In most industrialized nations where the ever expanding reach of global corporatism has built up huge urban centers the sense of civic duty to make the places where we live equitable and hospitable for all is not something often felt.

Smaller cities and towns may have a more focused sense of community. But, the very structure of the civic bodies of today lends its self to the challenges of poverty, crime, unemployment, and the host of other issues we address with institutionalized social services. When we talk about civic intelligence we are talking about integrating all aspects of living in community that requires the application of the mental faculties which gave homo sapiens the advantage to evolve into the species that would overcome the challenges of life on the early plains of Africa and spread across the globe.

Humans have always been social organisms. It is our ability to apply our intelligence and harness the power of group dynamics that has lead us through history to the state we find ourselves in now. And, it will be returning to the understanding of our dependence on one another working together that will allow us to solve the many challenges modern life confronts us with._

Civic intelligence is not a well-understood tool in today's America. As it was explained in the earlier section; civic intelligence and working together runs counter to the typical pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps American ideology. But in today's world, where there is such a huge array of vastly different fields, no single person can know or understand everything, in other words: the Renaissance Man is dead. This calls for a need to bring our collective intelligences together to solve our problems.

How can civic intelligence be useful?

Under what circumstances is civic intelligence useful?

What do we need to do?

How do we make it the basis for meaningful action?

ideas to flesh out the chapter below

There're many reasons to study, develop, and harness civic intelligence...

  • Improve civic life
    • build stronger communities
    • create support networks that address poverty and other social need
    • crime can be reduced when people look out for one another - the more connected we are, the less likely we will harm one another.
    • strengthen business - knowing more about the local economy can make people more participatory in it.
    • make local government more accountable - a well informed public is more likely to participate in important local issues.
  • address national and global issues
    • highly civicly intelligent local communities have the capacity to act well beyond their birders
    • high functioning local communities are inspiring examples for others
    • the more connected localized civic intelligence becomes with one another, the higher regional, national, and global civic intelligence will rise.
  • change the nature of politics
    • as civic intelligence rises, the organization and connection of the public increases
    • highly civicly intelligent constituents rely less on government to enact change and provide resources
    • as constituents become empowered, career politicians will be much more accountable to the public
  • What is Civic Intelligence? Do we adopt a working definition here?
  • How do we recognize it when we see it?
  • What role do ICT's play in Civic Intelligence?
  • Where did the notion of Civic Intelligence originate?
  • What does it mean to be intelligent collectively versus individually?
  • How can — or couldCivic Intelligence combat apathy, both on an individual and group level?
  • How would one recognize and ultimately even measure Civic Intelligence?
  • Similarly, how can one compare two examples of "Civic Intelligence"?
  • What is the role of the individual in Civic Intelligence?
  • Can Civic Intelligence be measured? And, if so, how?
  • Is there an absolute measure of "Civic Intelligence" or does it always depend on context?
  • Does the notion of Civic Intelligence presuppose that we currently live in an unintelligent community? Or that our community is unable to intelligently utilize resources to better the community as a whole?
  • How can "Civic Intelligence" help to change the course of this nation from being an individualistic society to being a true community.
  • Is an informed community considered an intelligent community? How informed does a community have to be before they are considered intelligent?
  • What parts of our current society need to be drastically changed in order to naturally cultivate civic intelligence?
  • What is education? What is brain washing?
  • How to encourage people to educate themselves on world issues when it's so easy to just follow what we're told from the dominate media sources?

The term "civic intelligence" is new but the idea of it is not:

From the Civic Intelligence page on Wikipedia:

"Civic intelligence," like the term "social capital," has been used independently by several people over the last century. The first usage identified was made in 1902 by Samuel T. Dutton, Superintendent of Teachers College Schools on the occasion of the dedication of the Horace Mann School when it noted that "increasing civic intelligence" is a "true purpose of education in this country." More recently, in 1985, David Matthews, president of the Kettering Foundation, wrote an article entitled Civic Intelligence in which he discussed the decline of civic engagement in the United States. Although there has been little or no direct contact between the various authors, the different meanings associated with the term are generally complementary to each other; they are used to describe an "intelligence" that is devoted to addressing public or civic issues. The main difference in the usages is whether the term applies to an individual or to a collective body, like an organization, institution, or society.

A still more recent version is Douglas Schuler's "Cultivating Society's Civic Intelligence: Patterns for a New 'World Brain' (Information, Communication & Society, 2001). (Interestingly, especially in light of the recent Wikipedia phenomenon, the "World Brain" concept, borrowed from H. G. Wells, describes a "universal encyclopedia" that was not feasible when Wells' original concept was released in 1938). In Schuler's version, civic intelligence is applied to groups of people because that is the level where public opinion is formed and decisions are made or at least influenced. It applies to groups, formal or informal, who are working towards civic goals such as environmental amelioration or non-violence among people. This version is related to many other concepts that are currently receiving a great deal of attention including collective intelligence, distributed intelligence, participatory democracy, emergence, new social movements, collaborative problem-solving, and web 2.0.

Civic intelligence is very similar to John Dewey's "cooperative intelligence" or the "democratic faith" that asserts that "each individual has something to contribute, and the value of each contribution can be assessed only as it entered into the final pooled intelligence constituted by the contributions of all." Civic intelligence is implicitly invoked by the subtitle of Jared Diamond's recent book, Collapse: Why Some Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (2004) and to the question posed in Thomas Homer-Dixon's book Ingenuity Gap: How Can We Solve the Problems of the Future? (2000) that suggests that we'll need humankind's ingenuity in the near future if we are to stave off problems related to climate change and other potentially catastrophic occurrences. With these meanings, civic intelligence is less a phenomenon to be studied and more of a dynamic process or tool to be shaped and wielded.

Robert Putnam, who is largely responsible for the widespread consideration of "social capital" (2000), has written that social innovation often occurs in response to social needs. This certainly resonates with George Basalla's findings related to technological innovation (1988), which simultaneously facilitates and responds to social innovation. The concept of "civic intelligence," certainly an example of social innovation, is a response to a perceived need and the reception that it receives or doesn't receive will be in proportion to its perceived need by others.

Collective Intelligence

From Eevi Beck: What might be termed collective intelligence has also been studied non-commercially by researchers - anthropologists for sure, but including people like Ed Hutchins, who's often pointed to as "father" of the research area of Distributed Cognition. Also see the Wikipedia article on distributed cognition

From Wikipedia article on Civic Intelligence:

Civic intelligence focuses on the role of civil society and the public for several reasons. At a minimum, the public's input is necessary to ratify important decisions made by business or government. Beyond that, however, civil society has originated and provided the leadership for a number of vital social movements. Any inquiry into the nature of civic intelligence must be collaborative and participatory. Civic intelligence is inherently multi-disciplinary and open-ended. Cognitive scientists address some of these issues in the study of "distributed cognition." Social scientists study aspects of it with their work on group dynamics, democratic theory, on social systems generally, and in many other subfields. The concept is important in business literature ("organizational learning") and in the study of "epistemic communities" (scientific research communities, notably).

No atlas of civic intelligence exists, yet the quantity and quality of examples worldwide is enormous. While a comprehensive "atlas" is not necessarily a goal, people are currently developing online resources to record at least some small percentage of these efforts. The rise in the number of transnational advocacy networks (Keck and Sikkink, 1998), the coordinated worldwide demonstrations protesting the invasion of Iraq, and the World Social Forums that provided "free space" for thousands of activists from around the world, all support the idea that civic intelligence is growing. Although smaller in scope, efforts like the work of the Friends of Nature group to create a "Green Map" of Beijing are also notable.

Most people are familiar with intelligence as a quantity measured by an IQ test. However a quick look at Wikipedia will show that there is little in the way of consensus as to what intelligence is. While psychometric testing is widely accepted in academic and professional circles as a reasonable representation of an individuals general intelligence, it does not take into account genetic vs. environmental factors.

In general, intelligence relates to the functions of the brain that take in information and process it in some way to allow interaction with the world. This processing takes many forms. We can somewhat artificially look at these faculties in isolation to get a sense of the scope of intelligence.

  • Anticipating - projecting likely outcomes in the future based on passed information and outcomes
  • Attending - focusing attention on the details of a specific idea or challenge
  • Classifying, categorizing, and naming - sorting information in a way to make retrieval easier in the future
  • Communicating - expressing information and ideas to others in a way that can be understood
  • Decision-making - choosing one of many possible actions based on evaluation
  • Doing - carrying out a chosen action
  • Emotions and empathy - perceptions based on interactions with others and ability to relate to them
  • Evaluating - ranking information with relevance to a particular challenge or situation
  • Identifying and interpreting - the mechanism by which classifying, categorizing, and naming is achieved
  • Imagining - extending ideas beyond what has been directly perceived -- creativity
  • Instinct - tendency toward action not based on acquired knowledge, but genetic tendency
  • Knowledge, reasoning and learning - a built framework of information and its relations
  • Meta-cognition - thinking about thinking
  • Perceiving - taking in data from the world
  • Planning - projecting a series of steps needed to achieve a desired goal
  • Remembering - recalling information or experience

While this may not be a complete list of all the constituents of intelligence, this list shows that even the most basic task of finding your keys takes several mental processes to accomplish. You will most certainly be attending to perceiving visual information as you scan the surroundings. You evaluate likely places your keys might be based on remembering past places they have been and classification of the most likely spots to look in. A plan develops of the order in which you will look around. Maybe instinct will come into play if you trip and need to catch your balance.

All this is to illustrate that intelligence is more than learned knowledge, and more like a tool box for dealing with challenges presented by daily existence. With this in mind we can examine how civic intelligence relies on the intelligence of a group of people to solve problems mutually shared across the group.

When considering Civic Intelligence, it's important to consider the social mores of the times. For example, Jane Addams was a Nobel Peace Prize Winner. She was mostly known for her work in the Settlement movement and one could even say her life's work lead to what we now know today as social services. No one can deny this women did great things in the work of social justice. However despite her work towards social change many of her opinions on other things reflected the negative social mores of the times she lived in. In her famous book "Twenty Years at Hull House", Addams describes obvious rape in this way:

"The surprisingly large number of delinquent girls who have become criminally involved with their own fathers and uncles"

No mention of rape or blame on the men is even brought up in her work. Her real opinion, apparently, is that the sexual encounters were the young girls fault.

Addams ends chapter 13 in her book in this way "The moral of the tale was clear applied to people who lived "where they did not belong," although I protested that was exactly what we wanted--to be swallowed and digested, to disappear into the bulk of the people." I have to say there are a lot of things wrong with this statement from where we come from today in civic intelligence but working on our own social mores is something of much importance in our future work of civic intelligence.

Below is a network of interrelated hypotheses (assertions?) of civic intelligence.

Civic intelligence hypotheses.png

Perhaps this recaps to a large degree where we stand, poised on the threshold of the next section.

Introduction to Civic Intelligence in Activism

We currently live in a society that is flourishing with small and large groups of people who are advocating for social change. These people collect because together they have envisioned a better world, a different world, a new future, which is different than what we are heading towards. These activists are working on changing our course, steering us towards a new destination. The role of activist is no easy cross to bear though, with activism and activists come challenges. The thinking and doing of a society must be changed in order to change our course towards the vision of the activists. The people which live in the society must change their thinking and their doing. Then first, an activist must question how they will change the thinking and doing of a people on a larger scale?

  • What advantages might civic intelligence offer within this perspective?
  • Why is this perspective important?
  • Is the perspective used implicitly (or sporadically or locally or partially)?
  • Can a civic intelligence orientation help inform or otherwise the efficacy or other patterns of this perspective?

Case Study -I am wondering if this case study should be in the section on Grassroots Technology? Deliberative Applications and Networks - (or possibly, Networked Digital Economy) — but is this a case study??

Technology facilitates Civic Engagement - Civic Intelligence

Adaptations by people to a networked digital economy is taking place. Fueled by widespread access to computers and software, the “physical capital” necessary for the creation of content is now in the hands of a great many people. This widespread access without the physical restrictions of significant capital financing affords to humans the ability to construct coordinated bodies of work either collaboratively or individually. News and the dissemination of information no longer requires the proprietary mechanisms of the industrial information complex, such as the printing presses, media stations or ownership of airways. Real time reporting of world events is now tweeted, blogged and posted on Facebook.

Case Studies

Political Unrest - Social Movement

American U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice speaking on the subject of liberation in Egypt at Twitter headquarters stated “The power of this technology, the power of social networking to channel and champion public sentiment, has been more evident in the past few weeks than ever before” (Rice, 2011). Open and free discussion of real time world events facilitated by non-market mechanisms acting in both individual and collaborative efforts have produced coordinated actions and social revolution. Social networking is not the only democratic lever and by no means should it be awarded the architect of Egyptian liberation. However the numbers posted by The American University in Cairo speak to the potential impact.

  • Egypt gained 632,120 new Facebook users from January-February, 2011 an increase of 12.16%
  • On February 1 (the day the Internet was turned back on) Egypt gained 100,000 new Facebook users
  • Globally there were 1,317,233 Egypt-elated Tweets between January 24-30

A cursory review of the data indicates that people enjoy interaction, collaboration and the connectedness of social networking applications such as Facebook and Twitter. Furthermore, people see this medium as a means to coordinate informed views in opposition to political policies. Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook so college students could stay connected. Today citizens from different countries and diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds are leveraging this technology as a means to implement social change. UN Ambassador Rice states “We need to now see a process in which all elements of the opposition are able to negotiate with the government on a constitutional and responsible path that will lead to free and fair democratic elections.” 632,000 new Facebook users in Egypt over the course of 60 days marked a 12% increase. Whether this impacted the revolution process or was a result of it, is difficult to say, but the temporal relation between the two events cannot be coincidental nor overlooked. References: House, G. (2011). e-Liberate, Non-Proprietary Civic Collaboration

Case Study - Wolf conservation (Wolf Haven International)

Activism and social change can occur in many different forms and in many different arenas. For instance, activism towards the conservation of a threatened species can provide significant social change. The continued fight for wolf conservation is a prime example. Looking at how some of the organizations that deal with wolf conservation can provide a unique glimpse at civic intelligence at work.

Organizations and groups that exhibit civic intelligence are normally those that center around making things better for humankind in different ways. There are a large number that work for the environment and the planet we live on. By saving are environment we save our very existence and future. Wolf Haven International does this by trying to save one of the keystone species in the web of life. Understanding that we are connected with all lifeforms, including those we've feared, will go a long way towards saving our environment. When the top predator in the wild was removed, the effects on the balance of nature were significant and devastating. Since the reintroduction of the wolf into some of it's natural habitat, that balance has slowly come back.

Unfortunately, the fears and paranoia of a select few are once again moving forward to derail the progress that's been made. The recent de-listing of the Rocky Mountain Gray wolf could set in motion the near eradication that occurred in the 19th and 20th century's. By using aspects of civic intelligence, such as deliberation, communication and collaboration, Wolf Haven International continues to work hard to try and educate as many people as possible on the need for the gray wolf to provide the balance in nature and a better future for all of humankind.

References: Bristow, D. (2011) Wolf Haven International: Wolf Conservation

Case Study - Planned Parenthood

In our society, it is assumed that one will prescribe to a set of values and behavior patterns that are socially acceptable. Often an individual will step outside of the bounds of said acceptability. It is then that the individual is forced to decide whether it to conform or to create their own bounds for which they are to prescribe. This is how we have come to know so many subsocieties or subcultures. The following organization is one, which exemplifies civic intelligence by not placing bias on any one person or community from which they originate. This organization works to advocate for, promote, and provide for the community as a whole and work towards empowerment of all persons.

Planned Parenthood is a national organization that works to empower our community on an individual and communal level. Planned Parenthood believes in helping people “regardless of the individual's income, marital status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, or residence.”

As stated in their mission statement, Planned Parenthood “believes in the fundamental right of each individual, throughout the world, to manage his or her fertility,” and also, “[Planned Parenthood believes] that respect and value for diversity in all aspects of our organization are essential to our well-being. We believe that reproductive self-determination must be voluntary and preserve the individual's right to privacy. We further believe that such self-determination will contribute to an enhancement of the quality of life and strong family relationships.”

Planned Parenthood has been a resource for the community for close to ninety-five years. Although budget cuts are constantly threatening the future and longevity of this organization the employees and volunteers that see it through day in and day out never waiver in their commitment to helping their community.

References: Jamieson, S. (2011) Planned Parenthood


For Future Exploration

template for perspectives chapters


The idea of education and intelligence are seemingly intertwined. We expect public institutions in the education sphere to build knowledge and skills that will make individuals more productive members of society than they would become if left to their own devices. However, there are certainly many serious concerns about how well modern institutions achieve these goals. There is one type of intelligence, specifically, that has little to no attention by a majority of people, but that should be taught and practiced within the educational systems and especially within the political realm. If this perception of civic intelligence could be embodied in a public sphere there would be less acts of desperation in the forms of crime, violence, etc., as well as more public involvement in communities regarding issues including but not limited to: minority group outreach programs, political involvement, whole care health education, free and non-propaganda media organizations, not-for-profit organizations, environmental awareness programs, sustainable lifestyle programs, and the list goes on.

civic intelligence activists.

A strong foundation is the answer to developing a lasting civically intelligent community. One builds a strong foundation by starting at the roots, or base of an idea. Naturally, the roots of society is the young generation who will become the future leaders and influencers in communities. In The Underground History of American Education, John Taylor Gatto writes:

Our official assumptions about the nature of modern childhood are dead wrong. Children allowed to take responsibility and given a serious part in the larger world are always superior to those merely permitted to play and be passive. At the age of twelve, Admiral Farragut got his first command. I was in fifth grade when I learned of this. Had Farragut gone to my school he would have been in seventh.

What Gatto is pointing to is the importance of engagement in learning that is often missing in todays public education. An important component of civic intelligence is the integration of individuals into the civic body to build a stronger collective whole. When individuals of all ages are focused on tackling the concerns of their community, learning will naturally take place. This phenomenon of group intelligence, for individual knowledge to merge together into new widespread understanding and realization shows how the work of cultivating civic intelligence can be intertwined with education. In primary school, educators should start asking questions to young children that allow, and in some cases, push them to think beyond the safe fences of their familiar homes. Presenting questions such as why corporations are allowed to use natural resources and not replace them; why harmful and destructive chemicals are being used in the environment as well as the healthcare system; what is the difference between a white-skinned child and a brown-skinned child if we all have the same internal structure; why do the people who need help the most like displaced peoples and people in need, have such limited resources available to them. These questions may not even be able to be answered by adults, but asking them will allow children to ponder them; the questions will float around in their minds and eventually drift into their subconscious space where they will develop a hunger to know the answers. They will reflect on their own lives and wonder if anything will or even can be changed in hopes that different questions can be asked. Questions such as, “how can I help others to have the same opportunities available to me?” “what can I do to help others get the resources they need?” Etcetera. We cannot hope for our children to truly comprehend these questions without some real experience of what goes on outside of their school. How will children experience the real world beyond the safe confines of their school walls?

Real-world experience. The children of today’s age, at least in America, do not have a realistic view of what goes on in the world. Children are citizens of this planet as well as adults; age does not classify who is or can be a citizen. Experience is the only authentic way to compassionately understand how individuals struggle, therefore children must be allowed to experience what lies beyond their white picket fence to realistically explore questions similar to what is presented above. Minors should have volunteer projects during school within their communities to allow them to make and witness real change. These projects could include visits to homeless shelters, volunteering at food banks, developing an organic, sustainable community garden, green roof projects with kid-friendly education on sustainable living. These are only a couple of the myriad of possibilities that lie in the educational development for a civically intelligent child.

In this chapter we will explore formal and informal aspects of education that exemplify civic intelligence. Worth considering is the academic environment of The Evergreen State College, how it broke from traditional models when it was founded, and how its current incarnation has played into the development of this project.

    Some useful topics:
  • Learning about civic intelligence
  • Learning to do civic intelligence
  • Learning outside the academy
  • Institutional and other structural support for civic intelligence education within society

Case Studies

One or more case studies that show different facets of this perspective. Our decision was, as much as it's possible, not to artificially separate thinking and doing. At the same time we do want to present a variety of approaches, some of which will be better suited for think-work and some will be better suited for action (that plays out in the "real" (or material?) world.

Case Study 1 Name of case study 1


Case Study 2 Wolf Haven International: Wolf Conservation and Education


   Historical decline of the wolf 

Long before humankind became the dominant species on Earth, wolves held that place of honor. Wolves are considered a keystone species that sits atop of the food chain. They maintained a balance in the eco-systems they inhabited. At one time, wolves covered much of the North American continent. According to wolf biologist L. David Mech, the wolf was originally “the most widely distributed mammal in the world” (Busch 2007). Unfortunately, as humans evolved and expanded in population as well as into the top predator, they began to have conflicts with wolves. In many cultures, the wolf became a thing of evil and danger. As far back as 600 B.C, stories attributed to Aesop talked about the cunning and wickedness of wolves (Busch, 2007). This fear and loathing spread from Asia and Europe and made it’s way to North America. The Native Americans did not share this feeling towards the wolf. They respected and revered the wolf as one of the great spirit animals. Europeans however saw them as a problem that needed to be eradicated and began hunting and trapping wolves by the hundreds of thousands, such that by the 1970’s the only wolves left in the wild could be found in Alaska, Canada and the north eastern tip of Minnesota

   Endangered Species Act of 1973 

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was created to “help endangered and threatened species recover from their low numbers so that they are no longer in danger of qualifying to be classified as endangered or threatened in the foreseeable future” (Archibald, 2004). By this time it was determined that the gray wolf population had been reduced by almost 95% of it’s historic population. Scientific estimates believe that prior to Europeans settling in North America there were as many as 400,000 wolves in the lower 48 states alone. The only wolves that remained in the wild in the lower 48 were a few hundred located in northern Minnesota and Michigan.

When the wolf was listed on the ESA in 1973, only the subspecies, Rocky Mountain Gray wolf was listed. In 1978, the ESA was amended to include all subspecies of the gray wolf as well as the Red wolf. In 1982, the federal government once again amended the ESA to allow for the reintroduction of gray wolves in Yellowstone National Park,central Idaho and Western Montana. After numerous legal challenges to the idea of reintroduction, wolves were relocated from Canada to Yellowstone, Idaho and Montana. Since those reintroductions, the population has grown where now there are over 1,500 wolves located in the Rocky Mountain region that encompasses Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon and northern Utah. In the Great Lakes region the recovery is even greater with an estimated population of over 5,000 wolves in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Mexican Grey wolf that was at the very verge of total extinction in the wild. There are currently about 42 wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico and the struggle to have those numbers increase continues.

There are a number of organizations and sanctuaries that work for wolf conservation. Most of these began in the 1970’s and ‘80’s and are non-profit's that operate via contributions, gifts and volunteer support. They include but are not limited to the following:

   Wolf Haven, International
   Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center
   Wolf Mountain Sanctuary
   Runs with Wolves Sanctuary
   Wolf Education Research Center
   International Wolf Center
   Defenders of Wildlife
   California Wolf Center
   Endangered Wolf Center
   Northern Rockies Wolf Collaborative
   Animal Welfare Institute
   National Wildlife Federation
   Sierra Club
   Wolf Song of Alaska
   National Parks Conservation Association
   Greater Yellowstone Coalition
   Idaho Conservation League
   The Wilderness Society
   Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
   Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center
   Lakota Wolf Preserve
   Seacrest Wolf Preserve
   Timber Wolf Information Network
   White Wolf Sanctuary
   Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary
   Wolf Conservation Center
   Wolf Hollow
   Wolf Howl Animal Preserve
   Wolf Park
   Wolf Sanctuary of Pennsylvania
   Wolf Timbers


As noted above, the number of organizations that contribute to or are directly involved with wolf conservation in some form is lengthy. This list does not even encompass the large number of organizations worldwide that do similar work. In order to look at how the issue of wolf conservation is dealt with using civic intelligence, I will concentrate on one organization as an example.

Wolf Haven International (WHI), located in Tenino, Washington, is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1982 by a couple that wanted to provide a home for captive born wolves. As WHI grew over the years the mission became that of "working for wolf conservation by protecting wild wolves, providing sanctuary for captive-born wolves, promoting wolf restoration in historic ranges and educating the public on the value of all wildlife". (WHI mission statement)


WHI's existence is due to a love and respect for wolves. This is shared by all that work for WHI. They operate under a guiding set of principles and perspectives. First and foremost is wolf conservation. To achieve this, WHI provides a sanctuary for captive-born wolves, promotes education on wolves to the general public and partners with other wildlife conservation organizations on issues of wildlife conservation and protection.

In addition to the conservation of wolves, WHI works to help restore wolves to their natural habitat. They participate in the Species Survival Program, a federal program developed to save the Red wolf and the Mexican Gray wolf both of which were on the verge of extinction. As a participant of this program, WHI is a recognized breeding facility for the Red wolf and one of only 3 breeding and pre-release facilities for the Mexican Gray wolf.

To maintain it's focus on these goals, WHI staff and volunteers concentrate on using scientific data and knowledge to make decisions on care for the wolves as well as the information that is shared through educational and political outreach. The organization understands that the love of wolves alone will not help them survive either in captivity or the wild.


WHI is a 501(c)(3) organization that is comprised of a Board of Directors, an Executive Director, a small paid staff that includes dedicated animal care staff and a large contingent of volunteers that are committed to the organizations vision of wolf conservation.

The paid staff and volunteers work closely together to maintain the day to day activities of the sanctuary as well as the promotion of the ideals of WHI. The organization works hard to incorporate all players. The volunteers are involved in decision and policy making right along with the paid staff. WHI believes that everyone has a voice and that it takes collaboration of all parties to make positive changes for wolf conservation.


WHI's main goal is conservation of wolves in the wild as well as in captivity. To do this, they utilize a number of different tactics.

They continually work on educating the general public about wolves. This is accomplished with tours of the sanctuary as well as outreach trips to schools, presentations at community events and civic meetings and providing and maintaining social media outlets, i.e., web page, facebook and twitter.

WHI is involved in several communities as a member of their Chamber's of Commerce and continues to work with other civic organizations to promote not just wolf conservation but an understanding of how all wildlife play a keen role in maintaining the balance of nature.

WHI is also involved on the political front providing time and energy in meeting and working with local, state and federal officials on all issues related to wildlife conservation.


Basing decisions and ideas around scientific knowledge instead of strictly passionate opinion allows WHI to provide a sound and fundamental educational approach to the issue of wolves and wolf conservation. This issue is one of the most contentious environmental issues in the country today. With the recent de-listing of the Rocky Mountain Grey wolf, this scientific and reasoned approach will be put to the test. Can this approach be maintained in the face of growing anti-wolf sentiment at the state and federal levels? WHI is working to answer this question by building partnerships with other wolf and wildlife conservation groups to promote a unified approach to counter the growing anti-wolf trend. Time will tell if this approach is intelligent enough to work.


When looking at WHI as an organization that purportedly uses civic intelligence, there needs to be some type of tangible outcome to help illustrate that usage. For WHI, the long term goal is stated in their mission statement. The goal of wolf conservation and reintroduction remains the same. The process to get there is constant and ever changing. Short term goals to help facilitate the long term goal, center around continuing education for everyone and the ongoing battle with those who seek to derail wolf recovery and reintroduction.


Since WHI is a non-profit organization, it relies on money. Money from tours, merchandise sales, token wolf adoptions, memberships, in-kind donations and grants. To generate this monetary support, WHI works hard to market it's mission to the general public by participating in outreach events and fundraisers throughout the year.

As important as money however, is the need for talented volunteers with a love of wolves and a desire to contribute their time and efforts to protect and care for them. Without dedicated volunteers, Wolf Haven would not be able to continue operations.


Organizations and groups that exhibit civic intelligence are normally those that center around making things better for humankind in different ways. There are a large number that work for the environment and the planet we live on. By saving are environment we save our very existence and future. Wolf Haven International does this by trying to save one of the keystone species in the web of life. Understanding that we are connected with all lifeforms, including those we've feared, will go a long way towards saving our environment. When the top predator in the wild was removed, the effects on the balance of nature were significant and devastating. Since the reintroduction of the wolf into some of it's natural habitat, that balance has slowly come back.

Unfortunately, the fears and paranoia of a select few are once again moving forward to derail the progress that's been made. The recent de-listing of the Rocky Mountain Gray wolf could set in motion the near eradication that occurred in the 19th and 20th century's. By using aspects of civic intelligence, such as deliberation, communication and collaboration, Wolf Haven International continues to work hard to try and educate as many people as possible on the need for the gray wolf to provide the balance in nature and a better future for all of humankind.


Busch, Robert H., The Wolf Almanac: A Celebration of Wolves and Their World, The Lyons Press Guilford, CT. 2007

Archibald, Catherine J., Recovery of the Gray Wolf under the Endangered Species Act, Animal Legal & Historical Center 2004 web article

Pattern Language Association

   Civic Intelligence 
   Earth's Vital Signs 
   Shared Vision 
   Voices of the Unheard 


Case Study n-1 Developing Civic Intelligence Games

At the onset of the program it was determined that the students in the Civic Intelligence program at Evergreen were going to develop games related to civic intelligence. As with the project in the next case study, this was to be accomplished over one quarter, a ten week period.


Case Study n Developing a Civic Intelligence Text Book

For the final case study in this section, we look at the development of this book. As the reader knows, this "book" is being developed by undergraduate students over a 10 week period using wiki technology. The teacher also played an active role (in fact is writing these words, but not necessarily the next ones...)


Exercises for Future Exploration

Introduction to the Civic Intelligence in Social Science

Civic intelligence and the social sciences go together like peanut butter and jelly. To be a civically intelligent individual, there are a number of things to remain aware of, ranging in subjects from communications to sociology. Civic intelligence has it's fingers in every social science.

A few suggested questions:

  • What advantages might civic intelligence offer within this perspective?
  • Why is this perspective important?
  • Is the perspective used implicitly (or sporadically or locally or partially)?
  • Can a civic intelligence orientation help inform or otherwise the efficacy or other patterns of this perspective?
  • What doe social science have to offer the progression of civic intelligence?

Case Studies

Case Study 1 Studying Civic Intelligence

Measuring civic intelligence

Aspects of Civic Intelligence

Towards Comparing and Measuring

Variation How does it differ from place to place — and why?

Magnitude How widespread in terms of people and resource moblization?

Resistance What impediments to progress were encountered?

Organization Versus disconnected and dispirited individuals or organized groups

Sophistication We're (simply) against it versus we've developed this (possibly complicated) plan

Effectiveness But hard to show that a war (for example) was prevented...

Responsiveness How fast and how appropriate were their responses? Relative role of civic intelligence in process In relation to other possible explanations

The measuring of civic intelligence, as with all measurement, first needs a unit, then needs a specific thing to measure. Civic intelligence can be seen in a number of different things, the smallest being in the individual actions performed by a single person and the largest being movements over long periods my a united people. And countless categories in between. It seems the first logical step would be to choose a single "thing" to measure, on the whim of the brave soul choosing to measure civic intelligence. To me, it seems the most effective place to start with the individual acts. This is because it would be the smallest piece to begin with.

in Roy Baumeister's book Willpower, he describes the two most important characteristics that determine success as intelligence (which is difficult to really increase), and self control. Self control essentially sums up to focusing on long term goals over the short term. I believe this trait would be vital for civically intelligent social innovation. Though it is difficult to change our habits, the situation never ceases to change.

Civic intelligence in actions could be measured through the nature of the action (habitual or otherwise), as well it in relation to other actions. A good example of this would be the act of picking up litter. This is a small act, unimportant relative to all the major environmental events in our world. Yet, if noone picked up trash then imagine where we would be!

In regards to a unit, that's more of a style thing. I am a big fan of the game Civ, so I'd pick Civs as the unit.

An example may be required:

How much civic intelligence is in the act of picking up litter?


This act's nature. Why is the person picking up the littler? Will the person do it again? Did the person give the act a second thought? These kinds of questions would lead us to understand the nature of the act

This act's value. This would be a much more mathematical approach to the situation. Maybe involving estimation of how much litter there is in the area of the individual and how much each person in that area would need to pick up. It could also take into account the amount of time spent picking up litter.

This act's value (part 2). how does this act compare to other acts in civic intelligence? Life is full of actions, one may be more efficient than another in regards to civic intelligence. This would probably be the most difficult to measure, as situations change so drastically from region to region.

In regards to accuracy as compared to precision, finding the ACTUAL amount of civic intelligence is a lost like going to the tenth digit when weighing something. It's irrelevant, tedious, and probably a third thing too. In chemistry they made a big deal about precision and accuracy. They described accuracy as being close to the real quantity, and precision as the reliability of the measurement to get the same results. In the end (or possibly before it begins?), the purpose of measuring civic intelligence needs to be seriously questioned. If the purpose is as i see it, to solidify this fuzzy area study and give the average person a better understanding about what the world needs, then accuracy is not as important as precision. In video games the choose essentially random initial numbers when giving points. You get 76 experience points for defeating an enemy, this number is based on rules that the game follows. What matters to the gamer is how much closer this number gets them to leveling up. The number is (generally) irrelevant, the consistent progress what matters.

Just to conclude: measuring civic intelligence is an enormous task, I believe it would be most effective to begin with the smallest case in which civic intelligence could be present. This would be the actions of individuals. These actions could be measured through their nature, their value in relation to duty, and their value in relation to other actions. It would be more important to get a rough frame of how this measurement system would function in it's purpose (which needs to be solidified), than to nitpick at the accuracy of such a system. In my opinion, the purpose of measuring civic intelligence is to inform everyone of the empirical value, not the actual value. If we knew how intelligent some acts were in comparison to others, how much would get done if everyone would do the same act, then it would make civically intelligent acts much more appealing.

Case Study 2 Managing Global Environmental Change

From The book "Managing Global Environmental Change": some of the questions I thought were thought provoking were:

  • How well is society prepared to meet the challenges of global environmental management?
  • What approaches have evolved in different countries and problem areas?
  • What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • In what ways can their effectiveness be enhanced?


For Future Exploration

Examples of civic intelligence at the level of government: Gross National Happiness in Bhutan (seems like a good one to address in this chapter!)

It looks like the broad areas within this perspective are: organizational development, policy, and governance...

Introduction to Civic Intelligence as Professional Practice

Case Studies


  • How can we organize a deliberation process that matters and avoid ineffective talking without any results?

The first thing we have to do is try. To some degree this is a design process — which is something that academics often eschew. I'd also characterize the work that I'd like to see as being experimental and constructive. I believe that we need to build, somewhat gradually and piecemeal, deliberative systems at the same time that we're building deliberative cultures. 'References: Schuler, D. (2011). Deliberation That Matters -- From Krems, Austria" Posted by House

e-participation: list of questions for Douglas Schuler (From Austrian journalist, Angelika Ohland, May 9, 2011)

  • How can an average citizen become a motor for innovation and the implementation of solutions by e-participation?

  • Which technical tools does he need? And are they already available?

  • How do deliberation networks function? Are there any rules, is there any control? Are there any barriers to participation?

  • How can we organize a deliberation process that matters and avoid ineffective talking without any results?

  • How can collective thinking help to solve problems in the community? Do you know any examples for successful 
e-participation today?

  • Food shortages, despoiled natural resources, economic inequality, wars, dictatorship: Is collective reasoning also able to help to solve global problems?

  • What are the characteristic traits of civic intelligence? And on the contrary: How would you describe civic ignorance?

  • What do people have to know and to learn for being able to deliberate?

  • How influential are age, education, income, regional and cultural factors?

  • How can ordinary people with little education become a part of the deliberating community?

  • How can we increase the inclusiveness of e-participation?

  • Which role will ordinary people play in the new civic society? And will the political and economic elites be less influential in the future?

  • Will e-participation implement more grassroots democracy?

  • Deliberating networks do not have any democratic legitimation. Can this be changed? How can ideas be transformed into political action?

  • Will e-participation change the political institutions?

  • Do you think that citizens are interested in e-participation? Aren't they busy enough taking care of their ordinary life? Aren't they relieved if politicians and experts do the job for them?

  • Lobbyists spend huge amounts of money to anticipate a debate about the danger of atomic power or the destructive influence of our consuming habits on the climate. Do ordinary people have a chance to see through these aggressive forms of anti-deliberation?

  • And at last: Will we be smart enough, soon enough?


For Future Exploration

The template for the basic "perspective" chapter follows this paragraph. The original template (possibly revised) is in Introduction_to_Section_II. (After the chapter is further along — and the template structure is more-or-less finalized, we can remove this extra verbiage.)

The basic Plan has four parts:

(1) A Introduction to the perspective

(2) One or more case studies that show different facets of this perspective. Our decision was, as much as it's possible, not to artificially separate thinking and doing. At the same time we do want to present a variety of approaches, some of which will be better suited for think-work and some will be better suited for action (that plays out in the "real" (or material?) world.

(3) Conclusions

(4) Finally, a section that includes text book like end-of-chapter exercises, questions for the student, suggested activities, etc.

The intersecting fields of organizational theory, personal and collective healing, and spiritual integration are all intrinsically contained within this movement toward greater civic intelligence we are attempting to map. Any instance of social transformation has roots in the personal growth, empowerment and integration of the individuals involved, and there are patterns that invite further exploration of ways to nurture this sort of healing and transformation at both the personal and the community, or civic level.

Here's a link to Symbionomics, just to get this started... This project has its own set of pattern cards that are in development, that seek to illuminate how these concepts are being used to transform the ways we live to be more in alignment with a healthy way of being. Of particular interest for this class, perhaps, is the Rapid Prototyping card, near the bottom...


Civic Intelligence and Social Innovation "If we can't imagine a better world, we won't get it." - John Robinson of UBC's Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability

Civic Intelligence is a set of skills and ideas that organizations and society use to find solutions to environmental (social and physical) issues collectively. Civic intelligence is important for social changes because these set of skills and ideas are key to the success in finding solutions and changes to unmet needs. This includes finding what exactly is the problem, where we can make changes, and what we need to do to make these changes.

Civic intelligence and social innovation can easily be overpowered by talk of utopian visions in attempting to make this world as best as it can. The problem with this vision is that people get too deeply devoted to making this world perfect. (No flaw) And this is impossible to do. The best way to try rid this world of environmental issues is to use social innovation and civic intelligence not necessarily to find set solutions, but to find change.

The most effective way to create these changes we need for finding solutions to social issues is organizations. Civic intelligence Organizations promote social innovation with strength, support and passion. Organizations are usually small and take time to progress but they are effective in a way that no other action can accomplish. Through hard work, dedication and passion organizations are filled with people who are motivated and feel personally connected to the issue. This is what makes organizations so powerful. As networks are created the power of the organization spreads. Social innovation is all around us, big and small. Social innovation can range from self-help health groups, to fundraising, to charity shops, to community wind farms. (Mulgan 7) An importance part of the process of organizations are creating awareness of social issues. Connections are key to this process and without them these organizations would cease to exist.

The Problems that arise As we make changes and advances to our world we face new problems where we thought we were finding solutions. Ironically, advances we make such as technology, has brought upon new problems that we now have to address. Not only has technology made issues such as plagiarism easier to do, it is affecting civic intelligence at the same time. technology is "dumbing down" workers as they get their jobs taken from them by machines. This general process removes the "politics" of labor, leisure, and learning; indeed it naturally results in the "de-skilling" of the citizen. As this continues people start to think about getting jobs more than the social consequences that comes from the jobs.

The template for the basic "perspective" chapter follows this paragraph. The original template (possibly revised) is in Introduction_to_Section_II. (After the chapter is further along — and the template structure is more-or-less finalized, we can remove this extra verbiage.)

The basic Plan has four parts:

(1) A Introduction to the perspective

(2) One or more case studies that show different facets of this perspective. Our decision was, as much as it's possible, not to artificially separate thinking and doing. At the same time we do want to present a variety of approaches, some of which will be better suited for think-work and some will be better suited for action (that plays out in the "real" (or material?) world.

(3) Conclusions

(4) Finally, a section that includes text book like end-of-chapter exercises, questions for the student, suggested activities, etc.

Are we talking only about grassroots technology here? I think I can think of cases that we'd want to talk about that weren't grassroots... ?

A Introduction to the perspective

Case Studies

One or more case studies that show different facets of this perspective. Our decision was, as much as it's possible, not to artificially separate thinking and doing. At the same time we do want to present a variety of approaches, some of which will be better suited for think-work and some will be better suited for action (that plays out in the "real" (or material?) world.

Case Study 1 Non Proprietary Civic Collaboration


Cooperative interaction with knowledge and information is central to civic development. The mechanisms by which they are constructed and delivered guide societies socioeconomic and cultural direction. It is therefore critical that complex democracies seek non-market, non-proprietary means of communication and deliberative problem solving. House, G. House (2011)

Yochai Benkler speaking to the emergent need of Non-Proprietary Civic Collaboration, states “Networked information economy provides varied alternative platforms for communication, so that it moderates the power of the traditional mass-media model, where ownership of the means of communication enables an owner to select what others view, and thereby to affect their perceptions of what they can and cannot do.” (Benkler, 2006) Posted by House

Case Study 2 The Bucket Brigade

Urban environmental issues, such as pollution, are often inflicted among low income neighborhoods that are struggling to deal with the day to day realities of basic survival. These communities are frequently not supported by their governmental representatives in the fight to maintain a healthy environment. Many neighborhoods spring up in industrial areas that are designated as mixed use, placing factories next to housing, resulting in poor air quality and contaminated ground water. Industry provides a substantial income for many cities creating a conflict of interests for governments to truly monitor their activities thoroughly. If the government is not actively holding industry accountable for the pollution they create then it rests in the laps of communities to advocate for themselves.

  • The Bucket Brigade is an organization, in Louisiana, that was featured in the film Blue Vinyl. Their mission is to provide their adapted 'buckets' to residents situated near industrial plants.
    "The EPA-approved “bucket" is a simple, community friendly tool that fenceline neighbors use to take air samples. Taking air samples is a powerful experience for community members who are used to being ignored, overlooked, and disrespected by corporations and government. Dorothy Jenkins, President of Concerned Citizens of New Sarpy, used to call the refinery to complain about the odors. A low ranking operator would tell her not to worry, that the black plume of smoke that billowed for hours near her home was not harmful. Now Mrs. Jenkins has a bucket. When refinery managers and government regulators tell her that there is nothing to worry about, she answers, "Why, then, was there a benzene reading of 14 in my air sample, a reading that violates the state standards?" The bucket gives community members power to hold institutions accountable to provide a safe and healthy environment." (labucketbrigade.org)

Scenes in Blue Vinyl show community members using the 'buckets' to monitor the air quality in their neighborhood, that is situated next to a plastics plant. This basic, cheap and efficient technology empowers users by giving them the scientific evidence they need to consistently hold industry accountable. Arming citizens with this information also allows them to place pressure on governmental branches, such as the EPA, to join them in the eradication of city pollution.(EJ)

Sustainable Housing-Earthship Biotecture

“The spectacular growth in world population since the 18th century-and particularly during the 20th century, when it almost quadrupled-is obviously one of the principle causes of a radical change in the relationship between human civilization and the ecological systems of the earth. The impact of larger numbers of human beings would be far less, of course, if the average consumption of natural resources were less and if the technologies we use at present to exploit the earth’s bounty were replaced by better and far more efficient technologies that minimize the environmental damage we cause.” (Our Choice A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis, Al Gore, P.225)
  • We do not have the natural resources for everyone around the globe to have a wood framed house, hooked up to national grids, and plumbed into city water lines. Yet that is what many of the worlds population is striving for. How can innovation in technology enable us to start making changes now? How can civic intelligence enhance our ability to learn, innovate and develop new technologies? As demonstrated in the documentary The Garbage Warrior, Architect Michael Reynolds came across this very issue when his ability to experiment with Biotecture earthships, was halted by state government.
Reynolds had spent 40 years building earthships.
"Earthship Design Principles
  • 1) Thermal/Solar Heating & Cooling

Earthships maintain comfortable temperatures in any climate. The planet Earth is a thermally stabilizing mass that delivers temperature without wire or pipes. The sun is a nuclear power plant that also delivers without wires or pipes.

  • 2) Solar & Wind Electricity

Earthships produce their own electricity with a prepackaged photovoltaic / wind power system. This energy is stored in batteries and supplied to your electrical outlets. Earthships can have multiple sources of power, all automated, including grid-intertie.

  • 3) Contained Sewage Treatment

Earthships contain use and reuse all household sewage in indoor and outdoor treatment cells resulting in food production and landscaping with no pollution of aquifers. Toilets flush with greywater that does not smell.

  • 4) Building with Natural &

Recycled Materials House as Assemblage of by-products: A sustainable home must make use of indigenous materials, those occurring naturally in the local area.

  • 5) Water Harvesting

Earthships catch water from the sky (rain & snow melt) and use it four times. Water is heated from the sun, biodiesel and/or natural gas. Earthships can have city water as backup. Earthships do not pollute underground water aquifers.

  • 6) Food Production
Earthship wetlands, the planters that hold hundreds of gallons of water from sinks and the shower are a great place for raising some of the fresh produce you’d like to have in the winter, but find expensive or bland tasting from the supermarket.(earthsips.org)
Hive energy roof.jpg His constructions are built using tires, cans, bottles and cement, they are completely sustainable, off the grid homes; enabling owners the luxury of not having bills, reducing their carbon footprint, and recycling waste materials in construction.
“In just ten years citizens of the U.S wasted enough aluminum cans to reproduce the world’s entire commercial air fleet 25 times.” (Container recycling institute)
Part of the process that Reynolds went through was one of active experimentation, both during and after construction. When the ability to build homes was stopped so did the process of innovation and learning. It is essential that such technology be explored and not become wrapped in time consuming red tape that can take years to untangle. Innovation can only be fully utylized when individuals and groups are given the freedom to explore new ideas.Of course many of these new technologies will threaten the old paradigm of energy delivery and therefore various industrial organizations face the prospect of losing money.
"Why have a corporate or political "middle man" between us and our energy needs? our vessel (home) must be designed to sail with the forces that exist beyond human control and exploitation."(Michael Reynolds, earthship.org)
Due to this it is essential that individuals, as consumers, actively involve themselves with city government planning commissions, ensuring that there be inclusive allowances for alternative living.


End-of-chapter exercises, questions for the student, suggested activities, etc.

We probably need to talk about the various relevant interpretations of community building. This should include traditional community development (and "development" generally). It should also include online communities, research & action networks, and new varieties of communities that we can conceptualize that are based to a large degree on civic intelligence.


This chapter presupposes that the notion of a community is important. However, Western culture appears to favor those who are leaders, and those who are willing to do whatever it takes to better themselves, without concerning themselves with the people whom they trample on their way to the top. Before contemporary accessibility of resources, people survived best with the help of their community. This logic is very primitive, and in a world where everything is instantly accessible and available at all times, it is difficult to remember that it is the people with which we are surrounded by that allow us to flourish and grow independently.

Within any network of social connections, knowledge of all kinds is abundant, more than anyone will ever know. It really is a small world. Within a given community of local individuals, there can be so many new ideas, as well as old ones that could use new thoughts; there can be “ties” between people which bring them together under a cause; and there might be just enough brain cells between them to plan projects, that which the entire community can benefit from.

Civic intelligence promotes the understanding that each of us are responsible for how well the communities in which we live and interact lives up to its potential capacity. The traditional role of service organizations has been to identify deficiencies or problems within specific communities and dole out money and man hours to try and fix the problem. In many cases, this has led to a passive populace reliant on charity to meet their needs.

The Asset-Based Community Development Institute is an example of an organization doing significant research and projects to counter this outdated paradigm. Their central focus is on highlighting the resources and skills within communities and leveraging those assets to build communities capable of meeting their own needs.

This chapter will show how strengthening and developing the capacity of communities in whatever shape they take is a foundational part of building a civically intelligent society.

The number and scale of projects within these federations grow as they learn from one another. First, one federation savings group develops a solution—such as a scheme to upgrade their homes or to develop new homes, a community-managed toilet, a partnership with the police for community policing, or a change in land use regulations that cuts the costs of land for housing. Then, other groups within the federation visit and discuss the innovation with those who implemented it. They consider how they might try a similar initiative, adapted to their needs and capacities, and the availability of land and other resources. Also, the different national and citywide federations directly support and learn from one another, as well as supporting the development of comparable federations in other nations. (Jones V.)

The example above illustrates starting from a seed and framework and growing civic intelligence.

Posted by House

Case Studies

Shack / Slum Dwellers International

From Breakthrough Communities: Sustainability and Justice in the Next American Metropolis.

The number and scale of projects within these federations grow as

they learn from one another. First, one federation savings group develops a solution—such as a scheme to upgrade their homes or to develop new homes, a community-managed toilet, a partnership with the police for community policing, or a change in land use regulations that cuts the costs of land for housing. Then, other groups within the federation visit and discuss the innovation with those who implemented it. They consider how they might try a similar initiative, adapted to their needs and capacities, and the availability of land and other resources. Also, the different national and citywide federations directly support and learn from

one another, as well as supporting the development of comparable federations in other nations.

Forgiveness as a Bridge to Community Building

The act of civic intelligence is impossible without the ability to communicate effectively. Many of the global issues we face today are ones of war; both the current act, or the repercussions of feuds that originate centuries ago. Sadly war does not end with the last shot fired but continues on in the hearts of those impacted by it for many generations, creating an endless cycle of hate, violence and intolerance. Post war actions are paramount to the healing of nations; it is critical that the path to the peace process include inquiry, truth, and justice, in order for healing to begin, and relationships between nation states repaired. Bringing everyone to the table to communicate can be virtually impossible and take many years, but it is vital to the civic health, not only of the anguished nations but globally.

Ireland has suffered centuries of political strife and sectarian violence, over the years many peace talks have resulted in failure and increased violence. Although the IRA disbanded in 2008, there is still self-imposed segregation of the Catholics and Protestants, with the pain of violence etched in the streets and minds of those who witnessed brutality and lost loved ones. A positive reaction to this simmering anger sprang out of the Irish school system when they created a relationship with The International Forgiveness Institute, creating a school program to help move the nations youngest from seeking ‘justice’ to mercy. The process is shown in the documentary, The Power of Forgiveness, where very young children are guided through the method by their teacher. They focus on the smaller issues of childhood, such as a stolen toy or a mean look, the program instills tools for these children to guide themselves through anger to forgiveness. By practicing this regularly, new neural pathways are formed, creating a natural response to friction that allows for anger and frustration, but leads to mercy and peace. The documentary also shows how other nations, communities and groups have journeyed through acts of tremendous violence to prepare themselves to forgive. The film discusses the essential nature of acknowledgement of crime, and the course of forgiveness, while facing the issues preventing it. Without the process of forgiveness, there can be no healing, and no further active communication between the impacted parties.
‘Forgiveness does not change the past but it does enlarge the future’ Paul Boese
How can civic intelligence help to bring warring parties to the table? Coming to the table is not enough if the communication is unproductive and results in arguments, friction, and further fragmentation of a community. How can civic intelligence assist in the process of communication so that it is highly productive for all participants? One way is to use facilitators who are neutral to the issues at hand. In his book “Non Violent Communication a Language of Life”, Marshall Rosenberg outlines the process of non-violent communication (NVC) and how it can be applied to individual communication to highly charged situations such as Israel. Rosenberg has recognized that the reason that most negotiations break down is because people are not feeling truly heard, recognized and empathized with, creating further resentment. The NVC program has four stages to establish a greater flow of communication in order for healing to begin. The ‘Center for Nonviolent Communication’ has taught NVC to many hundreds of people, sending facilitators to many war torn countries to mediate dialogue,
“Worldwide, NVC now serves as a valuable resource for communities facing violent conflicts and severe ethnic, religious, or political tensions.” (P.11)
This method is useful not only for those struggling with extreme conflict but also for smaller communities simply trying to have a town meeting. The result of meetings where people feel truly heard and understood is a greater empowerment and commitment to relationship with community. The development of similar programs that allow communication to happen is essential to the building and retaining of community.


Community Building to Combat Pollution

  • A functioning community that engages in productive communication, problem solving and civic action is paramount to solving many of the environmental problems that society faces today. Many of these issues are not going to be solved by government or industry but by grassroot organizations committed to actionable solutions. The case study below describes how two individuals inspired a community to come together to combat the local pollution of their beaches.
  • Ocean trash is a global issue of our time, causing a cascade of problems for the delicate eco-systems within it. Overall ocean pollution is growing exponentially as we increasingly use the oceans for commercial travel and industrial shipping. According to a 2009 report by the Regional Seas Program of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) "Marine litter from both land and sea based activities has accumulated to such an extent that in central Pacific areas the mass of floating plastic is six times greater than that of plankton. Mass concentrations of marine litter consisting of plastics, ropes, fishing nets and cargo associated wasters (including whole shipping containers) extending over many kilometers have been observed in high 'sink' areas in the equatorial convergence zone. It is estimated that over 46,000 pieces of litter are on the surface of every square mile of ocean today. 70% of marine litter will eventually sink to the seafloor." (Ecosystems and biodiversity in deep waters and high seas 2009). While this study also describes other ocean pollution such as noise, chemical, oil and nuclear, the largest direct threat to marine life is from plastics. Plastic waste accounts for the majority of ocean garbage, and constitutes approximately 90% of all trash floating on the ocean surface (UNEP 2009). Unlike other types of trash, plastic does not biodegrade. Rather, its process is photo-degradation through sunlight, resulting in it breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces that never disappear. Plastic pieces are then eaten by marine life, get stuck on reefs, clog ocean floors, and wash up onto the worlds beaches. Ocean trash poses a significant threat to the health of sea creatures of all sizes, "Over 100,000 marine mammals and one million sea birds die each year from ingesting or becoming entangled in plastic." (NOAA 2009) Yearly approximately 10% of the worlds' land garbage ends up in the ocean (UNEP 2009) and with a population approaching 7 billion people this threatens the future health of the world's oceans, unless solutions presented and global actions are enacted. While many of the environmental issues that we face today are hard for the average person to fully grasp, trash is a problem that everyone can see, from gum stuck on our city sidewalks to garbage washing up on our shores; it is therefore a tangible reality. Despite the physical actuality of a global problem with trash creation and disposal, there is still a diffusion of responsibility as to who is going to clean it up. Often society looks to government agencies to clean the streets and provide garbage services, but who is responsible for the trash in the oceans that wash up on the shore? Is it possible to develop a framework of civic intelligence that helps to negate that diffusion as well as enabling every citizen to take ownership of what they are disposing, along with the entire cycle of trash?

The Founding of MARISOL

  • When Carmella Ihrig and John Craft went to Mahahual, Mexico for a scuba diving trip, they were faced with the physical reality of ocean pollution. The reefs they set out to explore were choking among tons of garbage. The beaches they imagined they would enjoy were similarly strewn with litter from plastic bottles to medical waste, making the beaches less an idyllic vacation and more a danger zone. While many would have turned away unable to fathom a solution to such an enormous global issue, Carmella and John stayed, founded MARISOL, and started a new adventure collecting garbage from the reefs and beaches. “As divers and activists we feel compelled to preserve this international jewel.” (MARISOL 2007) Had they simply continued to clean the beaches and reefs would this have been an example of civic intelligence or just good intentions on the path to folly? As they report on their website, “So much waste that is washing up on the beaches everyday. We have been told that the currents flush the waste in the ocean to this part of the world. As we have started the clean-up process, we do find garbage from all over Latin America and the Caribbean here. We have also seen waste from China and North America.” (MARISOL 2007) To continue only in the act of removing the garbage would have been a losing battle on all fronts, as the garbage continued to wash onto the reef from all over the world. Realizing this they developed a mission to deal with the whole problem rather than just the one they were faced with, “ Our goal is to address the obvious issue first, then work our way backwards to determining and documenting where it comes from, and how it finds its way into the water so consistently” (MARISOL 2007). Carmella and John creatively solved the problems they faced, and evolved new goals for MARISOL, "To build long-term community based recycling programs to clean the oceans and beaches along the largest reef system along the western hemisphere" (MARISOL 2011).


  • “We started our project cleaning beaches, not really knowing where we were going to bring the garbage or what we were going to do with it" (MARISOL 2011). Initially, community involvement with the project came from their interactions with the nearest recycling station, which was two hours away. They negotiated a deal where they would be compensated for certain materials that they would bring, such as metals, but the majority of the garbage collected was plastic bottles. “We managed to bring our first 6 tonnes of plastic to the facility, but it was multiple truckloads and ultimately made no financial or environmental sense to do this.” (MARISOL 2011) They renegotiated with the recycling station, who started coming to the beach with a larger truck but they had to have a certain weight to make it a viable journey, and they did not have the labor force to collect that much that quickly. “This led us to consider shredding or crushing our beach plastic to reduce the volume and making the journey to the recycler more cost effective. We considered buying a used shredder from the States, but the machines we found were either cost prohibitive or they ran 3 phase power which is not available on the beach.” (MARISOL 2010) Rather than allowing this setback to stop their work they kept on trying to find solutions, ultimately reaching out to the community for help. Through meeting with locals and presenting their dilemma they garnered local support and inspiration. Each group was inspiring and empowering the other to continue the work. “The “Do it yourself” culture here in Mexico inspired us to try and build a simple, low cost plastic shredder with the help of a local machine shop.” (MARISOL 2010) The shredder was created through collaboration between local carpenters and metal workers, who, having never owned any store bought equipment, brought to the task their experience and skill from making their own machines and tools (MARISOL 2010). The machine can “Grind 210 kilos in 6 hours” (MARISOL 2010). New ideas were sparked by experiencing the physical reality of the shredded plastic sitting before them, “ Inspired by other organizations who use plastic bottles as building materials. Eco-tec, for example, uses 2 liter soda or water bottles and fills them with sand or dirt to create concrete blocks” (MARISOL 2010). With this new direction their vision evolved to enable the local community to have a recycling program that could create a viable income, while empowering them to greater ownership of the beaches. Through global donations they are able to hire local residents to collect trash and then shred for construction materials. “$200 pays for two people to work for one week. They are averaging 2 tons of garbage per week” (MARISOL 2011). Eventually as the goal is for this process to become self sustaining for the local community, as more of the plastic “bricks” are utilized in building projects.

3 tablesawblades3.jpg


  • The evolution of MARISOL has been a delicate balance of interaction with local community combined with the skills and enthusiasm of the founders. All of these dynamics have expanded each other to create a working organization that values the democratic process. The ability of the founders to adapt to the realistic capabilities of the environment they find themselves working in, and the embracing of new ideas and designs have also worked to sustain them.


  • MARISOL operates on a number of levels.
  • Operation to clean the beaches and reefs of plastic pollution, to enable health for the eco-systems within.
  • To recycle the plastic so that it does not further pollute by sitting in a land fill.
  • To create a community business that can employ residents, further helping to boost the economy of Mauhual, Mexico.
  • To use the plastic 'bricks' to create housing projects.
  • To bring in volunteers from around the world, to support MARISOL in global education of the problems of plastic garbage.

3 tablesawblades5.jpg


  • MARISOL enacted civic intelligence in several key ways.
  • They did not rush into the community with a decided format and force it into action.
  • They evolved their foundation by working with the community. They did this through, engaging the community, accepting feedback and incorporating ideas into their goals.
  • They adapted to the resources available, e.g they worked around the available electricity rather than trying to swim upstream and create more power. Through experimentation they discovered what was working and quickly let go of those aspects that were in-practical to long term survival.
  • They were open to the ideas from other organizations, who already had a functioning model, but they adapted them to work within the culture of Mexico.
  • They used the skills they came with, such as diving, and incorporated skills from the community to help achieve collective goals, e.g community involvement in building the shredding machine.

Products and Projects

  • The long term direction for MARISOL is to create a sustainable recycling program for the communities along the Mexican - South American Reef. By engaging the residents in collaborating on a shredding machine they have inspired a greater enthusiasm that not only can clean the beaches and reefs but create many jobs in the process. Through the knowledge of companies such as Eco-Tech [1] and BUVAD [2], they applied successful working models to their project. Currently they are at the early stages of using the plastic 'bricks' so it will be interesting to see if they can capture the same outcomes of the companies that they are trying to mirror. Plastic bricks have become a viable way for low income areas to build community buildings, family homes or to assist in recover after environmental devastation.
  • picture below is an example of education program to instruct residents in how to build their own buildings using plastic bottles. From Eco-tec website.Eco-tec honduras arch.JPG
  • The picture below shows a complete building in Honduras. From Eco-tec websiteEco-tec honduras.JPG
  • Picture below from MARISOL website showing the results of their work.

3 tablesawblades7.jpg


Currently MARISOL resources are from the donation of time from the founders, and various volunteers from around the world. Additional resources come from donations to the foundation from the general public, worldwide. Funds of $200 can employ two people for two weeks. In theory once they begin to 'sell' the plastic bricks they will create additional funds.

Pattern Cards

  • Engaged Tourism (107)
  • originally the founders came to the MESO reef as tourists. After founding MARISOL they are actively working to bring in volunteer tourist to help in their work. Volunteers work to clean the beaches, shred the plastic and make 'bricks'. The volunteers gain a greater understanding of the issue of ocean garbage and actively work in a project to recycle it. Volunteers also gain experience of working within a different culture, and learn about the issues they face as a community.
  • Self-Designed Development (106)
  • The founders of MARISOL started with the right approach, one that included the feedback of the community. There thoughts of creating a recycling center to create building materials for local construction was not one they forced, but one that evolved through discussion.
  • Appropriating Technology (108)
  • The creation of the shredding machine and the development of the plastic bricks, are forms of technology that are already being experimented with around the world. The notions of what makes a building, how is should be constructed, and the striving so many have for the 'dream home' are encouraging those to think creatively about design. The planet does not have enough resources for 7 billion people to have a wood framed home, but plastic bottles allow for many to build and own a home, community center, schools and many other needed buildings.


  • Solutions are only going to be discovered, and enacted, when entire communities take ownership for this problem. Often the most serious trash pollution falls into the poorest communities, who are struggling to meet the needs of the immediate survival and have no desire, energy, or finances to tackle the problem. MARISOL is an example of how the actions of one individual can spark the unity within a community to empower active solutions, and it certainly demonstrates an inspiring start. However, to truly embody civic intelligence, it needs a global framework so their organization does not simply float individually, making small steps but not combating the root of the problem. It is imperative that a network of similar foundations unite to work cohesively to combat the reality of ocean garbage and to create long-term solutions to ceasing the problem altogether. The creation of a “world brain” with formats available for similar small communities to develop their own program is essential to greater, global solutions. The reduction of packaging and the greater need to discover creative solutions to recycling is going to happen with local communities working with manufacturers, a great example of this interaction is a campaign by the Women’s Institute in England. In 2006, the Women’s Institute started the ‘Packaging Campaign’ designed to bring attention to manufacturers and consumers to the waste create by needless packaging. The campaign asked for WI members to leave packaging at the supermarket check out on one day in 2006. The results of this campaign was the biggest supermarket in England, Tesco, started asking customers to do the same so they could discern which packaging people considered unneeded. If organizations like MARISOL connected with campaigns like the WI, they would create a program of change right through the chain of trash. Additionally, MARISOL could work with oceanographers to help define where these plastics are coming from in an attempt to mitigate further contamination.
  • However, does it serve the community to create a financial framework around the plastics they are simultaneously trying to combat getting there in the first place? Unfortunately, it does not appear that any solutions are going to happen for generations to come so creating a reliance on these products for immediate gain will help to reduce short term pollution to the greater environment for the good of the community. This is still an issue to ponder.


For Future Exploration


The Center for Nonviolent Communication.


Rosenberg, Marshall. Nonviolent Communication A Language For Life. Puddle Dancer Press.2003

The Power of Forgiveness-http://www.thepowerofforgiveness.com/

Conclusions to Section II

Introduction to Section III

Conclusions and Possible Futures

Please add terms — and refine the ones that need refining! Remember: These terms want to be alphabetized. Don't let them down!

It's OK to add terms without defining them! It's also OK to add terms that might not be totally relevant.

If the terms are from a reading, please indicate the reading. (And ultimately there should be a link to the reading.)

When you add to these, don't forget to alphabetize...




Please add terms — and refine the ones that need refining! Remember: These terms want to be alphabetized. Don't let them down!

It's OK to add terms without defining them! It's also OK to add terms that might not be totally relevant.

If the terms are from a reading, please indicate the reading. (And ultimately there should be a link to the reading.)

Online Resources

Remember to alphabetize — and don't forget to disregard "The" and "A" at the beginning of what you're alphabetizing!

Film Review Template

Documentary Films

  • Documentary films are a useful tool to present complex issues in a manner that entertains and educates. The medium enables the filmmaker to describe intricate social and environmental problems, often making the material more accessible to a broader audience. Frequently this art form is used to tell stories of the unheard, and to encourage activism on their behalf. The films below are examples of documentaries that capture civic intelligence in action, or the act of their creation is civic intelligence itself. These films are analyzed for their presentation of civic intelligence, as well as extracting themes using the 'Liberating Voices' patterns.
We think of film as a bullet that ignites consciousness WE must serve as the stone that breaks silence, or the bullet that starts the battle. —Raymundo Gleyzer

Unreviewed Films

The following films are all good candidates for civic intelligence reviews. They can be reviewed here and also on the Public Sphere Project site. These were all shown at the NW FilmCenter in Portland, Oregon in the fall of 2012.

  • Bidder 70
  • Brothers on the Line
  • Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare
  • Five Broken Cameras
  • The Invisible War
  • Radio Unnamable
  • Raising Resistance
  • Revolutionary Optimists
  • Words of Witness
  • The World Before Her

After innocence.jpg

After Innocence

Directed by Jessica Sanders, released in 2005

After Innocence official website

After Innocence trailer

Stream After Innocence on Hulu


"AFTER INNOCENCE tells the dramatic and compelling story of the exonerated — innocent men wrongfully imprisoned for decades and then released after DNA evidence proved their innocence. The film focuses on the gripping story of seven men and their emotional journey back into society and efforts to rebuild their lives. Included are a police officer, an army sergeant and a young father sent to prison and even death row for decades for crimes they did not commit.The men are thrust back into society with little or no support from the system that put them behind bars. While the public views exonerations as success stories — wrongs that have been righted — AFTER INNOCENCE shows that the human toll of wrongful imprisonment can last far longer than the sentences served.The film raises basic questions about human rights and society's moral obligation to the innocent and places a spotlight on the flaws in our criminal justice system that lead to wrongful conviction of the innocent. The film features exonerees Dennis Maher of Lowell, MA; Calvin Willis of Shreveport, LA; Scott Hornoff of Providence, RI; Wilton Dedge of Cocoa Beach, FL.; Vincent Moto of Philadelphia, PA; Nick Yarris of Philadelphia, PA; and Herman Atkins of Los Angeles, CA. It also features Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, founders of the Innocent Project which has helped to exonerate the more than l50 people freed through the use of DNA testing in the last decade; and highlights the work of human rights activist Dr. Lola Vollen, co-founder of the Life After Exoneration Program.

Civic Intelligence



Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony

Directed by Lee Hirsch, released in 2002

Amandla! trailer

Stream Amandla! at SnagFilms


Civic Intelligence


Blue gold.jpg

Blue Gold: World Water Wars

Directed by Sam Bozzo, released in 2008

Blue Gold official website

Blue Gold trailer

Stream Blue Gold on YouTube


"Wars of the future will be fought over water as they are over oil today, as the source of human survival enters the global marketplace and political arena. Corporate giants, private investors, and corrupt governments vie for control of our dwindling supply, prompting protests, lawsuits, and revolutions from citizens fighting for the right to survive. Past civilizations have collapsed from poor water management. Can the human race survive?" (IMDB)

Civic Intelligence

This documentary exhibits civic intelligence in several ways; By presenting this complex issue, and allowing the viewer to review the data on world water resources, and how scientists predict this will unfold in the future. It is often hard for the everyday person to gather all the evidence to gain a complete picture of intricate environmental issues, documentary film is a perfect tool to both show, and allow the experts to interpret scientific studies and observations. Secondly, the filmmakers show how the citizens of Bolivia created a united front, to fight the corporations who privatized their water. The case of Bolivia alone is a wonderful example of civic intelligence applied into action, due to their success their framework has been used in other nations who are fighting for their water rights against MNC. The film shows many individuals and groups working towards the protection of the worlds water resources, and ensuring that there is equal access to it both now, and in the future. Activism is demonstrated by many small community groups, among them the citizens who founded The Michigan Citizens Water Conservation, during their battle to prevent Nestle from removing, bottling, and selling their groundwater. Through presenting the facts, and showing the many individuals and groups working on this issue, the viewer gains a greater understanding of the perils we face globally if we ignore the corporations who are slowly moving to privatize the worlds water resources. This information collectively would be hard for the average person to attain without a tremendous investment in time and resources. It is hard to watch this film without feeling an urgent need to get involved with one of the many organizations introduced. In an act of civic intelligence the filmmakers have a website full of information on the issue, organizations to join, and how to approach local government to promote water preservation.


Whistle Blowing (130) Voices of the Unheard (83) Peaceful Public Demonstrations (133) Follow the Money (135) Everyday Heroism (116) Sense of Struggle (104) Transparency (64) Durable Assets (58) Working Class Consciousness (12) Social Dominance Attenuation (4)

Blue Vinyl

Directed by Judith Helfand and Daniel Gold, Released in 2002.

  • "A detective story, an eco-activism doc, and a rollicking comedy, BLUE VINYL puts a human face on the dangers posed by PVC at every stage of its life cycle, from factory to incinerator. Consumer consciousness and the "precautionary principle" have never been this much fun." (Bullfrog Films)
  • When Judith Helfand's parents decided to re-side their home with vinyl, it set her on a journey of discovery into the manufacturing process. Judith's exploration take her to the heart of Louisiana's industrial district to discover a community struggling with high cancer rates, lack of governmental support from the EPA, and denials from the Vinyl industry. The film explores the work of 'The Bucket Brigade' and how they empower local communities to gather scientific evidence of air pollution.These grassroot organizations are holding industry accountable for their pollution, and pressuring government agencies to get involved. Judith presents the history of the vinyl industry and the controversial scientific evidence that proves the devastating harm it can cause to humans. Judith has done for vinyl chloride what Rachel Carson did for DDT through writing her book 'Silent Spring' in 1962.


  • Memory and Responsibility (11)
  • Health as a Human Right (5)
  • Social Responsibility (8)
  • Whistle Blowing (130)
  • Activist Roadtrip (134)
  • Appropriating Technology (108)
  • Transparency (64)

Children Full of Life

Directed by,Noboru Kaetsu released 2006

  • In the award-winning documentary Children Full of Life, a fourth-grade class in a primary school in Kanazawa, northwest of Tokyo, learn lessons about compassion from their homeroom teacher, Toshiro Kanamori. He instructs each to write their true inner feelings in a letter, and read it aloud in front of the class. By sharing their lives, the children begin to realize the importance of caring for their classmates.Capturing the intimate moments of the students' laughter and tears, the film explores one teacher's approach to allowing children the opportunity to discover the value of sharing powerful emotions. Classroom discussions include difficult issues such as the death of a parent or being the victim of bullying. In this "school of life," the simple message is learning to look after one another. Following Mr. Kanamori's class for a whole school year, the cameras were kept at the children's eye-level, giving their view of the world as they cope with troubled relationships and the loss of loved ones. Through their daily experiences, viewers see how they develop together a spirit of co-operation and compassion.Children Full of Life was awarded the Global Television Grand Prize at this year's 25th Anniversary Banff Television Festival, the festival's highest honour. It was the first time Japan took the top prize. As well, the documentary won the Rockie Award in the Family and Youth Programs category.(CBC.com)"

Darwin's Nightmare

Directed by, released

  • The old question, which social and political structure is the best for the world seems to have been answered. Capitalism has won. The ultimate forms for future societies are "consumer democracies", which are seen as "civilized" and "good". In a Darwinian sense the "good system" won. It won by either convincing its enemies or eliminating them.

In DARWIN’S NIGHTMARE I tried to transform the bizarre success story of a fish and the ephemeral boom around this "fittest" animal into an ironic, frightening allegory for what is called the New World Order. I could make the same kind of movie in Sierra Leone, only the fish would be diamonds, in Honduras, bananas, and in Libya, Nigeria or Angola, crude oil. Most of us I guess, know about the destructive mechanisms of our time, but we cannot fully picture them. We are unable to "get it", unable to actually believe what we know. It is, for example, incredible that wherever prime raw material is discovered, the locals die in misery, their sons become soldiers, and their daughters are turned into servants and whores. Hearing and seeing the same stories over and over makes me feel sick. After hundreds of years of slavery and colonisation of Africa, globalisation of african markets is the third and deadliest humiliation for the people of this continent. The arrogance of rich countries towards the third world (that's three quarters of humanity) is creating immeasurable future dangers for all peoples.

It seems that the individual participants within a deadly system don't have ugly faces, and for the most part, no bad intentions. These people include you and me. Some of us are "only doing their job" (like flying a jumbo from A to B carrying napalm), some don’t want to know, others simply fight for survival. I tried to film the personalities in this documentary as intimately as possible. Sergey, Dimond, Raphael, Eliza: real people who wonderfully represent the complexity of this system, and for me, the real enigma.
  • This film presents the incredibly complex issue, and history, of the Nile Perch, in Lake Victoria. In order for society to begin to solve environmental issues we have to have an in depth understanding of the whole picture, this film does that for the people who live on Lake Victoria. The filmmakers risked their lives to expose the full depth of this dynamic, and shocking story.

The Garbage Warrior

"The Garbage Warrior is a feature-length documentary film telling the epic story of maverick US architect Michael Reynolds and his fight to introduce radically sustainable housing. An extraordinary tale of triumph over bureaucracy, Garbage Warrior is above all an intimate portrait of an extraordinary individual and his dream of changing the world." (IMDB)
  • This documentary charts the career of Michael Reynolds as he dedicates his life to providing the planet with off the grid, sustainable houses. Reynolds has a passion for his designs and a conviction that it can be a solution to many of the worlds environmental problems, but he faces constant obstacles from State legislation in the form of building permits. His fight for permission to build these homes in the US takes him to fight city hall. This film also demonstrates Reynolds work in countries that have experienced natural disasters, as he teaches local communities how to build these structures out of available materials. This film explores the notion of what to do when solutions are not met with action and acceptance. How can civic intelligence work towards mitigating this scenario? Michael Reynolds is a tremendous example of a man who dedicates his life to a singular mission to enable these buildings to be constructed, in order to help the earth deal with the reality of 7 billion residents.
  • Patterns
  • Dematerialization (18)
  • Sustainable Design (22)
  • Durable Assets (58)
  • Shared Vision (101)

The Garden

Directed by Scott Hamilton Kennedy, released in 2008

"The fourteen-acre community garden at 41st and Alameda in South Central Los Angeles is the largest of its kind in the United States. Started as a form of healing after the devastating L.A. riots in 1992, the South Central Farmers have since created a miracle in one of the country’s most blighted neighborhoods. Growing their own food. Feeding their families. Creating a community.But now, bulldozers are poised to level their 14-acre oasis.The Garden follows the plight of the farmers, from the tilled soil of this urban farm to the polished marble of City Hall. Mostly immigrants from Latin America, from countries where they feared for their lives if they were to speak out, we watch them organize, fight back, and demand answers:Why was the land sold to a wealthy developer for millions less than fair-market value? Why was the transaction done in a closed-door session of the LA City Council? Why has it never been made public?And the powers-that-be have the same response: “The garden is wonderful, but there is nothing more we can do.” If everyone told you nothing more could be done, would you give up?"

Patterns Back to the Roots

Harlan County, USA

Directed by Barbara Kopple and released in 1976.

"If Barbara Kopple had made no other film than this documentary account of the 1974 strike of Kentucky mine workers, arguably one of the finest documentaries ever made in the U.S. and possibly the best on the problems of organized labor, her place in film industry history would be assured. The strike began when the miners working for the Eastover Mining Co. joined the UMW, and its corporate parent, Duke Power, refused to sign the standard union contract. By living with the 180 families involved in the strike, Kopple shows the backbreaking burdens of the miners life in the best of times and the looming fear of destitution in the worst. As the strikers strive to remain united through a difficult year, Kopple photographs the picketing, the company's use of state troopers to keep the roads open for scabs, the showdowns between the miners and strikebreakers brandishing firearms. While the film is unabashedly partisan, its worth remembering that the company's refusal to sign a contract was condemned by the National Labor Relations Board and that the corporation agreed to sign only under heavy pressure from federal mediators." (cabincreekfilms)
  • As a young filmmaker, Barbara Kopple gained incredible access to the community of Harlan County, allowing her to portray those impacted by the strike with compelling honesty. This film demonstrates the civic intelligence of a community fighting for greater labor rights for the miners, and their families. As the strike continues they have many town hall meetings to discuss their strategy, and to define the needs of the community. This film gives a rare glimpse behind the picket lines, showing us what worked and more importantly what didn't work.
  • Patterns
  • Labor Visions (112)
  • Community Inquiry
  • Sense of Struggle
  • Transparency (64)
  • Matrifocal Orientation (9)
  • Working Class Consciousness (12)
  • Social Dominance Attenuation (4)
  • Voices of the Unheard (83)
  • Civic Capacities (85)
  • Whistle Blowing (130)
  • Everyday Heroism (116)

How to Survive a Plague

Directed by David France, released in 2012.

How to Survive a Plague official website

How to Survive a Plague trailer

  • Patterns

Human Resources

Directed by Scott Noble, released in 2010.

Human Resources official website

Human Resources trailer

Stream Human Resources on openfilm

Note: excellent for studying anti-patterns

  • Patterns

I Have Never Forgotten You

"I Have Never Forgotten You" is a comprehensive look at the life and legacy of Simon Wiesenthal, the famed Nazi hunter and humanitarian. Narrated by Academy Award winning actress Nicole Kidman, it features interviews with longtime Wiesenthal associates, government leaders from around the world, friends and family members — many of whom have never discussed the legendary Nazi hunter and humanitarian on camera. Previously unseen archival film and photos also highlight the film. What was the driving force behind his work? What kept him going when for years the odds were against his efforts? What is his legacy today, more than 60 years after the end of World War Two?" (IMDB)
  • The work of Simon Wiesenthal to locate and prosecute Nazi war criminals, is an important part of the healing process after war. Many nations allowed Nazi's to live unhindered in their countries furthering the damage inflicted upon not only families lost to the concentration camps, but creating national distrust in the justice system. This process is also an important part of a nation's ability to remember their history.
  • Patterns
  • Voices of the Unheard (83)
  • Everyday Heroism (116)
  • Power of Story (114)
  • Equal Access to Justice (69)
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (51)

Lost Angels: Skid Row is My Home

Directed by Thomas Q. Napper, released in 2010.

The Listening Project

Directed by Dominic Howes, Released in 2008
"What does the world think of America?" This question is the foundation of the documentary, and turns into a quest for the answer, as four Americans travel through 15 countries and 6 continents asking those citizens of their opinion of America, and how they have been impacted by the most powerful country in the world. "The result is an emotional and inspiring examination of crumbling empires, human fellowship and the meaning of citizenship in a globalized world" (The Listening Project)
  • While this documentary was filmed during the Bush administration, and therefore reflects feelings in regards to the foreign policy of the time, as a concept it still represents an important skill in the art of listening, and understanding diversity. Asking simple questions, founded in an earnest desire to fully understand another has a powerful impact on individuals, nations and global peace.Civic intelligence can only truly be embraced when there is an ability to communicate with one another. This documentary shows the far reaching impact of active listening.
  • Patterns
  • Voices of the Unheard (83)
  • Whistle Blowing (130)
  • Social Dominance Attenuation (4)

Paper Clips

2004. Directed by Eliot Berlin and Joe Fab, released in 2004.

"An inspiring production of The Johnson Group, in association with One Clip at a Time Films and Ergo Entertainment, "Paper Clips" tells the story of the students of Whitwell Middle School in rural Whitwell, Tennessee.

In 1998, the students embarked on a classroom project aimed at teaching about cultural diversity in a small community almost exclusively white and Christian. Their "Paper Clips" project sparked one of the most inspirational and profound lessons in tolerance, in the least likely of places.

Out of a desire to help students open their eyes to the diversity of the world beyond their insulated valley, the school's principal, Linda Hooper, created the "Paper Clips" project to help her students to grasp the enormity of human suffering during the Holocaust. The idea was to collect six million paper clips — one for each of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust — an idea that touched a chord among Holocaust survivors, their families and even world leaders and celebrities as word of the project spread.

Ultimately, the school project generated an international outpouring of support and encouragement that none of the students and teachers — nor the citizens of Whitwell — had ever envisioned." (Anti-Defamation League.com)
  • This film documents the story of a school as they transform, not only their students, but ultimately the surrounding community. Globally, we are still fighting against racism within our communities and institutions, equality is still a right we are striving for, and while we had thought that horrors such as the holocaust would never happen again, they have in Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Sudan. Paperclips demonstrates how a classroom project with middle school children really can make a substantial impact on a community, by changing the way they view others, by discovering that we are all the same. Perhaps the most powerful lessons for these children was the impact of meeting holocaust survivors and listening to their stories, transforming black and white pictures to flesh and blood. This process of discovery did not only change the children but profoundly impacted the teachers, and parents, demonstrating the power of involved community to the engagement of civic intelligence.
  • Patterns
  • Voices of the Unheard (83)
  • Power of Story (114)
  • Anti- Racism (23)

The Park That Kids Built

Linda Jassim.
"an inspiring documentary of urban renewal. Set in South Los Angeles, the film depicts how two teachers, fifth and sixth graders and the community turned a vacant lot — filled with abandoned cars and trash — into Estrella Children's Park."

Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Directed by Gini Reticker, released in 2008.
"Pray the Devil Back to Hell chronicles the remarkable story of the courageous Liberian women who came together to end a bloody civil war and bring peace to their shattered country.Thousands of women — ordinary mothers, grandmothers, aunts and daughters, both Christian and Muslim — came together to pray for peace and then staged a silent protest outside of the Presidential Palace. Armed only with white T-shirts and the courage of their convictions, they demanded a resolution to the country’s civil war. Their actions were a critical element in bringing about a agreement during the stalled peace talks.A story of sacrifice, unity and transcendence, Pray the Devil Back to Hell honors the strength and perseverance of the women of Liberia. Inspiring, uplifting, and most of all motivating, it is a compelling testimony of how grassroots activism can alter the history of nations." (praythedevilbacktoheall.com)
  • Patterns
  • Activist Road Trip (134)
  • Peaceful Public Demonstrations (133)
  • Matrifocal Orientation (9)


Directed by Carlos Bolado,and B.Z Goldberg, released in 2001.
"PROMISES follows the journey of one of the filmmakers, Israeli-American B.Z. Goldberg. B.Z. travels to a Palestinian refugee camp and to an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, and to the more familiar neighborhoods of Jerusalem where he meets seven Palestinian and Israeli children. Though the children live only 20 minutes apart, they exist in completely separate worlds; the physical, historical and emotional obstacles between them run deep. PROMISES explores the nature of these boundaries and tells the story of a few children who dared to cross the lines to meet their neighbors. Rather than focusing on political events, the seven children featured in PROMISES offer a refreshing, human and sometimes humorous portrait of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict."


  • Memory and Responsibility (11)
  • Peace Education (56)
  • Voices of the Unheard (83)
  • Power of Story (114)

The Power of Forgiveness

Director, Martin Doblmeier, released 2008.
'"The Power of Forgiveness explores recent research into the psychological and physical effects of forgiveness on individuals and within relationships under a wide variety of conditions and translates it into a popular, accessible documentary film for national public television. This includes feature stories on the Amish, the 9/11 tragedy and peace-building in Northern Ireland, along with interviews with renowned Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, best-selling authors Thomas Moore and Marianne Williamson and others. The film also explores the role forgiveness holds in various faiths traditions. It provides an honest look at the intensity of anger and grief that human nature is heir to. We see in the film that there are transgressions people find themselves unwilling or unable to forgive. Through character-driven stories the film shows the role forgiveness can play in alleviating anger and grief and the physical, mental and spiritual benefits that come with it." (Power of Forgiveness)
  • In order for civic intelligence to thrive there has to be a fundamental ability for active communication to exist, propelling societies forward rather than stuck in endless cycles of hatred, anger, and revenge. How ca healing begin after intense violence and overwhelming loss? This film focuses on the single factor of moving individuals, groups and nations beyond this cycle and into forgiveness and peace. While many interviewed in the film declare that the process is not an easy one it is an essential one to end continuing generational violence. We all need to develop the skills shown in this film, whether they come from religion, as demonstrated by the Amish community grieving after grieving the loss of children during a school shooting, or the widows of 9/11 striving to build a peace garden at ground zero.
  • Patterns
  • Voices of The Unheard (83)
  • Self Help Groups (105)
  • Power of Story (114)
  • Multi-Party Negotiation for Conflict Resolution (79)
  • Memory and Responsibility (11)

The Real Dirt on Farmer John

Directed by Taggert Siegal, released in 2005

"The epic tale of a maverick Midwestern farmer. An outcast in his community, Farmer John bravely stands amidst a failing economy, vicious rumors, and violence. By melding the traditions of family farming with the power of art and free expression, this powerful story of transformation and renewal heralds a resurrection of farming in America." (angelicorganics.com)
  • This documentary charts the journey of 'Farmer John' as he struggles to keep his family farm operating. Using 30 years of archival footage the filmmaker weaves together the intricacies of the changing farming culture, and how a new community lifted his farm into a thriving organic co-operative. As more and more farms fall to large industrial farming companies, or suburbia, this story stands as to the power of a small group of people who value organic farming enough to fight for it. While financial loss is a reality the gains have been in the creation of a tight knit community, strengthening the skills of organic farming and passing that education to the next generation.

  • Farmer John using film to connect with his viewers allows him to invoke sympathy for difficulties that, as explained in the film, many local farmers had been experiencing as corporate farms were beginning to sprout up around the mid-west in the 1980’s. His performances, after losing hundreds of acres of land that his family owned, displayed his shortcomings and voiced to many farmers that they too could soon be facing the same ordeal. This film displays civic intelligence through his method of including others, such as interns or families invested in his community support agriculture. They are able to gain knowledge through practice in a positive way. Different skills were utilized amongst farming, English speakers and Spanish speakers helped each other learn their language, individuals with skills in construction helped to build the new farmhouse.

  • Patterns
  • Appreciative Collaboration (99)
  • The Good Life (3)
  • Community Currencies (63)

Revolutionary Optimists

"Children are saving lives in the slums of Kolkata. Amlan Ganguly doesn't rescue slum children. He empowers the youth to become change agents, battling poverty and transforming their neighborhoods with dramatic results. Filmed over the course of several years, The Revolutionary Optimists follows Amlan and three of the children he works with on an intimate journey through adolescence, as they fight for the better future he encourages them to imagine is deservedly theirs."


"Hot-headed, theatrical, but astonishingly dedicated and sincere, Amlan left a successful law career to try to make meaningful change where the law and other NGO's had failed. A dancer, choreographer, and costume designer, he brings creative expression to subjects that can otherwise be difficult for film audiences to approach. Meet local youth using the Map Your World app from the film to effect change right here in the Puget Sound.

Nicole Newnham (co-director) was nominated for a national Emmy Award for co-producing and directing the documentary PBS Independent Lens Sentenced Home (2006), which follows three Cambodian refugees in Seattle who are deported back to Cambodia after 9/11.

Maren Grainger-Monsen (co-director) is a physician, filmmaker-in-residence and director of the Program in Bioethics in Film at the Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics."

The Singing Revolution

Directed by James and Maureen Tusty, Released in 2006

"Most people don’t think about singing when they think about revolution. But song was the weapon of choice when Estonians sought to free themselves from decades of Soviet occupation. The Singing Revolution is an inspiring account of one nation’s dramatic rebirth. It is the story of humankind’s irrepressible drive for freedom and self-determination.The Singing Revolution shares how, between 1987 and 1991, hundreds of thousands of Estonians gathered publicly to sing forbidden patriotic songs and share protest speeches, risking their lives to proclaim their desire for independence. While violence and bloodshed was the unfortunate end result in other occupied nations of the USSR, the revolutionary songs of the Estonians anchored their struggle for freedom, which was ultimately accomplished without the loss of a single life."

In a 1939 Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler divided Eastern Europe into "spheres of special interest." As a result of this agreement, the USSR invaded, occupied, and established military bases in The Republic of Estonia. In 1940, Estonia was annexed by the Soviet Union. In 1941 Germany invaded the USSR and battled with the Soviet Republic on Estonian soil from that time until autumn of 1944 when the USSR reconquered Estonia. The Soviets occupied Estonia until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The Singing Revolution tells the story of Estonia from World War II to the restoration of their republic when the parliament issued a Declaration of Independence from the USSR on August 20, 1991. The central theme of the film is Estonia's rich tradition of song and how the Estonian people relied on those traditions to maintain their cultural identity, and ultimately used singing to unify and empower themselves in a way that resulted in them rising up against their oppressors and regaining independence.


Directed by David Chapelle, released in 2005

  • Large Rize1.jpg
    "Rize" reveals a groundbreaking dance phenomenon that’s exploding on the streets of South Central, Los Angeles. Taking advantage of unprecedented access, this documentary film brings to first light a revolutionary form of artistic expression borne from oppression. The aggressive and visually stunning dance modernizes moves indigenous to African tribal rituals and features mind-blowing, athletic movement sped up to impossible speeds. “Rize” tracks the fascinating evolution of the dance: we meet Tommy Johnson (Tommy the Clown), who first created the style as a response to the 1992 Rodney King riots and named it “Clowning”, as well as the kids who developed the movement into what they now call Krumping. The kids use dance as an alternative to gangs and hustling: they form their own troupes and paint their faces like warriors, meeting to outperform rival gangs of dancers or just to hone their skills. For the dancers, Krumping becomes a way of life – and, because it’s authentic expression (in complete opposition to the bling-bling hip-hop culture), the dance becomes a vital part of who they are. Like “Paris is Burning” or “Style Wars” before it, “Rize” illuminates an entire community by focusing on an artform as a movement that the disenfranchised have created. But the true stars of the film are the dancers themselves: surrounded by drug addiction, gang activity, and impoverishment, they have managed to somehow rise above. The film offers an intimate, completely fresh portrayal of kids in South Central as they reveal their spirit and creativity. These kids have created art – and often family – where before there was none.
  • Charting new dance movements among youth of South Central LA, called Krumping and Clowning. Founded by ex gang members to reduce the amount of youth entering the gang lifestyle. The documentary follows several groups of dancers as they practice as teams for the annual dance competition,"BattleZone". Many of the dancers have been impacted by the gang activity in their neighborhoods, or lost family members as a result of shootings. This film shows the impact of civic intelligence through the power of art in the community, resulting in a reduction of local youth getting involved with gangs. Through the activity of community dance these youth are able to create a new family structure, through team dancing. Interesting to note that the Crips and Bloods originally emerged due to the inability of black male youth to enter Cub programs in LA.

Run Granny Run

  • Directed by Marlo Poras, released in 2002
  • Unknown.jpeg
Doris "Granny D" Haddock, died at the ripe age of 100, lived in the woods between Dublin and Peterborough, New Hampshire, made famous as Our Town by Thornton Wilder. She was born January 24, 1910 in Laconia, New Hampshire and attended Emerson College before marrying James Haddock.Doris raised two children during the Great Depression and later she worked at a shoe company for twenty years. With her husband, Jim, Doris helped stop the planned use of hydrogen bombs in Alaska in 1960, saving an Inuit fishing village at Point Hope. The couple retired in 1972, during which time Doris served on the Planning Board of her town and was active in community affairs. She nursed Jim through 10 years of Alzheimer’s disease.

After the defeat of Senator McCain and Senator Feingold's first attempt to remove unregulated "soft" money from campaigns in 1995, Doris became interested in campaign reform and led a petition movement. On January 1, 1999–at the age of 89–she began a 3,200–mile walk across the country to demonstrate her concern for the issue, walking ten miles each day for fourteen months. Doris traveled as a pilgrim, walking until given shelter, fasting until given food. With the unflagging generosity of strangers she met along the way, Doris never went without a meal or a bed. She trekked through over 1,000 miles of desert, climbed the Appalachian Range in blizzard conditions and even skied 100 miles after a historic snowfall made roadside walking impossible. When she arrived in Washington D.C., Granny D was met by 2,200 supporters representing a wide variety of reform groups. Several dozen members of Congress walked the final miles with her. Granny D walking with supporters It took two more years to gain passage of the McCain/Feingold bill, during which time Doris engaged in walking fasts around the Capitol, organized rallies in many states, and held demonstrations that twice landed her in DC jails.

In 2003, Doris had her eyes on the upcoming election, and so she drove around the country on a 22,000 mile voter registration effort targeting working women and minorities. This trek was cut short in June 2004, when Doris heard that the presumed Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in NH had dropped out of the race days before the filing deadline. 94 years old and still eager to "raise a little hell," Doris surprised everyone by deciding to challenge the Republican incumbent. Her insurgent, grassroots campaign defied all expectations. Politicians and pundits alike have lauded the work of this indefatigable great–grandmother of sixteen: “I believe she represents all that is good in America. She has taken up this struggle to clean up American politics… Granny D, you exceed any small, modest contributions those of us who have labored in the vineyards of reform have made to this Earth. We are grateful for you.” Sen. John McCain “Doris Haddock is a true patriot, and our nation has been blessed by her remarkable life.” Jimmy Carter “The problem with Granny D…is that she makes the rest of us look like such schlumps.” (www.grannyd.com)
  • Patterns
  • Everyday Heroism (116)
  • Follow the Money (135)
  • Activist Road Trip (134)
  • Peaceful Demonstrations (133)

Rural Studio

Directed by Chuck Schultz, released in 2003

Sir! No Sir!

Directed by David Zeigler, released in 2005.
"This feature-length documentary focuses on the efforts by troops in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War to oppose the war effort by peaceful demonstration and subversion. It speaks mainly to veterans, but serves as a ready reminder to civilians that soldiers may oppose war as stridently as any civilian, and at greater personal peril." (IMDB)
  • Patterns

The Take

Directed by Avi Lewis, Released in 2004

Transmission 6-10

Directed by, Released in 2009

  • “A brilliant expose about the current genocide and human rights crisis in China, centering around the pacifist religious group the Falun Gong. 10/10Using personal accounts, eyewitnesses, photographs, interviews, and stories from the people that actually endured the torture, Transmission 6- 10 brings the viewer into the stark reality that is Modern China. The film is painstakingly researched, and covers everything; from the start of the movement and ensuing persecution to the organ harvesting and genocidal nature of Chinese prisons and “justice”. This films cuts clear through the propaganda and shows the true intentions and actions of the Chinese government. Ample evidence is provided, from photos and personal accounts, to scholars and even official Chinese documents and press statements."(transmission6-10.com)
  • While this film documents the oppression of the Falun Gong, it also shows how one group fought for their rights to freedom of spiritual expression, under the veil of secrecy of communist China. Despite suffering the torture and genocide of large numbers of their group, they continued to fight to have their story known in the Western world.

The Trials Of Darryl Hunt

Directed by Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg, released in 2006

"North Carolina, 1984. A brutal murder leaves a white woman dead, and a young black man accused. This exclusive portrait of a harrowing wrongful conviction offers a provocative and haunting examination of a community – and a criminal justice system — subject to racial bias and tainted by fear.“The Trials of Darryl Hunt” documents a brutal rape/murder in the American South, and offers a deeply personal story of a wrongfully convicted man, Darryl Hunt, who spent twenty years in prison for a crime he did not commit.In 1984, a young white newspaper reporter, Deborah Sykes, was raped, sodomized and stabbed to death just blocks from where she worked in Winston-Salem, NC.Base on an ID made by a former Klan member, a 19-year-old black man, Darryl Hunt, was charged. No physical evidence linked Hunt to the crime. Hunt was convicted by an all white jury, and sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1994, DNA testing cleared Hunt, yet he would spend another ten years behind bars. The film chronicles this capital case from 1984 through 2004. With personal narratives and exclusive footage from two decades, the film frames the judicial and emotional responses to this chilling crime – and the implications surrounding Hunt’s conviction — against a backdrop of class and racial bias in America.This unique look at one man’s loss and redemption challenges the assumption that all Americans have the right to unbiased justice.(BreakthruFilms)

Very Young Girls

  • Very Young Girls is an exposé of the commercial sexual exploitation of girls in New York City as they are sold on the streets by pimps and treated as adult criminals by police. The film follows barely adolescent girls in real time, using vérité and intimate interviews with them, documenting their struggles and triumphs as they seek to exit the commercial sex industry. The film also uses startling footage shot by pimps themselves, giving a rare glimpse into how the cycle of exploitation begins for many women.The film identifies hope for these girls in the organization GEMS (Girls Educational and Mentoring Services), a recovery agency founded and run by Rachel Lloyd, herself a survivor of commercial sexual exploitation. GEMS is committed to ending commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking of children by changing individual lives, transforming public perception, and revolutionizing the systems and policies that impact commercially sexually exploited youth. Very Young Girls will change the way law enforcement, the media, and society as a whole look at the commercial sexual exploitation, street prostitution, and human trafficking that is happening right in our own backyard.


Please add your case study here. Please add the link here and add the case study information on the page. (To do so, click on the "edit" link to edit this page and copy the way I've done these examples. When you're done, click the "Save page" button. Repeat until done.)

Framework for analyzing examples

The following six elements should be used to look at each example. By using these five elements to direct our analysis we can see common themes emerge from each example of how these elements work together to create Civic Intelligence.

  1. Orientation - describes the purpose, principles and perspectives that help energize an effective deployment of civic intelligence.
  2. Organization- refers to the structures, methods and roles by which people engage in civic intelligence.
  3. Engagement - refers to the ways in which civic intelligence is an active force for thought, action, and social change.
  4. Intelligence - refers to the ways that civic intelligence lives up to its name.
  5. Products and Projects - refers to some of the outcomes, both long-term and incremental, that civic intelligence might produce.
  6. Resources - refers to the types of support that people and institutions engaged in civic intelligence work need.

List of Examples

Please list the case studies alphabetically...

Authors (alphabetized by last name)

Dale Bristow

Stephanie Jamieson