In their Nobember 19, 2018 report for the New England Board of Higher Education Journal, Bruce Mallory, Quixada Moore-Vissing, and Michele Holt-Shannon report on the state of New Hampshire Listens, a civic engagement program founded in 2009 within the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy. Since 2010, the organization has hosted conversations in more than 85 towns and cities, engaging some 4,500 New Hampshire residents on a wide range of issues. There is also a growing group of Local Listens affiliate organizations, locally run public engagement groups.
In their analysis of the effectiveness of NH Listens, the authors reference, “the emerging national conversation advanced by James and Deborah Fallows in Our Towns . . . and others on both the right and left who see that bottom-up approaches are critical at a time when faith in top-down solutions has gone missing.”