History of Community Engagement

Engagement has occurred throughout history, long before the term ‘community engagement’ existed. The concept became widely popular in the 1960s-1970s, during the civic engagement movement, when individuals were encouraged to actively engage with their communities and promote democracy by expanding citizen participation in problem solving and broadening access to social and political capital. Whereas decision making, and  “solving” societal issues had previously been understood as a government responsibility, it became more common for government to interact with the public in terms of informing and even consulting with community members on issues that affect them. This led to more demands for government, higher education, health systems, and others to engage.


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Building Sustainable Communities: The Impact of Engagement Copyright © 2022 by Ryan Plummer; Amanda Smits; Samantha Witkowski; Bridget McGlynn; Derek Armitage; Ella-Kari Muhl; and Jodi Johnston is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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