Budgeting for Democracy
How does a struggling old mill city with a dysfunctional public life use the energy of its "newcomer" Latino population to become a hotbed of progressive civic engagement practices?
Lawrence, Massachusetts was founded by the Essex Company in 1847 as a center of textile production, and during its first 75 years became the â€œwoolen and worsted capital of the worldâ€ â€" only to decline into stagnation over the next 75.
In 1999, a reborn community development corporation, Lawrence CommunityWorks (LCW), emerged from local organizing work and began connecting residents around a broad-based revitalization strategy for the city. One recent focus of this work has been a resident-led City Budget Campaign to catalyze community participation in the budget process and to change the way decisions are made about local resource allocation.
Thanks to David Holtzman