Tyler writing for the National Civic League, Turning to One Another to Reverse the Diseases and Deaths of Despair:
Former San Antonio Mayor and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros was NCL board chair and wrote an article for the National Civic Review in which he advanced the theme of “citizen democracy.” Building on the mandate of the NCL founders in the previous century, and his predecessor-chair HEW Secretary and Independent Sector founder John Gardner, Secretary Cisneros articulated the viewpoint that representative democracy could work at the national level, but that at the local level, community residents needed to be directly engaged, debating the issues, finding solutions, and working alongside elected and civic officials to get the right things done, the right way.
At the time, public-private partnerships and blue-ribbon panels were all the rage. But what Secretary Cisneros hit on was the missing factor: community residents using asset-based approaches to shape the conversation and lead action on the ground. Out of this work a new generation of inclusive civic activism was initiated, and the healthy/sustainable/resilient communities movement soon spread to over 1,000 locales. (For more information on the history of the movement, see these National Civic Review issues and here.)