A Weekly Round-up of articles, videos, reports and other information that you won't want to miss.

In this week’s round-up of #GoodReads, we explore a few issues at the forefront of national conversation as the United States heads into an election cycle. We ask questions like, what will influence mayoral races this cycle? And what we can learn from past Mayoral transitions? We turn to Neil deGrasse Tyson for candid insight on race and opportunity. And we explore what it takes to ‘do public engagement’ or ‘community engagement’ in our hyper-connected, digital-first world.

Happy Reading!

CEO Suggestion

This week, Living Cities CEO, Ben Hecht recommends two articles that provide perspective into public sector innovation and creativity - one from the lens of a new Mayor, and the other from the Capital front:

Defying Expectations, Mayor Ras Baraka Is Praised in All Corners of Newark - By Kate Zernike, The New York Times

A Revolution Of Outcomes: How Pay-For-Success Contracts Are Changing Public Services - By Ben Schiller, Fast Company

Racial Equity and Inclusion

Neil deGrasse Tyson Comments on Women in the Sciences, Access to Opportunity and Race

Recommended by Tamir Novotny, Senior Associate, Public Sector Innovation

In this video, acclaimed astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson takes on the question, “Why aren’t there more women in science?” through the lens of his experience of his rise to prominence as a scientist who is also black.

Tyson says he faced "curveballs” at every corner of his journey and hills he needed to climb as a young Black boy pursuing science. “Forces of society” created barriers “at every turn, to the point where, even as one of the most visible scientists in the land… I have security guards following me as I go through department stores presuming I am a thief.”

Tyson’s comments are just the latest from black men in the very highest ranks of American society reminding us that barriers to black people achieving opportunity in America remain in the hearts and perhaps unconscious minds of people with power and influence.

Community Engagement

Why Social Media can’t be your only Public Engagement Tool - By Della Rucker, Medium

My Recommendation, Elizabeth Vargas, Associate, Strategic Communications and Engagement

Della Rucker’s piece, from an upcoming book on Online Public Engagement, underscores a common misconception about online engagement that I’ve observed across sectors: that having a Facebook page or a Twitter Hashtag is enough to ‘do engagement.’ The truth is, it’s not. True engagement is a more nuanced give and take.

In this article, Rucker goes on to explain how “meaningful and effective public participation requires a more active involving of the public in making decisions.” She outlines two approaches, Discussing and Deciding, to provide a framework for authentic online engagement in the public realm.


How Infrastructure Is Shaping 3 Mayoral Races for 2015 - By Rachel Dovey, Next City

Recommended by Elizabeth Reynoso, Assistant Director, Public Sector Innovation

As we work to design a third Cohort of The City Accelerator, I was not surprised to read a Next City article that, “according to a July report from the National League of Cities, more than half of U.S. mayors addressed infrastructure issues during their State of the City speeches this year, with 100 speeches analyzed… So it’s no stretch to imagine infrastructure playing a key role in this year’s municipal elections. Come November, new mayors (or incumbent mayors with new terms) will take the reigns in Tucson, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Memphis, Houston, Boise and Phoenix, among others.”