With rates of trust in government at all-time lows, the legitimacy and effectiveness of traditional representative models of urban lawmaking, typically dominated by political party agendas and conducted by professional staff and politicians working behind largely closed doors, are called into question. But technology offers the promise of opening how lawmaking bodies work to new sources of expertise and opinion and of making lawmakers accountable to the public more than just on Election Day. Around the world, there are already significant examples of local legislatures and national parliaments turning to the Internet and new civic technologies to involve the public at various stages of decision-making from agenda-setting to evaluation. We call such open and participatory lawmaking: “CrowdLaw.”
The pieces collected here are focused on public engagement practices connected to the process of making laws and policies. For reasons of space, we do not include readings on citizen participation, crowdsourcing or open innovation generally (see GovLab’s Selected Readings on Crowdsourcing Opinions and Ideas) but focus, instead, on engagement in these specific institutional contexts. To consult more resources, visit To consult more resources, visit www.crowd.law.