December 10, 2018

The word “civity” is not new. The Oxford English Dictionary lists “civity” as an archaic, no-longer-used word for “city.”

“Civity” calls us back to the essence of “city,” which originally meant the people.

The people of a city.

Civity comes from the Latin civis, meaning citizen, and civitas, meaning the body of citizens. Other English words in the civis-civitas family that we hear frequently today include citizen, citizenship, city, civic, civil, and civility. Surely somewhere in this assortment th...

June 14, 2018

"Relationships carry action verbs.
Love. Marry. Rule. Fight. Correspond. Mix."

Dorothee Kocks*

Malka and I arrived at Civity by different paths.

By the time we met, Malka had spent decades convening and facilitating a wide range of civic engagement processes in communities all over California, and she had noticed that the relationships between the people involved were central to that work. When the relationships were good, the work was good: Relationships of trust and respect spurred processes forw...

November 14, 2017

Many of us are feeling powerless these days. We are overwhelmed by disturbing news stories and feel the weight of the world on our shoulders. Yet we also want to contribute to making things better. We ask ourselves, “What can I, just one individual, do to make a difference? How can I be the change I seek?”

I have a story to offer about a seemingly intractable problem, housing segregation – which is also a story about power … and about Civity.

The Story

I am an academic. I teach classes; I do resear...

July 17, 2017

Fear seems to be everywhere.

“Angry white men” fear becoming economically redundant. Black Americans fear police violence. Women fear sexual assault and marginalization. Immigrants fear being targeted and deported. Scientists and environmentalists – and others – fear climate change. Evangelicals fear changing cultural mores. The LGBTIQ community fears diminished civil rights. Poor people fear getting evicted or getting sick and worry about what will happen to their kids. Well-off people fear that...

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