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How user-centred design can spur trust in government

Professor Stephen Goldsmith, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government

Democracy depends on trust between government and citizens, making the development of trust a top priority for public officials.

Transparency, proximity, and performance can all help develop trust, and nowhere is this more easily achieved than at the city level. Municipal leaders live amongst community members in neighbourhoods affected by their own policies, local council meetings are open to the public–in a word retail politics, when done well, produce confidence that an elected leader is one of us and understands our needs.

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