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date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Organizers of democratic deliberations—along with interested and contentious participants—can resist the smothering of invention that decision-centric views of deliberation too easily produce. Why debate choices from a mediocre menu when the accessible restaurant next door offers far better options at similar prices? Building upon a practice-focused oral history method and considering urban cases in Canada, Holland, and Italy, this analysis examines public deliberations over local environmental policy, community development, and urban design. We see how a practical aesthetics of deliberative invitations can shape less defensive, more creative deliberations that integrate invention and option generation with subsequent practices of argumentation and negotiation.

Keywords: multistakeholder negotiations, convening, invention, mediation, debate, argumentation, creativity, agenda-setting, power, improvisation

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