The Southwestern Pennsylvania Program for Deliberative Democracy


Please note: We have a new name and have moved to a newsite:

Program for Deliberative Democracy


The Program for Deliberative Democracy strives to improve local and regional decision-making through informed citizen deliberations. Among other forms of democratic dialogue, the Program utilizes the protocols of Jim Fishkin's Deliberative Poll® in order to indicate what a given population would think about a particular issue if it had time to become immersed in a deeply deliberative process.

Program receives 2008 Good Government Award from the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh

The Programl seeks to host several deliberative events per year. Each Deliberative event will focus on topics of immediate importance and will be designed not only to inform the participating citizens, but to influence actual policy as well.

The initiative is housed at Carnegie Mellon University and is a joint venture betweem CMU's Center for the Advancement of Applied
Ethics and Political Philosophy and Pittsburgh’s Coro Center for Civic Leadership. There are two main outreach activities of the Program: Citizen Forums and Campus Conversations.

By providing background materials from the deliberative events and a report on the deliberation results to the press, libraries, community organizations and in other public venues, we believe that we can raise the level of community-wide awareness of and involvement in the pressing issues of social choice that face us in our lives as citizens. In this way, deliberative democratic practice not only empowers individuals but also builds civic engagement.

Robert Cavalier
Carnegie Mellon University

Gregory Crowley
Coro Center for Civic Leadership

Citizen Forums

The Future of Local Government in Allegheny County

September 25, 2010

A new initiative by The Pittsburgh Foundation. More information will be forthcoming.

The Issue of Marriage In America

September 27, 2008

The first ever statewide deliberative poll on same-sex marriage.

South Pittsburgh Initiative

Spring-Summer 2007

A district-level deliberative poll on issues of relevance to City Council as well as local organizations and associations.

Campus Conversations

The nation's first systematic use of deliberative polling techniques at the college and university level. Topics have included "Faculty Course Evaluations" and "Public Art Policy."

In the Spring of 2009 we will host a regional campus conversation on Climate Change.


The Program for Deliberative Democracy is an independent, non-partisan organization devoted to the deliberation of issues that shape the lives and future of people in our region.

This website links to pages on other sites, which are provided only for the convenience of the user. We have no responsibility for, or control of, external websites linked from this site. The inclusion of any linked site does not necessarily imply approval of every detail in such sites.

© Copyright 2005 Southwestern Pennsylvania Program for Deliberative Democracy