Civic Strategies is a collaborative and strategic planning firm that works with local governments and civic organizations. We also write about, teach, and consult about community change and civic leadership.

What you'll find here ...

Please allow us to introduce ourselves at Civic Strategies and tell you who we are and how we could help your organization and community.

  • To learn about us, please click on the About and Services tabs at the top of the page.
  • You can also find a great deal here about our passion, which is civic leadership. To see what we've written about leadership, please visit our Resources section.
  • And don't forget that there's a highly regarded blog about local leadership by our founder, Otis White, as well as a podcast.

The materials on this site are copyrighted, but you are free to download anything you find for your personal use or to use as a handout for your civic group. You can also link to our articles in tweets, blogs, and websites.

At Civic Strategies, we're more than consultants. We're researchers and writers with a deep interest in what makes cities successful. An example is our multimedia book "The Great Project." It's the storThe Great Projecty of a city that tried for 20 years to save its downtown, and the remarkable project that finally turned things around.

Civic Strategies farewell

After 22 years, Civic Strategies closed for business in December 2019. We'll continue as individuals to be active in the Atlanta area and nationally as citizens and volunteers.

We've decided to keep this website up for a while, so you can access articles we've written over the years and other information that might be helpful to civic and neighborhood leaders.

And please don't forget that Civic Strategies founder Otis White has a community leadership blog at Included are all of his columns for Governing magazine from 2013 to 2019. If you want to see his earlier Governing work, visit Seven Lessons for Local Governments, which summarizes what he learned in five years of writing Governing's Urban Notebook column.

What we do

Retreats and strategic planning: We help governments and organizations plan for uncertain times, tough issues, exciting opportunities, and new collaborations.

Community visioning: Visioning is about listening to citizens, but it's also about translating those dreams into achievable initiatives. We'll show you how to engage citizens and create ambitious but realistic goals.

Task force management: The best way to find answers to challenging problems using a collaborative approach is with a well-designed, well-managed task force. We help task forces find the right answers and do it in the right way.

Research, consulting, and training: We wrote the book on how communities take on great projects successfully. Literally, the book ... along with the blog, the podcast, reports, seminars and consultations. We can help your organization create great projects, too.

Seven Lessons for Local Governments

In 2002, we began a five-year partnership with Governing magazine to publish a column about cities and regions called Urban Notebook. As a parting gift for Governing's readers, we published an article titled "Seven Lessons for Local Governments," which looked back on the major themes of Urban Notebook.

Among the lessons: Density is a city's friend, local governments need the property tax, transportation and land use are inseparable, and cities must find new ways of building leadership. We have the column in our Resources section, so you can read the lessons (and click through to the individual columns).


Civic Strategies Podcast

From 2011 to 2015 we produced a podcast on local leadership in cooperation with the Georgia Municipal Association. In all, 39 of these episodes were hosted on the GMA website.

Each was an interview with a civic leader who accomplished something important or mastered a skill that's important to civic work. GMA took down the podcast recently, but stay tuned: We're looking for ways of resurrecting the podcast so you can learn from these leaders.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere

We preach to our clients the value of building a sense of community through communications and social media. And we practice it ourselves. So you can find us (or our founder, Otis White) on Twitter, Facebook, and in Otis' blog about civic leadership.