As of 2010, Portsmouth, New Hampshire (population 20,000) has sustained the practice of organized, public dialogue and deliberation for over ten years. Since 1999, diverse community groups in Portsmouth have organized at least six rounds of large-scale dialogue-to-action circles (study circles) initiatives. This case study provides brief descriptions of four of these initiatives from 1999 through 2004. Descriptions of Portsmouth’s later public engagement initiatives will be added to this entry at a later date, or posted as separate entries.
One of the primary purposes of the New Hampshire Public Conversations on Outdoor Recreation was to involve a diversity of people so that the renewal of outdoor recreation within the state would reflect and benefit all people. This deliberation did not only concern the usual bikers, hikers, fishermen, etc. but especially aimed to include the less frequent users of New Hampshire’s outdoor recreation facilities.