The Southwestern Pennsylvania Program for Deliberative Democracy

The Program for Deliberative Democracy strives to improve local and regional decision-making through informed citizen deliberations. The Program utilizes Deliberative Polling® and other forms of democratic dialogue in order to indicate what the 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 initiative is housed at Carnegie Mellon University within the Center for Ethics and Policy. 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. We have also found that deliberative democratic practice not only informs stakeholders of what our citizens think, but it also empowers individuals and strenghtens civic engagement.

Robert Cavalier
Carnegie Mellon University


Citizen Forums

Too Many Patients, Too Few Resources


State of Maryland citizen deliberations on the allocation of scarce medical resources during a public health disaster.

Managing Marcellus: A Deliberative Theatre

Fall 2011

An innovative approach to the challenges and opportunities of The Marcellus Shale, produced by WQED.

Local Government at the Crossroads

September 25, 2010

A public discussion about municipal services in Allegheny County, supported by The Pittsburgh Foundation.

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," "Public Art Policy" and "Climate Change and Campus Policy."


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 Program for Deliberative Democracy