Advancing Online Public Consultation


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PlaceSpeak is a location-based community consultation platform designed to advance public participation. It connects residents with issues taking place in their own neighbourhoods to promote meaningful dialogue on local issues. This is a copy of a presentation made to the City of Vancouver Corporate Management Team (CMT) in August 2012. For more information, please visit,

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Advancing Online Public Consultation

  1. 1. Advancing Online PublicConsultationCity of VancouverAugust 2012
  2. 2. Refresher - The Problem
  3. 3. Timeline: What a short trip its been!● March 2011: City of Vancouver Corporate Mgmt Team- Presented concept● May-August 2011: Prototype Pilots● September 2011: Vancouver School Board - Sectoral review● Fall 2011: Additional case studies● Jan 2012: Urban Futures Survey - expansion● April 2012: Re-engineered platform NOW: Expansion into other areas NEXT: API, standardization & systemization
  4. 4. Growth of PlaceSpeak Users
  5. 5. Citizen-centred - Network Effect Maritime Museum Coast Guard Artists Residence Fires on beach Planetarium & Museum Lifeguards Development permit application Traffic CircleBoathouse PatioParking Restrictions Squamish DevelopmentKitsilano toJericho Seawall Billy Bishop Patio Bike Lanes License Henry Hudson School
  6. 6. Imagine ~ ~ ~● You can be notified online of consultations relevant to where you live, work and play.● You choose by distance and subject what topics youre interested in hearing about. ○ e.g. anything to do with housing within 1 KM or ○ anything to do with transportation within 5 KM● Notifications can come from many sources: ○ including governments, transportation agencies, developers, utilities, schools, parks, emergency services, and community organizations● You register and confirm your identity and location ○ carry those credentials with you everywhere● You can influence outcomes because your verified input enables evidence-based decision making.
  7. 7. Open Data & Public Consultation
  8. 8. Open Data StandardsEach time a new consultation topic is initiated astandardized listing is created: 1. Title 2. Abstract (140 characters, incl. keywords) 3. URL (link to originating web site/page) 4. Contact Email (notifies responsible staff) 5. Address (site location under review) 6. Date (public meeting, open house)● Generates XML or JSON file into the Open Data Catalogue
  9. 9. Setting up a TopicAn email is sent to the contact person asking them toactivate the topic and decide whether to choose:1. API (PS Connect) or;2. PlaceSpeak page containing feedback tools: ● Discussion Forum(s) ● Survey(s) ● Poll(s) ● Notice Board ● Social Media
  10. 10. Mapping of Topic Area● The responsible staff person maps out the area (polygons) of interest: ○ Manually (e.g. 2 block radius) ○ Importing KML file (eg. 26 local areas)● Residents will be notified within affected area.● Reporting will be segmented by polygon boundary.
  11. 11. Public NotificationResidents are notified according totheir preferences:● Distance: eg. 1 km - 100 km● Keyword: eg. housing, parks, transportationResidents determine their privacy● Show names and photos? (yes/no)NOTE: Connected participants identities arealways visible to the proponent (although nottheir street address).
  12. 12. In the Beginning: RegistrationNetwork Effect requires verification of participants:● Email● Home phone (Audio PIN)● Cell phone (SMS PIN)● Home/work address (Mailer PIN)● Other ○ Property assessment roll ○ Credit card minimum $0.02● Privacy: separating church from state● Authentication = transparency● Information and Privacy Act(s)
  13. 13. Citizen User (Participant)FeedbackOnce notified, residents determine whether or not toengage. Select consultation features:● Discussion Forums● Polls● Surveys● Notice Board● Social MediaTo participate, residents must CONNECT with the Topic.● This requires registration and verification within the boundaries defined in the map polygon.
  14. 14. How to buildAwareness and Adoption?Coordinated offline and online strategies:● Offline ○ Posters ○ Mailers ○ Handouts ○ Traditional advertising, media● Online ○ Social Media (Facebook, Twitter) ○ Wider reach ○ Websites, email, newsletters
  15. 15. Reporting and AnalyticsAll feedback received:● Quantitative: polls & surveys● Qualitative: discussion, notice boardReports include:● x # of participants responded with y area(s) with z responses● Spatially segment data (by polygons): ○ shows how responses vary by area
  16. 16. OutcomesCORE PRINCIPLE: Evidence-based decision making and public policy development● After conclusion of consultation, outcomes must be communicated to participants.● Important that participants observe that their input has had an impact on the outcome.● Process is open, accessible, dynamic, transparent and defensible.
  17. 17. Recommendations1. Standardized Open Data ○ Add a public consultation category to the Citys Open Data Catalogue and standardize2. Inform/Notify ○ Implement an online notification system that ties digital identity to physical address3. Consult/Feedback ○ Ensure accessible online and place-based4. Report/Analytics ○ Require defensible evidence to inform decision- making and public policy development
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