Crowdsourcing Planning?

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  • Last fall I completed a research paper on social media in planning about a comprehensive planning process in Austin, Texas. As you see here I evaluated their offline and online approaches, including facebook, twitter, blogging, and others.
  • One of the most interesting outcomes was this diagram. It illustrates the pattern of participation for a survey of highly active participants. The bars represent the pairwise commonalities between the two only. The colors are just for fun. Basically, out of all of these activities most people went to the website. This seems to suggest the hypothesis they were then told about other opportunities, however the reverse causality is also interesting. Attended a public meeting and then went to a website. However, the key question I kept coming back to was what the purpose of all this participation was? Were we happy with the system that was emerging, or should we question what we wanted as well?
  • This is the central question: what models work and how might we be inspired by other experiments?That are flexible, effective, and get resultsWe can do a host of things previously difficult. Easily aggregate and rate ideas and preferences, collect data, mine contents of digital networks for views, and much more. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself.
  • Attendees to public meetings are not representative. Most seriously, the process silences new ideas, says “no,” and deadens community vitality.The question we ask ourselves with disappointing results: is this the best we can do?Others focus on deliberative or educational experiences divorced from a plan or policy contextOften limited to creating a vision. Is that all we want? Then get out of our way, let us write regulation and run the approval process?An unsatisfying scope for planning. Yet without an affirmative model for deeper engagement, it’s where we are.
  • Attendees to public meetings are not representative. Most seriously, the process silences new ideas, says “no,” and deadens community vitality.The question we ask ourselves with disappointing results: is this the best we can do?Others focus on deliberative or educational experiences divorced from a plan or policy contextOften limited to creating a vision. Is that all we want? Then get out of our way, let us write regulation and run the approval process?An unsatisfying scope for planning. Yet without an affirmative model for deeper engagement, it’s where we are.
  • Attendees to public meetings are not representative. Most seriously, the process silences new ideas, says “no,” and deadens community vitality.The question we ask ourselves with disappointing results: is this the best we can do?Others focus on deliberative or educational experiences divorced from a plan or policy contextOften limited to creating a vision. Is that all we want? Then get out of our way, let us write regulation and run the approval process?An unsatisfying scope for planning. Yet without an affirmative model for deeper engagement, it’s where we are.
  • Internet-enabled collaboration and communication arising new social practices.
  • “ … crowdsourcing represents the act of a company or institution taking a function once performed by employees and outsourcing it to an undefined (and generally large) network of people in the form of an open call. This can take the form of peer-production (when the job is performed collaboratively), but is also often undertaken by sole individuals. The crucial prerequisite is the use of the open call format and the large network of potential laborers.”-- Jeff Howe
  • GovSpigit enables government agencies to launch internal and/or external campaigns to collect new ideas from employees and/or citizens. Ideas advance through a structured process, customized for each agency, designed to make them actionable.
  • It’s our job to build these new frameworks for problem identification and solutions.What do we want? How do we get it? What is the role of social media?
  • Crowdsourcing Planning?

    1. 1. Crowdsourcing Planning? Robert Goodspeed PhD Student MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning Delivered as a lighting talk at the Virginia Tech Social Media for Planning Conference, April 19, 2011: http://www.cpe.vt.edu/socialplan/
    2. 2. Other Presentation Website Facebook/Twi tter Published Article To What Community End? Forum Meetings Citizen Task ForceN = 73Survey Universe: City email list Online SurveyConvenience Sample Open House Meeting-In-a-Box
    3. 3. Three view of “regular” participation:
    4. 4. ?
    5. 5. ?
    6. 6. Six Forms ofCrowdsourcingWhat can we learnfrom them?
    7. 7. The New Outsourcing?Jeff Howe, “The Rise of Crowdsourcing,” Wired Magazinehttp://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.06/crowds.html
    8. 8. #1 Distributed data collection“Volunteered geographic information”Emergency response, vacant property tracking, invasive species, etc.
    9. 9. #2 Soliciting design solutionsBrabham, D. 2009. Crowdsourcing the Public Participation Process for PlanningParticipation. Planning Theory 8: 3, 242-262.
    10. 10. #3 Collective intelligenceMark Elliott PhD Dissertation: “Stigmergic Collaboration: A theoretical framework formass collaboration”
    11. 11. #4 Peer production of public goods “Government as a platform for greatness”
    12. 12. These have naïve conception ofgovernment and power.At their worst, they are a libertarianpipe dream.Let’s get institutional.
    13. 13. #5 Collective Intelligence GenomeWhat GoalWho Hierarchy CrowdWhy Money Love GloryHow Collaboration Group Decision Voting Consensus Averaging Prediction Markets Individual Decisions MIT Center for Collective Intelligence http://cci.mit.edu/
    14. 14. #6 “Open Innovation” Technology
    15. 15. New models from disparate fields present fruitful ideas. Problem identification Data collection Ideas Volunteers Input for plans
    16. 16. Only by including new technologiesas a variable can we be open tonew social, political, andinstitutional arrangements thatpreviously weren’t possible.
    17. 17. Thank YouRobert GoodspeedPhD StudentMIT Department of Urban Studies and Planninghttp://web.mit.edu/rgoodspe/www/rgoodspe@mit.edu

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