Crowdsourcing Public Participation


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Crowdsourcing Public Participation

  1. 1. Crowdsourcing Public Participation: Potential and Pitfalls Justin Hollander, PhD, AICP, Tufts University Michael Messina, M.A., Tufts University Meridith Levy, Somerville Community Corporation.
  2. 2. Introductions and Agenda• “Crowdsourcing” Context – Justin Hollander• Case Study – Michael Messina• Community Perspective – Meridith Levy• Small Groups Exercise
  3. 3. Public Meeting Monday 30th April 8pm at Stewkley Village Hall, <> Accessed March 23, 2010.
  4. 4. Top Ten Challenges of Public Participation* • One-way communication flow • Citizens’ lack of real power • Face-to-face politics of difference and unequal power relations • Involving individuals that typically do not participate • Planners’ outreach and coordination of participatory activities • Generating creative solutions • Administrative structure too stringent • Face-to-face interactions favor extroverted personalities • Measurement of the effectiveness • Planners’ facilitation style*Compiled from themes that reoccur throughout public participation literature. The boldedchallenges are directly related the inTeractive Somerville case study.
  5. 5. What is crowdsourcing?A web-based, distributed problemsolving model which includes anopen call to a generally largenetwork of people.
  6. 6. Peer-Vetted Creative Crowdsourcing• Open creative process open to public online to generate distinct, superior ideas• Peer vetting process identifies the highest rated ideas by peers• An award system is created to recognize one or multiple winners
  7. 7. Uniqueness of Crowdsourcing Top-down management Bottom up, open, creative process
  8. 8.
  9. 9. Photo by Ann Sussman, 2010
  10. 10. inTeractive Somerville Case StudyRESEARCH QUESTIONS:To what extent can crowdsourcing facilitatepublic participation for transit-oriented planningprojects? – To what extent can crowdsourcing public participation generate distinct ideas? – To what extent can crowdsourcing public participation engage individuals that typically do not get involved in the planning process?
  11. 11. Research Setting: Somerville, MA
  12. 12. Research Setting: Green Line Extension Project Gilman Square is one of 7 proposed train stations for the Green Line Extension Project
  13. 13. Research Setting: Gilman SquareGilman Square Area and Somerville’s “Civic Hotspot” (Bing Maps)
  14. 14. Defining the Crowdsourcing ChallengeTrain Station is slated tobe constructed next toHomans Building.The challenge was tocome up with the bestidea to improve the areawhere the HomansBuilding is currentlylocated.
  15. 15. Assessing Resources, Goals and Designing the Challenge community organizations academic / research partners crowdsourcing-enabled website • Will the winning idea actually be implemented? • Are comments and ideas “public comment”? • What is the project budget? Is there funding? • How will ideas be submitted and rated? • What reward will be offered to the winner?government and planning partners • How will the challenge be branded/promoted? • Which platform? Can it pull data for analysis?
  16. 16. Technology, Community Organizing and Media • Learn about crowdsourcing. Document examples. • Select a crowdsourcing platform: out-of-the-box, or custom-built? • Build your Challenge page use as your landing page ensure all details and tools are on the page • Integrate organizing and communication goals: events branding talking points • Launch social media channels: consistent branding across channels build relationships, find influencers create clear objectives • Media outreach: pitch journalists of local and regional outlets
  17. 17. Results: Crowdsourced v. Traditional ParticipationCrowdsourced Traditional Totals Crowdsourced participants 14 30 People generated ~ 3.5 times as 14 13 Broad Concepts many distinct ideas as 41 25 Distinct Ideas traditional participants 2.93 0.83 Ideas Per Participant Crowdsourcing Website Data Ideas submitted: 11 Winning Idea: New Public Gardens Registered Users: 81 Users that rated ideas: 31 Ensure quality control for ratings. Create a customized rating with votes being only part of the total rating.
  18. 18. Results: Interview Data Half of the people that participated in the Green Line Challenge had never participated in a traditional public or planning meeting. It opens the door for people that might not be able to make it to the regular town meetingsIt feels easier for me to participate onlinecompared to a public meeting where onlydedicated people show up, this really makes iteasier for people to participate
  19. 19. Group Breakout: Case Study Analysis• Break into small groups• Assign a group writer and presenter• Review case study• As a “professional planning firm,” what are your recommendations to the City of Malden?
  20. 20. Contact Information Open Neighborhood ProjectUrban + Environmental Policy + Planning Tufts University 97 Talbot Avenue Medford, Massachusetts 02155 USA tel: (617) 627-3394 fax: (617) 627-3377 Twitter: @JustinHollander email: Michael Messina email: Twitter: @michael_messina Meridith Levy email: