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Visualizing Deliberation to Enable Transparent Decision Making in Participatory Urban Planning


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This is the presentation I gave to the Visualizing Information in Complex Environments
Joint ASSYSY - FutureICT meeting
(Torino, 17-18 Nov 2011)

Published in: Technology, Real Estate
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Visualizing Deliberation to Enable Transparent Decision Making in Participatory Urban Planning

  1. 1. Visualizing Information in Complex Environments Joint ASSYSY - FutureICT meeting (Torino, 17-18 Nov 2011) Visualizing Deliberationto Enable Transparent Decision Making in Participatory Urban Planning Anna De Liddo Knowledge Media Institute Open University, UK
  2. 2. ApproachWe investigate different aspects and issues of Public Participation in UrbanPlanning and Decision-Making focusing on the key role of:ü knowledge and argument mappingü deliberation practice, tracking and representationto enable more effective policy communication and publicparticipation.We look at Hypermedia discourse technologies to help move us froma deliberation process which is often ephemeral, ill-structured anddisempowering, to deliberation which is persistent, more coherent andparticipatory.
  3. 3. The ProblemParticipatoryPlanning is a collaborativegovernance practice involvinginstitutional and non-institutional stakeholders in acollaborative process ofdeliberation in order to:ü  build multiple views of problems and resourcesü  achieve better informed and shared decisions…it is ifficult tracing theintense process ofinformation andknowledge exchangeand production……converts into a loss oftransparency andaccountability of theDecision Making Process itself.
  4. 4. ObjectiveWe investigate the role of deliberation in participatory planning, with aspecific emphasis on making participatory design decisions,therefore focusing non just on debating alternatives but also on makingcollaborative decisions (decisional power closer to the community).The challenge for the planner is then to support deliberation bycapturing and representing results of diverse planning conversations into aunique and coherent deliberation process, in which it is made clear what voices have been listened to, in which social context, and how they affect thedeliberation process toward planning decisions.
  5. 5. Where and Howdoes deliberation happen?
  6. 6. Formal InformalPlanning VS PlanningArenas Arenas
  7. 7. Can the normally ephemeraldeliberation process be madetangible as an object for critiqueand reflection?The core of our work is to understand how this deliberationprocess can be captured and visualized using digital toolsin appropriate ways, and to understand the practices andskillsets that this requires.
  8. 8. Capturing deliberationThe first issue: Where does deliberation happen?ü Deliberation across planning tasks: reusing the products of deliberation inone context, in other planning phases;ü deliberation across communication time: enabling synchronous andasynchronous communication in the same deliberation process;ü Deliberation across communication modes: enabling both co-located anddispersed stakeholders to be involved in planning discussion;ü Deliberation across communication environments: enabling integrationbetween online and offline deliberation spaces;
  9. 9. FM<->Compendium<->CoPe_it!Eenable the the integration of the captured information in a whole and coherent information flow which shapes the history of the whole deliberation process.
  10. 10. San Pietro Piturno: A Participatory Planning Process carried out byEngineers Without Frontiers (I.S.F.) (association for social promotion of cooperationand development) within the community of San Pietro Piturno (Southern Italy)
  11. 11. Compendium “it’s like Excel, but for knowledge” a sensemaking tool to map andmanage deliberationCompendium is a hypermedia and sensemaking tool that we used as aKnowledge Management system to store, structure and represent deliberationcontents, so as to capture, index, and visualize the issues, options andarguments generated.An information architecture has been specifically designed to representdeliberation as hypermedia knowledge maps. In this architecture, informationunits are contributions by stakeholders during deliberation.Each contribution is represented as a node in the hypermedia database, and isindexed according to 5 key descriptors of the deliberation process, which areorganized coherently against five dimensions of participatory planningprocesses: social, argumentative, spatial, temporal and projectoriented/causal.
  12. 12. The Information Architecture Social Dimension Argumentative Dimension Temporal Dimension Spatial Dimension Project Oriented Dimension
  13. 13. By modeling the five views of the deliberation process as a hypermediaspace, Compendium provides a multidimensional repository forthe deliberation process, organized in content and context sub-repositories, in which every actor s statement can be explored accordingwith its social, dialogical, spatial, temporal and causal-argumentativecontext. Compendium demo…
  14. 14. Social View Exploration Path
  15. 15. Dialogical/Argumentative View
  16. 16. Geographical View of Deliberation contents
  17. 17. Temporal View of Deliberation contents
  18. 18. Design Rationale View backed on deliberation contents
  19. 19.
  20. 20. Improving transparency in deliberation capture and representationWe presented results of the post-hoc analysis of meetings videos in which aknowledge engineer extracted images, information, and knowledge claimstranscribing and editing the videos and then structured these data in thehypermedia database.This operation introduces a relevant level of discretion.The integration between Compendium and FM tries to solve this problem.Video of meetings can be annotated on the fly during the meeting with FM andthen annotations can be imported in Compendium hypermedia database.
  21. 21. FM for video recording andannotation in face-to-face meeting
  22. 22. Compendium-FM Demo
  23. 23. Compendium – FM integrationIn Compendium environment, FM-videos annotations are converted in indexesto the video-replay and are used as references for the knowledge claims andconcepts.In this way, when navigating the meeting contents, users can replay themeeting pointing to the moment in which the specific claim has been done. Thisfeature is a powerful enhancement to capturing deliberation because it makesthe deliberation process fully transparent.The integration enables:ü to represent and reconstruct the deliberation process memoryü to allow the planning team to navigate and reuse the contents of thosemeetingsü to allow video annotation both for at distance an face-to face- meetings.
  24. 24. Asynchronousonline deliberation:Compendium-CoPe_it! integrationTraditional methods of deliberation and public participation normally requireface-to-face, synchronous interaction between citizens, planners and decisionmakers.Asynchronous online deliberation platforms may, at least forthose comfortable with the internet, reduce the costs of participation whileenlarging the participation base.We therefore integrated the offline Compendium tool with CoPe_it!, a web-based tool supporting collaborative argumentation and decision-making inonline communities of practice (Karacapilidis and Tzagarakis 2007).
  25. 25. Compendium CoPe_it! integration demo…
  26. 26. EvaluationThree case studies have been briefly described in which Compendium, FMand CoPe_it! were proof tested to capture deliberation around differentplanning activities.
  27. 27. Case StudiesThe main aims of the case studies were:ü to test the information structure and deliberation contents taxonomy and howeffective it is to reconstruct and represent the deliberation process;ü To test the usability of the three technologiesü To test the effectiveness of the deliberation process memory system, that is tosay: how easy is for users to extract relevant information from the hypermediadatabase to solve specific tasks.Evaluation data was gathered from three sources:ü Semi-structured interviews with representatives at different organizationallevels (community, technical and political) including an NGO, Decision Makers,Institutions and Spatial Plannersü Lab-based observations: Behavioral observations of two pairs, plus fourindividuals planning experts exploring the Compendium system,ü Questionnaires: issued to planning students
  28. 28. Evaluation Results:potentials and challenges forparticipatory planningü Enthusiastic reaction from ISF: “We’d like to use the system as amemory system for our organization to remember best practices andmistakes”.ü The knowledge structure was able to support multiple strategies ofexploration. Users demonstrated that it was straightforward to discover and infer the role of tags and icons by simply exploring the system.ü None of the encountered usability problems can be ascribed to thesoftware (Compendium), but rather depend on:- user’s capability and attitude toward the task, and- knowledge manager’s skills in issue mapping
  29. 29. Evaluation Results:potentialsü A system for reflection and understanding and not for gettinganswer: A tool to understand the wider social and spatial context ofdeliberationü A tool of inquiry and as such they suggest using it to discuss withthe community about design alternatives and possible problemssolutions; it offers a different way to give voice to people that wouldnot have one otherwiseü A tool for monitoring and evaluating planning performances interms of degree of knowledge base used, fulfilment of communitydemand, identification of excluded voices
  30. 30. Evaluation Results:challengesDiscretional Classification:ü a general concern that the classification of claims is discretional andentrusted to “the expert planner”. This opens the possibility ofmisinterpreting stakeholders’ intentions or meanings, or prematurelyframing the problem setting by narrowing free concept interpretation.ü Once the platform moves to the web, a ‘folksonomic’ socialtagging approach could be provided to ensure that classification isopen to all, or to appointed stakeholders, as negotiated within theproject.
  31. 31. Evaluation Results:challengesGrowing of Information Complexity: How to SelectRelevant Information and KnowledgeThe risk is to reduce too much the grain of the information to trace andthen to augment the amount of information and knowledge fragments tointerpret and manageThis makes such a detailed remembering not only useless but alsocounterproductiveFuture efforts needs to be devoted to explore methods to screenbetween relevant knowledge to trace and the “noise” which just need tobe forgotten in order to focus our attention on what matter in the specificmoment and for the specific people involved
  32. 32. Creating structureCompendium Crowdsourcing participation
  33. 33. The techno-political problem of Democracy What are the skills, methods and tools to facilitate inclusiveCompendium deliberation processes ? How do we build a collective voice without the need of intermediation?
  34. 34. Two Research Strands ü Improving transparency: Supporting deliberation capturing and Visualization By recording deliberation and discourse digitally to make it possible to interrogate later on and use deliberation contents to actively inform decision making ü Empowering Community voices and ideas: Facilitating Open Public Inquiry and Collective Intelligence By developing a virtual agora for open inquiry on common policy issues
  35. 35. Watch the demo video at: the Open Deliberation model video at:
  36. 36. To Communicate and Analyze Public DebateVisit towatch the demo movie
  37. 37. NASA e-science field trialsSimulated distributed Mars-Earth planning and data analysis tools for Mars Habitat field trial in Utah desert, supported from US+UK 37
  38. 38. Issue/concept mapping Mapping the ideas, themes and arguments in a complex debate (Iraq) An overview map of pro- invasion authors 38
  39. 39. Issue/concept mapping Detailed argument map of an author’s article 39
  40. 40. Articles, books, news, movies,software, user/developer community… Compendium
 Institute Many thanks Anna De Liddo
  41. 41. References for Compendium and Cohere: Semantic Web Annotation and Knowledge Mapping¤  De Liddo, A., Sándor, Á .,Buckingham Shum, S., Contested Collective Intelligence: Rationale, Technologies, and a Human-Machine Annotation Study, CSCW Journal (In Press)¤  De Liddo, Anna and Buckingham Shum, Simon (2010). Capturing and representing deliberation in participatory planning practices. In: Fourth International Conference on Online Deliberation (OD2010), 30 Jun - 2 Jul 2010, Leeds, UK. Retrieved from¤  De Liddo, Anna and Buckingham Shum, Simon (2010). Cohere: A prototype for contested collective intelligence. In: ACM Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2010) - Workshop: Collective Intelligence In Organizations - Toward a Research Agenda, February 6-10, 2010, Savannah, Georgia, USA. Available at: http://¤  Buckingham Shum, Simon and De Liddo, Anna (2010). Collective intelligence for OER sustainability. In: OpenED2010: Seventh Annual Open Education Conference, 2-4 Nov 2010, Barcelona, Spain. Available at: http://¤  De Liddo, Anna (2010). From open content to open thinking. In: World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications (Ed-Media 2010), 29 Jun, Toronto, Canada. Available at: http://¤  De Liddo, Anna and Alevizou, Panagiota (2010). A method and tool to support the analysis and enhance the understanding of peer--to--peer learning experiences. In: OpenED2010: Seventh Annual Open Education Conference, 2-4 Nov 2010, Barcelona, Spain. Available at: