A lot of the public participation today, around the globe, is in the tokenism stage.
In partnership, the public is able to negotiate and engage in trade-offs with power holders.
The citizen control, the public are empowered to make the ultimate decision.
Referendums are a good example where the public ultimately is the deciding vote.
Organizing successful public participation takes significant time and planning – who is to be involved, what decisions to be made, who is the decision maker, what is the timeframe, when and how often are the meetings etc.
Public engagement can very quickly evolve into negativity with people focusing on the things that are wrong with an idea.
People participate because they’re motivated in different ways, people are motivated because they’re socially connected to others who are participating, people may be motivated by the recognition of others within their social community etc.
Engaging people in decision making about the future of their cities is incredibly important.
Be it GIS, land management, or smart cities, visualisation tools, or scenario planning etc we turn to technology, to plan and run our cities more efficiently.
Example: scenario planning, people can see what options there are for the city to grow, and the impact different development patterns had on the city.
Example: visualization, we can use a visual preference survey, or you tell the public, this is what I mean, pick what you like.
Smart phone technology, social media and civic engagement have been a game changer for the way planners now engage the public.
They make it possible to reach out to more and to garner more diverse views to equalise the conversation. For example, the older generation might be more comfortable in public meeting settings, but the younger generations do not do public meetings, and are more comfortable using technology.
Detailed discussion of the revolution in and by the mobile phone: the relationship between the Arab Spring, handphone ownership in different parts of the world, Chinese manufacturers, the Shanzhai phenomenon, and the impact on and response from larger companies.
Relationship between technology and civics, and particular tools for feedback, local communications, and reporting.
How has social media and digital games changed standard conceptions of civic life, and changed expectations among among citizens, to intersect with the public, with public life?
There are feedback tools (e.g. in Philadelphia); another tool is called MindMixer, which is a planning platform that allows cities and people to create prompts get feedback around particular planning issues.
There are tools for local communications i.e. connect people within localities, get people sharing, know each other, and even to exchange goods and services on a local level.
There are reporting tools, such as SeeClickFix which is a mobile reporting tool where you can report potholes; Citizens Connect does something similar but it tries to better integrate with service delivery.
Engagement can be tied to the concept of civic learning, and this civics phase could be cultivated into something like civic learning.
Crowdsourcing is an online distributed problem solving and production model where organization leverages the collective intelligence of online communities to solve problem or build a public good
It’s a process where an organization asks an online community to perform a specific amount of task
Distributed human intelligence tasking is about taking the big data set you might have and distribute to an online community that is willing to perform this kind of labor for free or small amount of money
Amazon Mechanical Turk is really a platform that allow any organization to go online and post their tasks that they need performed to anonline community that is willing and ready to do this kind of work
Broadcast search approach to crowdsourcing is where you ask online community to find a solution to a difficult problem, often a scientific problem.
InnoCentive like Amazon Mechanical Turk is a platform where any company can use it to broadcast a challenge and offer a cash reward to an online community of solvers who take a stab at solving the problem at hand.
Interactive design is focused on how we shape digital things for use by humans e.g. taking the static map of a subway system or a bus route, and figuring out how to get from one place to another in a simple way that’s intuitive and interactive?
Most things are really living systems and living documents, and we need to think more about patterns and desired outcomes and behaviors we want to achieve, like setting a stage for other people to perform.
The human is at the center, and understanding that network of things, and how they all work together; rather than your device, or your thing being at the center.
The next big thing in five or seven years out is the Internet of Things, which is about connecting all kinds of things and stuff that currently is not connected digitally, including clothing and the simple and stupid light switch (which can become a piece of intelligent technology that communicates with other objects).
The outcome is an environment that becomes a little bit more intelligent, not with centralized intelligence but smaller units talking to each other. Things are done in the background that allows you to focus your attention on the main task at hand (e.g. driving).
One of the things that emerges as a result of all of this intensive connectivity: a “super organism” is building up. It is a thing and it has behaviors and it has responses and reactions, for example, you can find out about things like earthquakes on Twitter faster than you can the earthquake itself.
It is just like when cells began to aggregate together using chemical signals and things and then became organisms. Their behavior can become more and more collective as those signals become more and more exclusive.
We will look back one day on things like flash mobs and revolutions as early displays of collective behavior mediated by these new lighter weight, more ubiquitous, much faster and richer mechanisms for connectivity.