Collaboration is an iterative process where people work together to solve a problem or develop an idea. Collaboration is more complex than reporting because solutions are not clear – it’s not simply fixing something that is broken. Civic technology applications have been developed for three main aspects of collaboration:
Process applications are designed to help users and agencies come to a decision on complicated issues. They include tools such as voting mechanisms, reputation systems, and links to educational information designed to help facilitate the decision-making process.
Process applications provide a structured forum where users can discuss ideas for solving problems and improving services. They are especially good for obtaining input on large transport projects or investments.
Public agencies should actively monitor discussions on process applications to make certain that they remain civil and on subject. It’s good practice to set clear rules for participation in advance and require users to agree to these rules before being allowed to participate.
Providing information to participants helps improve the quality of ideas and suggestions in all public involvement processes, especially for highly technical subjects like transport.
Internet-based applications are excellent tools for providing information. They can be designed to be highly interactive (e.g., games like BusMeister) and to present information on levels from introductory to highly detailed. One of the great advantages of the Internet is that open source libraries of these tools can be created so that each project does not need to re-invent their own educational programs. We’ve identified three main types of educational applications: games, references and interactive applications.
We want to encourage as many people as possible to participate in public processes because more people means better ideas and more support for the end results. Public support is especially important for complex and controversial projects. Engagement consists of attracting people and keeping them involved in the process.
Gamification, using aspects of game design in the user experience (giving “points” for degree of participation) is a good approach for keeping people actively involved in public processes.
Read more about Transport Games and how they can be used to encourage engagement.
Blog Posts: Collaboration
CityLab has a fascinating article on the future of city 311 systems: The Future of 311 Could Be Weird. On this website we classify 311 systems as reporting applications because they are used by cities to collect and analyse reports by residents about problems etc. The “311” designation comes from the telephone number that was […]
Planetizen is a great source of information about all things urban planning. Their annual best of lists are particularly good. This year’s best websites 2016 were just published and they include several related to crowdsourcing and transport. For example the cover photo is Jason Wright’s Brand New Subway game, which is one of our favourite […]
Curbed just published a great list of small things people can do (ACT!) to improve their community. Here are the details: 101 small ways you can improve your city, by Patrick Sisson and Alissa Walker, September 22, 2016. They’ve separated the article into six categories: On Your Street | In Your Neighborhood | At Your Parks | […]
Better Block is an organisation providing resources (e.g., How to Build a Better Block) to help communities create healthy and vibrant neighborhoods. The group’s website is full of resources and ideas for transforming streets and vacant properties into lively, safe and interesting places. It’s a great source of information for community activists who want to act to […]