Does my comment count? Perceptions of political participation in an online environment
"Since the infancy of the Internet, scholars have posited that the medium would mobilize and engage citizens, yet the reality has proven it to be more nuanced and complex. This project examines citizens’ motivations to engage in politics online, assessing how people are driven by both a desire to influence government as well as to communicate political ideas to others. We explore the ways these two behaviors are perceived by citizens in online versus offline contexts. We also examine how such perceptions can predict certain behaviors, such as “friending” a candidate and messaging with friends about politics. We find that these behaviors are indeed perceived differently among citizens, and that perceptions predict the likelihood of participating in online political forums."
participation, edemocracy, osp
HouseFacts building inspections standard
HouseFacts building inspections standard:
Developed by the City of San Francisco, Code for America, and leading industry stakeholders the House Facts Standard is a uniform format for reporting government data on the health and safety of residential buildings.
The data standard provides a full health and safety history for every house and apartment in participating cities. Greater transparency helps keep owners accountable and further incentivizes compliance with regulations that ensure health, safety and habitability.
Link: Open Town Hall
Open Town Hall
Peak Democracy Inc’s Open Town Hall is a cloud-based online civic engagement platform that augments and diversifies public participation in ways that also enable government leaders to increase public trust in their governance.
Unlike crowd-sourcing, Open Town Hall allows governments to maintain control of the public engagement process, focus on feedback from constituents, keep the dialogue civil and legal, and also not overwhelm staff in ways that can frustrate residents.
osp, civil, discourse, town, hall
Link: Learning from others
Great format. Not everything is invented in NYC.
"New York’s next mayor will need to address a number of critical challenges facing the city. This report spotlights 15 innovative policies from cities across the U.S. and around the globe that could serve as a model."
“In the niche world of urban planning, Fulton’s a known name.”
What do wealthy Americans really want? What are they calling their electeds about? Data from MA, interesting survey method
Wonder how much time they spend crunching zoning regs. See also, Zonability.
"Zoner communicates transparency to all the regulatory restrictions on your property so that you can get on to the important decisions of your business. Zoner is fast, accurate, and flexible according to the specificities of your site."
zoner, zoning, development, osp
Citibiki and Pandas - as much fun as it sounds.
"This notebook shows you how to inspect the citibike dataset, perform aggregations, produce plots and google maps heatmaps."
We recently kicked off in earnest a project in Louisville to develop a piece of technology aimed at engaging low-income Millennials (young adults ages 18-30) in city planning processes. This project comes as part of a broader Living Cities effort to better understand the potential for tech to deepen civic engagement and improve the lives of low-income people, and to help us explore roles we might play in maximizing this potential in the future.
We came into this process with a few questions in our minds:
Who exactly are Millennials and what does it take to engage them in civic process?
How might a new technology solution aid us in this work in a way that is meaningfully different than what existing tech does?
What are the deeper issues underlying the “presenting problem” of engaging low-income young adults?
Here are some things we are learning.”
– Tamir Novotny reports back from Louisville: Millennials, Civic Engagement and Civic Tech
“As the city puts gigabytes of free data online, one chunk remains conspicuously missing: a database that reveals the vital details of every piece of real estate in the city.”
– PLUTO out of orbit | The New York World
“Reinvent Green was a city initiative in NYC aimed at having technologists improve sustainability in New York. Winners of this hackathon included an app to help cyclists “bikepool” together and a farmer’s market inventory app. These apps are great on their own, but they don’t solve the city’s sustainability problems. They solve the participants’ problems because as a young affluent hacker, my problem isn’t improving the city’s recycling programs, it’s finding kale on Saturdays.”
– Great article by Jake Porway — You Can’t Just Hack Your Way to Social Change.
“TL;DR: Adopt-a-sidewalk is a flawed, under-utilized application with enormous potential. By refocusing the user experience on addressing actual needs of people in Chicago and showing meaningful activity, it could be a powerful tool for engaging citizens in supporting and improving the civic infrastructure in their community.”
This is great. Every civic tech project should do this, stepping back and sharing a critical look at what worked and what didn’t.
“In an age of a million Facebook-invites a week and Eventbrite sending me recommendations, it would be nice to see public meetings get the attention they deserve.”
– @internetrebecca on Making Meetings Matter, @OpenPlans' Knight News Challenge submission.
“Visualizing Neighborhoods is a day-long event to bring together neighborhood leaders, technologists, data visualizers, designers, artists, scientists, civil servants, and anyone else interested to explore how data can be used for research, analyzing, mapping, outreach, engagement, and communication in our neighborhoods. The goals are to start conversations, build community, experiment, and prototype projects for neighborhoods. And for those that may not have the time to be at the event all day, we will be creating spaces so groups can consult with each other. Are you a neighborhood organizer that needs some tips on technologies to help communicate with your neighborhood better? Are you a developer that has the coding chops but not quite sure what problem to solve? Are you a storyteller, but just not sure where a good dataset is?”
Visualizing Neighborhoods: a Hackathon for Good - Eventbrite
“So why build an open zoning data standard? A zoning data standard would allow for zoning visualization apps, like those developed for NYC, to be used across jurisdictions. In cities that sprawl across zoning jurisdictions (or even states, as in DC), a zoning standard would allow for an easy analysis and comparison of how, for example, different cities in the DC metro area are supporting transit oriented development. More broadly, standardizing the way zoning data is shared would allow for it to be mashed up and analyzed with things like public transport accessibility analyses like those for NYC done here, possibly providing an analytical input to the way zoning densities are ultimately set.”
All true, but fundamentally, we need to make compelling reasons for producers of zoning to use the standard. Ideally, without talking about standards.
If the people who write zoning are using OpenZoneBuilder because it’s easier than the current tools, and it just happens to produce structured data as well as the clunky PDFs, we win.
Let’s Build an Open Zoning Data Standard