In Conversation With Kent Wyatt

Each month, PlaceSpeak presents a Q&A with experts in urbanism, public engagement, and civic technology.

This month, we chatted with Kent Wyatt, co-founder of Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL) and a senior management analyst for the City of Tigard, OR. He believes that telling stories about people, ideas, trends and approaches in local government is the best way to make a positive difference.

Ken Hardie becomes first MP in Canada to use PlaceSpeak for online citizen engagement

Ahead of his Fleetwood-Port Kells constituency office open house on Thursday, April 27, Liberal MP Ken Hardie launched a discussion on PlaceSpeak to engage with his constituents in the Surrey riding. By adopting PlaceSpeak, Hardie becomes the first MP in Canada to use the innovative online citizen engagement platform.

Vancouver-based civic technology startup PlaceSpeak facilitates open and transparent dialogue between residents and government, while protecting individual privacy. This innovative location­-based platform renders feedback gathered online legitimate, defensible, and actionable.

Hardie hopes that by connecting with his constituents on PlaceSpeak, he will be better able to address their concerns and represent the views of the community.

Spatial Visualizations of Big Text Data

In previous weeks, we’ve talked a lot about the importance of discussion forums and open two-way dialogue as part of a robust and effective public consultation. While visualizations of survey data and statistics are becoming increasingly commonplace, how can we showcase qualitative data (such as discussion comments) in an equally visually compelling manner?

That’s exactly what our Data Analysis Intern, Lulu Huang, is working on. Lulu is a second-year Master’s student in the Institute for Big Data Analytics at Dalhousie University. She is also part of the Training in Big Text Data (TRIBE) program, and is currently working on spatial visualizations of big text data.

Online Engagement Gone Wrong

This article was originally posted on A site for innovative local government leaders with a passion for connecting, communicating and educating.

When I was at the IAP2 Foundations in Public Participation training session recently, it seemed as though everyone had a story to share about a public meeting or open house gone wrong. As traditional methods of in-person participation continue to face challenges, governments are increasingly relying on the Internet as a crucial tool for collecting feedback. Now, there are more avenues than ever for citizens to have their say and participate online.

In Conversation With Gay Robinson

This month, we chatted with Gay Robinson, an independent consultant with over 30 years of experience in communications and stakeholder relations. She is an active member of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) – as a licensed trainer for the IAP2 Foundations program since 2005 and in various leadership roles. Gay currently serves on the Executive of the IAP2 Wild Rose Chapter.