PlaceSpeak Launches New Activity and Profile Pages

We’ve improved PlaceSpeak to better reflect how our users engage with their communities online.

By adding a new Activity Page and Profile Page, these new features make it easier for people to connect with decision-makers and with each other, in the spaces where they live, work, and play.

PlaceSpeak Announces Affiliate Partnership with eSolutionsGroup

PlaceSpeak, a leading location-based citizen engagement platform, today announced a strategic partnership with eSolutionsGroup, an interactive website and mobile development company working with municipalities and governments across North America.

“Transparency is critical for government and community engagement,” said Karen Mayfield, President, eSolutionsGroup. “As the newest member of our Affiliate Network, PlaceSpeak offers our public sector clients the ability to build that with confidence with individuals online and in specific geographies.”

In Conversation With Scott London

Each month, PlaceSpeak presents a Q&A with one of today’s most innovative thinkers in urbanism, public engagement, and civic technology.

This month, we chatted with Scott London, a California-based consultant who has studied and written extensively about how new technologies can help communities make better decisions.

Scott manages projects and offers ideas and assistance to organizations committed to social innovation and public engagement. He’s led many studies and research projects exploring the power of informal networks, the theory and practice of public deliberation, the political ramifications of new communications technologies, and other topics. For more, see Scott’s website here.

Building A Culture of Participation In Your Community

For many people, the extent of their participation in democratic society is turning up to vote every few years (if at all, judging by voter turnout numbers). There is a common perception that public consultations and other citizen engagement processes are just for show, and don’t make a difference in the end. How can we build robust cultures of participation in our communities that embrace the plurality in modern societies and take into account the diversity of competing voices, interests, and concerns?

It’s difficult, but it starts with trust that goes both ways. Often times, this trust has been eroded over time: repeated experiences have left both citizens and decision-makers apprehensive of participating, engaging, or opening up dialogue. Citizens need to be able to trust that decision-makers are engaging with residents in good faith, and with the understanding that their feedback will be taken into account during the process. Likewise, decision-makers must trust citizens to participate respectfully and meaningfully. Here are a few tips to start building a culture of participation in your community.

4 Reasons Centralizing Online Community Engagement Increases Effectiveness, Saves Time and Reduces Costs

Each municipality has a different structure and different personnel and job titles handling community engagement. In some municipalities, there is a central person or team who is in charge. However, community engagement is more commonly decentralized, with each department having someone whose role includes an element of community engagement.

This is often the result of departments developing community engagement strategies organically and independently over time. Often, this means that each department has their own processes and tools, and while best practices may be shared casually there is no system in place for staff to maximize their efforts.

For organizations with multiple decentralized decision-making bodies, a platform such as PlaceSpeak which can facilitate a one-stop shop both for proponents and participants may come in useful. Here are four reasons why PlaceSpeak is uniquely suited to break down the silos between departments in local government.