Reflecting on PlaceSpeak’s Role in Deliberative Democracy

Anson Ching is a recent UBC graduate (BA’15), specializing in urban geography and political theory for planning processes and democratic innovations. He was a recipient of the Dr. Walter G. Hardwick Scholarship in Urban Studies in the Geography Department at UBC. He will be returning to UBC this fall to pursue his Masters degree in political theory. In this blog post, Anson reflects on why he’s excited to be working on PlaceSpeak’s newly minted “Green Dot” Strategy.

Recognizing the Importance of Online Proof of Residency

Recently, the Digital ID & Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC) released its second proof of concept report on Online Proof of Residency.

Residency is used by governments, the private sector and the social-profit sector to ensure that eligible individuals receive the products and services they need. DIACC has undertaken a review to develop a proof of concept to provide a residency check, on demand, with a reasonable level of assurance.

In Conversation With Jay Bhalla

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

This month, we spoke with Jay Bhalla, an innovation strategist and open data advocate, who helped pioneer Kenya’s digital revolution. Jay has most recently joined PlaceSpeak as Director of International Business Development. Prior to this, he helped design the Kenyan government’s 2006 ICT policy that kick-started the nation’s innovation and digital startup culture, and played a leading role in shaping the Kenya Open Data Initiative (KODI).

Jay is also the co-founder and executive director for the Open Institute, a global think tank that provides advisory and technical services in the open data and governance space. He has contributed his expertise and knowledge to open data initiatives in various countries including Moldova, Nepal, Ghana,Tanzania, Uganda, and South Africa.

6 Reasons To Start Doing Online Public Engagement

Our blog is full of information about online public consultation and best practices for engaging with the public. However, let’s start at the very beginning. Why should your organization consider engaging online in the first place?

1. Reach and engage with a more diverse audience

A key benefit of online community engagement is engaging hard-to-reach people and expanding input beyond the “usual suspects.” Some people are unlikely to attend in-person events such as public hearings or open houses, but are more receptive to participating online. In addition, online methods of communication can reach diverse audiences that may not pay attention to newspapers or other traditional information sources.

In addition, online engagement makes it easier to communicate with people who speak another primary language. People who are not fluent may be hesitant to participate or speak during traditional consultations such as town hall meetings. This is especially salient in communities with significant immigrant populations whose perspectives may end up not being represented. Learn more in our post on tackling language barriers with online engagement.

PlaceSpeak wins Geospatial Excellence Award at the Geospatial World Awards

PlaceSpeak has won the Geospatial Excellence Award in the Infrastructure category from Geospatial World for its work on the Whitehorse Corridor/Alaska Highway Improvement Project.

The Geospatial Excellence Awards are conferred for exemplary usage of geospatial tools in various fields (Governance, Infrastructure, Public safety, Utilities, Design and Engineering, Environment, Agriculture, Mining and Exploration, Transportation management, Business Intelligence, Insurance, Disaster Management).