An excerpt from an article in the July 9, 2013 online edition of the Vancouver Sun:
Knowledge problem? go with the crowd
Information technology applications are giving people more say in processes ranging from product development to government policy-making
By John Prpic And Prashant Shukla, Vancouver Sun July 9, 2013
As Metro Vancouver’s municipal bureaucrats and politicians wrestle over transportation priorities in the Lower Mainland, it’s clear that future projects – given their growing scope and cost – will require even greater consultation and public input than in years past. New bike lanes, bridges, and SkyTrain lines all tend to evoke robust and mostly informed debate.
The big difference today is how technology has changed the nature of these dialogues – making them more centralized, accessible and powerful. Increasingly, our government and business leaders are turning over more of their decision-making to the power of the digital crowd.
And new firms are springing up to give online crowds a bigger boost. Vancouver-based PlaceSpeak, a community consultation platform, is a powerful case in point. Working with different Canadian jurisdictions and companies, the website allows everyday citizens to influence the decisionmaking process – whether the issue is housing affordability or municipal transportation plans.
In government or business, the digital crowd wields more power than ever before.
Applications like crowdsourcing, citizen science, prediction markets, and Wikis all use IT to engage and access dispersed knowledge from a crowd, and organizations are using these IT applications to address their operating and innovation needs. Whether using a crowd as a labour pool or as a partner for collaboration, IT applications have made accessing knowledge previously inaccessible from crowds of individuals remarkably easier and efficient to obtain. And in the process this emerging paradigm has created a new potential resource for organizations: crowd capital.
John Prpic and Prashant Shukla are PhD students in the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University.
You can read the whole article here.
The Housing Justice Project is extending its online survey on PlaceSpeak until December 2013. Please take some time to connect, take the survey, and forward to your network to do the same.
To take the survey visit: www.placespeak.com/HousingJustice
Metro Vancouver Urban Futures Survey 2012 Results
Politicians, planners and policy makers can now be informed by forty years of comparative data on the changing attitudes of residents in the Metro Vancouver region thanks to the release today of the results of the 2012 Urban Futures Survey. The Technical Report results can be downloaded here (pdf | 3.6 MB).
This is the third in a series of geographically specific research studies that measures a number of issues important to residents across the Lower Mainland. Previous surveys conducted in 1973 and 1990 informed the Livable Region Plan and the Choosing our Future program. The 2012 survey updates and enhances the information available about public attitudes and experiences of the population over three points in time.
“I am not aware of any other urban region that has an extensive body of comparable information such as this available to aid the decision-making process.” says Ken Cameron, former Manager of Policy and Planning for the GVRD (Metro Vancouver). Cameron was involved in the 1990 survey as well as the 2012 version. “The Vancouver region’s success in becoming one of the most livable regions in the world was accomplished through concerted efforts of regional and local governments over many years, decades, in fact.” he said. “It is invaluable to have comparable data spanning nearly 40 years that can tell us what has changed—and not changed—in public opinion as the region has grown. The earlier surveys had an important impact on transportation and environmental policies, and the 2012 survey will undoubtedly offer a rich resource of information to planners and policy makers looking to the future”.
The Technical Report
A unique aspect of the Technical Report is the comparison it provides with the results of earlier surveys. For example, provision of health care ranked 3rd in 1990 and 9th in 1973, while air pollution from industry was the top concern in both earlier surveys. This reflects the concerted action by government to improve air quality in the intervening years. Similarly, while preserving the natural environment was the most important priority for action in the earlier surveys, by 2012 it had dropped to 4th place, a result that could be attributed to efforts by government to improve water quality through upgraded waste water treatment, to give priority to solid waste reduction and recycling and to protect the region’s working landscape through creating the Green Zone.