New Approaches in Virtual Engagement
On May 10, 2011, Colleen Hardwick participated on a panel entitled “The Crowd Sourced City” hosted by Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) City Program. In the current issue of Planning West, the Planning Institute of British Columbia‘s (PIBC) publication, urban designer Richard Borbridge wrote a review of the event.
Here is his introduction:
To most, the concept of crowd-sourcing is still a bit fuzzy. SFU’s City Program provided an introduction to the concept and its implications for planning and city building at the lecture “Crowd Sourced City” on May 10, 2011. Three presenters at the forefront of virtual engagement spoke about three products challenging the current philosophy and technology of public engagement.
Crowdsourcing is the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to an undefined, large group of people or community (a “crowd”), through an open call.
PlaceSpeak developer Colleen Hardwick demonstrated the early capacities of her online venture. Her intention with this project was to calm the trolls of anonymous online commentary and legitimize project input. PlaceSpeak is based on the premise that decision makers should focus on the opinions of people directly affected proposed changes – namely those that live nearby. The site helps to localize the ever-widening online dialogue and demands on planning consultation through an extensive authentication process that matches your real world location to your virtual presence. The audience discussed the relative merits of connecting new technology to “old” ways of thinking about consultation, but acknowledged the merits of understanding who is saying what and encouraging people to step out of virtual anonymity.