Bringing Opinion Research into the Digital Age
In October 2013, PlaceSpeak director, Ken Cameron was invited to present at the Community Indicators Consortium Impact Summit 2013 in downtown Chicago. This was an international summit in the field of indicators practice and research.
With inspiring keynote speakers and over 60 experts and professionals involved in pinpointing, diagnosing, and turning around trends, Impact Summit 2013 focused on the twin challenges of documenting widening social gaps and disparities and seeking opportunities to advance equity in our communities. The lineup of exceptional speakers include Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health Beshara Choucair; Open Data Now’s Joel Gurin; Daniel X. O’Neil, Executive Director of the Smart Chicago Collaborative; John Bracken, Director of the Knight News Challenge, Knight Foundation; Susana Vasquez, Executive Director of LISC; Munir Sheikh, Canada’s former chief statistician… and our own Ken Cameron.
Here are the slides from Ken’s presentation. A description of the presentation is below.
Canada’s Vancouver region has developed a reputation as one of the world’s most livable cities, combining in one place most of the things to which humanity aspires on a global basis. Thoughtful and comprehensive planning at the regional level has been given much of the credit for the development of this reputation over a period of more than 60 years. At critical points, key regional planning policy documents have been based upon extensive public consultation, including comprehensive and comparable Urban Futures opinion surveys of regional residents conducted in 1973 and 1990. Obtaining a regionally representative sample was a challenge in the previous surveys and an attempt to replicate the survey in 2012 was no exception.
The 2012 Urban Futures survey was conducted using PlaceSpeak, an innovative web-based consultation platform developed by a Vancouver-based startup company. The use of this tool permitted the production of data on current regional public opinion in a format that allows longitudinal comparison of opinions over nearly 49 years. The presentation will highlight some of the significant and surprising findings from the data.
PlaceSpeak has emerged as a consultation tool at a time when traditional methods of public engagement are becoming contentious, expensive and unreliable. Because it builds up a user base of citizens interested in particular topics and/or particular geographic areas, PlaceSpeak has the potential to establish continuing interactive relationships between citizens and their local governments in a way that is convenient and respects privacy. Examples of practical applications will be provided in the presentation.
The presentation will conclude with observations about current challenges in public engagement and the opportunities offered by digital technology in responding to these challenges.