How Small Communities Use PlaceSpeak for Citizen Engagement
How can PlaceSpeak complement traditional forms of citizen engagement in smaller towns or municipalities? As we continue to grow in small communities across Canada, the United States, and Australia, we find innovative uses of PlaceSpeak ranging from consulting on feral cat management to determining the look of a new public library.
In many tight-knit, rural communities, PlaceSpeak’s suite of features helps to enhance and support conversations that may already be happening locally. Through polls, surveys, interactive mapping and more, great ideas from citizens are transformed into legitimate, defensible data which can be used in the decision-making process.
Elkhart County, IN is one such example. County Commissioner Mike Yoder uses PlaceSpeak to host polls and discussions on topics of local interest, ranging from open burning in residential areas to Amish buggies on county roads. The technique has been so effective at engaging local residents that Yoder is committing to using PlaceSpeak on an ongoing basis as part of his re-election campaign.
As many small towns or municipalities may not have extensive resources for advertising or promoting public consultations, Yoder has shown that all it takes is a laptop with a webcam. He records videos of himself talking about local issues, and encourages residents to engage with the conversation online.
“In well-run communities local government services are accessible, transparent and participating in the policy-making process should be as easy as posting an opinion on social media,” said Yoder. “PlaceSpeak provides communities the opportunity to quickly and easily authenticate people and then engage them in community related decisions. I believe this cost effective tool may be the key to finally achieving higher levels of participation in our local government decision processes.”
Yoder’s proactive approach to citizen engagement sees him join a growing number of local government officials who see the need for legitimate consultation at all levels. The ongoing adoption of PlaceSpeak further emphasizes a commitment from local governments in providing citizens with a transparent, clear and consistent way to have their say in public policy.
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To get started with your online public consultation, visit placespeak.com.