Can Technology Help Involve More Low-Income Residents in the Planning Process?

Louisville will be the testing ground for an initiative that seeks to develop technologies to increase the engagement between low-income city residents and their local governments.
February 22, 2013, 7am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Arthur Burris, Director of Policy and Special Initiatives with Living Cities, describes a technology initiative being developed by OpenPlans to engage a broad cross-section of Louisville residents, including low-income millennials, in the creation of a 25-year vision plan for the city.

"We believe that the issue of planning is particularly ripe for civic tech innovation, as the growing number of civic apps in this space attests," explains Burris. "Furthermore, city plans can attract public attention and, potentially, form the basis for more sustained interaction between cities and city residents."

"In practice, unfortunately, cities often struggle to engage productively and systematically with their low-income residents around these plans. Many traditional mechanisms for engagement around planning (e.g., planning meetings) tend to reach small numbers of people who are not representative of low-income communities as a whole. Despite the recent growth of civic apps focused on planning, we’re still far from having a full set of tech tools that supports engagement in a truly systematic way."

The "tech solution" being developed for this project is meant to be “portable” to other cities. We'll keep you updated as to what they come up with.

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Published on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 in Living Cities
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