The City of Los Angeles Department of Planning and Department of Transportation held a first-ever public online participation webinar Thursday, July 20, 2010. The city used the opportunity to experiment with web conferencing technology, and will survey participants after the event to evaluate the success of the experiment.
A webinar is a web conference, where participants can access a virtual meeting using a computer, and Internet connection. Participants access a website to see the presenter's computer screen, and also listen to the presenter through the computer's speakers, or using a telephone.
Last year I had the opportunity to teach a graduate course on "Web 2.0 for Policy and Planning" at the University of Southern California's School of Policy, Planning & Development.
Although I am co-teaching a different class this year, I have updated my course website with a revised course syllabus and extensive reading list on Web 2.0 and planning, based on what I learned from teaching the course in Spring, 2009.
I had the opportuntity, at the 2009 national planning conference in Minneapolis, to present (together with my colleague Christian Peralta Madera) ten free web applications that can be used to support planning.
Approximately 350 participants attended the session. Since the presentation, I've received over 100 emails congratulating us on the practical nature of the presentation, and requesting links to the websites we presented. Since our presentation was a hands-on demonstration, this blog entry outlines the ten technologies, and provides links to examples of the technology in practice and resources so you can experiment with the technologies.
What can we as planners learn from president-elect Barak Obama's use of technology?
President-elect Obama has been an early adopter of Web 2.0 technologies both in his campaign and the transition to the White House. It is likely that the Obama administration will continue to use Web 2.0 technologies to both engage the public in determining policies and to make government operations more transparent.
As planners, there are a lot of great tools and techniques that we can use in the planning processes. Here are some of the tools that the Obama team have used that could be used in planning.