Public Participation

October 15, 2009, 10am PDT
New communication and interaction technologies are dramatically changing the way the public understands and participates in government. The emerging openness of data and information at the city level is broadening the urban policy conversation, but challenges and questions lie ahead as the open city develops.
Nate Berg
October 7, 2009, 8am PDT
Residents of the city of Penjaringan in North Jakarta brought a proposal to the government to convert the area underneath a toll road into a public space.
The Jakarta Post
October 3, 2009, 9am PDT
The Municipal Art Society of New York talks with four young people who are actively involved in addressing the planning challenges facing their communities.
Municipal Art Society
September 29, 2009, 8am PDT
A third-grader in Missoula, Montana has successfully rallied her city to build a new bike lane near her busy street.
The Missoulian
August 30, 2009, 1pm PDT
The health care reform town halls are just the latest evidence that traditional forms of public engagement are no longer effective and in fact can be counterproductive, writes Sandy Heierbacher.
Yes! Magazine
August 21, 2009, 8am PDT
Transportation officials in Chicago are enlisting the ideas of area residents as they attempt to draft a plan that will guide development and transportation in the region through 2040.
Chicago Tribune
August 17, 2009, 12pm PDT
GOOD Magazine follows planner James Rojas as he engages a community in the act of planning in his own particular fashion, using everyday objects and building blocks.
GOOD Magazine
August 14, 2009, 11am PDT
Changing technologies and erratic political schedules are altering the way the public interacts with elected officials. For some politicians, the new form of public participation can get them into trouble.
The New York Times
Blog post
August 5, 2009, 6pm PDT

Urban planning is one of those things people don't realize they can relate to. Everybody understands cities, so why can't they understand how they are planned? Well, there's really no reason. Urban planners -- steeped in the inner workings of the urban world -- probably aren't the best to try to communicate this idea. So bring in the artists.

Nate Berg
July 8, 2009, 7am PDT
A new application for iPhones seeks to make it easier for Boston residents to report minor nuisances like potholes and busted street lights.
The Boston Globe
Blog post
May 27, 2009, 12pm PDT

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.

Chris Steins
May 18, 2009, 7am PDT
Neal Peirce looks at a broad citizen outreach program in Montgomery County, Maryland, engages its growing immigrant population by actually interacting with them face-to-face.
May 16, 2009, 9am PDT
Beth Noveck, deputy director for Open Government in the Obama Administration, talks about dealing with the noise of online collaboration and how to make social networks functional for civic participation.
Government Techonlogy
April 28, 2009, 10am PDT
Linden Labs, creator of Second Life, has awarded a Linden Prize to Studio Wikitecture for their WikiTree project. The online collaboration uses the virtual world "to harness a groups collective intelligence in designing architecture."
Linden Lab
April 3, 2009, 7am PDT
Portland's Metro authority is mapping out the region's transit plans for the next 30 years, and the public is getting involved.
The Oregonian
March 5, 2009, 2pm PST
With severe budget shortfalls, Philadelphia has turned to its citizens to see where the city should make cuts and what citizens are willing to pay to save.
February 1, 2009, 1pm PST
Mark Gorton, creator of Limewire started developing his GeoServer software in 1999. Recently Portland adopted the software to plan bus routes. Gorton wants to foster a new revolution in participatory planning.
Wired Blogs
Blog post
November 24, 2008, 12am PST

Getting people to understand the intricacies of planning can be a challenge. The modern-day emphasis on public participation is an effort to get people involved, but it's frankly not too appealing for most people to attend public hearings about zoning amendments and setback changes. But those zoning amendments and setback changes could be pretty important. Planners need to try harder to connect with the people their work affects to explain its importance. It's time to break from convention. One possible way is dancing.

Nate Berg
November 19, 2008, 1pm PST
Views are already beginning to clash as the California high-speed rail project begins its development process. But until environmental and design reports are available, many questions are to be left unanswered.
Palo Alto Daily News
October 6, 2008, 11am PDT
Bert Sperling, who has earned recognition for his lists of "Best Places," responds to questions posed by the readers of the Freakonomics blog.
Freakonomics (Opinion) on The New York Times