Data-Based Civic Participation
Keywords:Crowdsourcing, Data-driven governemnt
Within the past five years, a new form of technology-mediated public participation that experiments with crowdsourced data production in place of community discourse has emerged. Examples of this class of system include SeeClickFix, PublicStuff, and Street Bump, each of which mediate feedback about local neighborhood issues and help communities mobilize resources to address those issues. The experiments being playing out by this new class of services are derived from a form of public participation built on the ideas of smart cities where residents and physical environments are instrumented to provide data to improve operational efficiency and sustainability (Caragliu, Del Bo, and Nijkamp 2011). Ultimately, smart cities is the application to local government all the efficiencies that computing has always promised—efficiencies of scale, of productivity, of data—minus the messiness and contention of citizenship that play out through more traditional modes of public engagement and political discourse. The question then, is what might it look like to incorporate more active forms of civic participation and issue advocacy in an app- and data-driven world?