Crowdsourcing in Government: the Next Stop Design Bus in Utah

Via Henry Jenkins.

Daren C. Brabham:

” Next Stop Design asks the crowd to design a bus stop for Salt Lake City, Utah. With Thomas W. Sanchez and a team of researchers from the University of Utah, we’re working in cooperation with the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) and funded by a grant from the U.S. Federal Transit Administration. On the Next Stop Design Web site, you can register for free, submit your own bus stop designs and ideas, and rate and comment on the designs of others. Launched on June 5, 2009, the project runs through September 25, 2009, and the highest rated designs will be considered for actual construction at a major bus transfer stop in Salt Lake City. Winning designs will be publicly acknowledged and included on a plaque affixed to the built bus stop.

Traditional public participation methods, such as town hall meetings and design charrettes, often involve relatively few voices in the decision-making process. The goal with Next Stop Design–as with all crowdsourced governing projects–is to draw in more voices by taking the process online. And though the realities of the so-called “digital divide” persist with any online process, crowdsourcing may still bring in a more diverse set of viewpoints than typically exists at town hall meetings. Finally, broadcasting the process online may attract innovative ideas from everyday Web users that might not have ever appeared in local face-to-face processes or among even large panels of experts.

There is much potential for crowdsourcing in government, certainly as one of an array of social media methods quickly being embraced by all levels of government.”

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