The effectiveness of crowdsourcing public participation in a planning context

  • Daren C. Brabham University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Keywords: crowdsourcing, public participation, deliberative democracy, public administration, Internet

Abstract

Governments increasingly turn to the Internet to facilitate public participation activities, part of a recent push toward transparency, accountability, and citizen involvement in decision-making. These activities take many forms, and one specific form, the crowdsourcing model, is examined here for its effectiveness as a public participation method. In 2009, the Next Stop Design project was launched to test the crowdsourcing model in an online public participation experiment for bus stop shelter design. Drawing on the ideals of online democratic deliberation, 23 Next Stop Design participants were interviewed via instant messenger for their perceptions of the project as an effective public participation activity. Findings suggest that crowdsourcing is a promising online public participation method that may complement off–line methods.

Author Biography

Daren C. Brabham, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Daren C. Brabham, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he teaches and conducts research on public relations and new media. Among the first to publish research on crowdsourcing, his work has appeared in Convergence; First Monday; Planning Theory; Information, Communication & Society; Journal of Applied Communication Research; and The Participatory Cultures Handbook. His book, "Crowdsourcing," will be published by MIT Press in spring 2013.
Published
2012-11-28
How to Cite
Brabham, D. C. (2012). The effectiveness of crowdsourcing public participation in a planning context. First Monday, 17(12). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v17i12.4225