The effectiveness of crowdsourcing public participation in a planning context

Daren C. Brabham


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.


crowdsourcing; public participation; deliberative democracy; public administration; Internet

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