Urban Interactive Studio recently supported the City of Memphis in engagement efforts related to the redevelopment of the iconic Fairgrounds site. The city set a high bar for public participation to ensure that all voices were heard in the process of identifying how the space should be used going forward.
Election nights are among the most hectic at any news outlet–even more so when the outlet has only two reporters. But Ann Arbor Chronicle publishers Mary Morgan and Dave Askins solved that problem by turning election reporting into a community game–and now they want to do the same with a variety of civic activities.
It’s a way of looking at data that makes turns a statistic you might have flipped past in a book or skimmed by on a web page into something that you can’t forget. It’s a visceral reminder of the power of images and the power of looking at dry numbers in human terms.
For Mike Evans, the map below was a holy shit visualization. Properties in yellow are in tax distress. Those in orange are under tax foreclosure. Those in red have been foreclosed.
In 2014, 50% of properties in the city of Detroit were in danger of foreclosure, being foreclosed, or owned by the city. That’s a frightening statistic. But seeing what it looks like on the map makes the scale of the problem more visceral.
Quite a while ago, drawing mainly from the literature on tax morale, I posted about the evidence on the relationship between citizen engagement and tax revenues, in which participatory processes lead to increased tax compliance (as a side note, I’m still surprised how those working with citizen engagement are unaware of this evidence).
Until very recently this evidence was based on observational studies, both qualitative and quantitative. Now we have – to my knowledge – the first experimental evidence that links citizen participation and tax compliance.
If you own a business, you probably want to know how many people walk into your stores. If you’re a city, you may want to know how many people use a given sidewalk or drive down a certain street. You could measure all of this with some basic sensors or WiFi pinging, but that’s either not very accurate or difficult to install. New York-based Placemeter, which is coming out of beta today, uses computer vision to track both pedestrian and vehicle traffic (including motorcycles and bicycles).