June 04 2012

5 Social Media Tips For Increasing Public Participation in Urban Planning

social media

The importance of social media, in our daily lives, is increasing day-by-day. We shop from websites, which our friends have recommended from Twitter, instead of going to the shopping mall. We schedule our social life according to events which are highly advertised or shared on Facebook. And we talk to our friends via messengers, instead of by phone. Although companies have discovered the power of social networks, the Internet has infinite possibilities. In this infinite environment, utilizing social networks to detect ones company, create interest, and increase traffic, is necessary.

Social networks not only provide opportunities to increase awareness of ones company, they also provide a place to interact with customers; also allowing customers to interact with each other. The more you interact with customers, the more brand loyalty you build. If we discuss it as a urban planning point of view, social media can be used to help create a sense of place and belonging within a community by becoming a decision-maker. Also you can easily connect with other people within the community and get news in real-time. For instance, Yenimahalle Municipality in Ankara, Turkey added Facebook and Twitter accounts to their web-page and  now members of the community can share their ideas, make comments, provide feedback, and learn more about the district.

Here are 5 ways to increase urban planning public participation with social media:

  • Crowdsourcing

According to wikipedia, crowdsourcing is a distributed problem-solving and production model. Problems are broadcast to an unknown group of solvers which use internet or social media and have specific information about the problem, in the form of an open call for solutions. Users typically form into online communities, and the crowd submits solutions. The crowd also sorts through the solutions, finding the best ones. The basic idea is to use the collective intelligence of the public by creating a poll, contest, or voting.

  • An Online Presence

Social media monitoring and commenting is the way you can get involved in conversations that relate to you. You can discuss and share your opinions via Facebook or Twitter for your district or get involved in the solution or decision-making process by commenting.

Search Engine Optimization is a technique which helps search engines find and rank your site higher than the millions of other sites in response to a search query. SEO thus helps you get traffic from search engines.

  • Web Widgets

It’s a small application that can be installed and executed within a web page by an end user.
You can add small icons (widgets) to your desktop so you can get information easily without searching the Internet. Maps and transportation info links are some examples of widget.

  • Blog Trackbacks

Blog trackbacks are difficult to attain, but they create more awareness. A trackback is a method for website authors to request notification when somebody links to one of their documents. This enables authors to keep track of who is linking to their articles.

The 21st Century is the technology, speed, and Internet era.  People live ‘online’ and sometimes virtual connections are more important and satisfying than real life. To design and plan for the community, you should pay attention to the users and learn about their opinions in order to create better environments.

In your district or town, does the government gather your opinion via social media, for new urban planning ideas?

Credits: Image and data linked to sources.

Selin Mutdoğan

Selin Mutdoğan holds a PhD degree in interior architecture and environmental design from Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey. Her dissertation was focused on sustainable residential interiors and research containing not only cases from Turkey, but also well-known green bulding certification systems used worldwide. She currently works at the same university as a full-time instructor. She is strongly concerned about sustainability, within all dimensions.

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This entry was posted on Monday, June 4th, 2012 at 12:30 pm and is filed under Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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