At the most recent National Planning Conference in Seattle, it seemed that the number of booths in the exhibit hall for online engagement tools and apps rivaled or exceeded that of booths for full-service planning consultants. Hard to say whether this was circumstantial or a sign of the times but it is very clear that innovation and competition in engagement tools is happening at a very rapid pace. The field has become crowded quite quickly and many of the apps or tools offer similar services. Below you will find information on the various tools exhibited in Seattle as described on their respective websites. One thing is certain if you’re developing a new online tool or app, the name may not include any spaces!
1) PlaceSpeak: “a location-based consultation utility. Claim your place. Speak your mind. Influence the outcome.”
2) CoUrbanize: “a civic engagement platform for urban development projects. Residents use coUrbanize to learn about real estate and planning projects and share their input. Real estate developers, project planners, and municipalities list projects on coUrbanize to share information and gather broader resident feedback to supplement the in-person meeting process.”
3) mySidewalk: “Share Your Ideas. Shape Your Community.”
4) sMap: “sMap is a fun and engaging on-line tool that allows individuals to create maps of the issues and opportunities facing their communities. sMap allows thousands of points of interest to be identified, categorized, and mapped.”
5) Buildingeye: “Buildingeye’s Citizen Platform specializes in GIS and data visualization, providing an easy to use interface for citizens to access building permits, planning applications, code enforcement, capital projects, public events, business licenses and other civic activities 24 hours a day.”
6) MetroQuest: “Engage thousands. Gain Insight. Build Community Support.”