Civinomics lets people vote on the issues they read about, listen to, or watch on the news, closing the gap between media consumption and civic participation. For online content, this is accomplished with an embedded polling unit that functions the same way online ad-units do – displaying a relevant proposal for voting based on keywords on the page. For other content, such as print newspapers, radio or cable television, Civinomics’ mobile app creates an easy link between news and related polls. For example, while watching the State of the Union address on CNN, a user could use the Civinomics app to go to CNN’s page where the polls related to the state of the union would be available.
Unlike existing news polls that often run only on one channel (e.g. a Fox news poll) leading to bias, Civinomics polling network sources responses from a wide range of content publishers. This leads to a robust data set that can be further analyzed using cohort analysis.
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is undertaking the multi-billion-dollar Sewer System Improvement Program (SSIP) to modernize the city’s infrastructure and ensure the system functions in the event of a major earthquake. These improvements require construction in every neighborhood of the city ...more as well as significant rate increases for residents. A substantial amount of public input is required before and during the project, however it has proven historically difficult to get the public to attend in-person forums and workshops.
Using an iPad-based, online questionnaire, Civinomics conducted a massive point-in-time survey of city residents. The survey provided respondents with an overview of the SSIP and gauged support for its different elements. Respondents were asked to rate the different types of green infrastructure options, indicate on a map interface where in their community they would like a project to go in, and select which types of general neighborhood improvements they would like to see more of in their community (bicycle-friendly infrastructure, pedestrian safety enhancements, increased open space, etc).
Civinomics interviewed a statistically representative sample of 400 residents in each of San Francisco’s eight watersheds, 3,200 interviews total. Additionally, 35% of the interviews were conducted in Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese, as well as traditionally under-served neighborhoods like Sunnydale and Bayview-Hunters Point, to ensure adequate representation. As a result, the SFPUC was able to identify the highest need areas and prioritize project implementation in every neighborhood.
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) has a goal to provide four million gallons per day of recycled water to the City of San Francisco. In order to reach this goal it is building three new recycled water facilities, including one serving the City’s downtown, or ‘Eastside.’ Before selecting a ...more location for the Eastside facility, the SFPUC needed to collect substantial public input. However, it has proven extremely difficult to get the public to show up to in-person forums and workshops.
In early 2012, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission hired Civinomics as public outreach consultants. Civinomics interviewed over 900 residents of the city, conducting an outreach campaign with specific goals for each zip code within the service area, and demographic representation. Interviews were conducted via interactive tablet presentations, with each respondent being presented with a multimedia explanation of the city’s water infrastructure and then a virtual tour of each of the potential sites. Respondents were able to rate each site based on their opinion of the impact on nearby residents, the surrounding environment, and opportunities for recreational offerings.
Civinomics staff tabled at schools, churches, and community centers, as well as canvassed door-to-door to collect responses from the public. Unlike previous outreach efforts, the tablet-based interview technique proved successful in obtaining substantial input, including from traditionally underrepresented communities such as from the Bayview Hunters Point region of the city.
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has put construction of the Eastside facility on hold to allow for better coordination with their Sewer System Improvement Program. However the data collected proved instrumental in allowing the SFPUC to understand which sites and amenities San Francisco residents would most likely support.
Santa Cruz Alternative Water Supply Public Engagement
Ensuring a sustainable supply of water has been a longstanding challenge in the City of Santa Cruz. For years the city has considered building a desalination facility, however this option has drawn the sharp rebuke from many residents because of its major environmental impacts.
In an effort to broaden the water ...more debate, Civinomics partnered with the Santa Cruz Water Department in the fall of 2014 to create a customized online crowdsourcing workshop to solicit water supply proposals from members of the public. The workshop received 56 fully fledged submissions and saw more than 2,000 unique visitors to the site. A total of 462 comments were made among the proposals, representing a dramatic boost in engagement over previous efforts. In addition, Civinomics and the Water Department produced a day-long conference where anyone could come and learn about the proposals directly from the authors. More than 400 residents attended, and Civinomics created an interactive tablet-based exit survey to gauge attendants’ impressions of the event.
This primary round of outreach complete, Civinomics will work with the proposal authors and the water department to continue engagement around water solutions. Authors will be encouraged to refine their proposals and collaborate with each other other if their ideas are similar. The submissions that receive the most interest will be featured in a second round of public evaluation. Afterwards Civinomics will report to the City Council and make recommendations for policies to pursue.
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