on GCC’s Facebook Transportation Discussion

Vancouver’s lifestyle and entertainment weekly newspaper, the Georgia Straight, published an online article about Greenest City Conversation’s newest research project – a Facebook based public conversation about the City of Vancouver’s Transportation Plan.

Stephen Hui, web editor and technology editor at the Georgia Straight, interviewed researcher Susanna Haas Lyons about the project. 

Here’s the first part, or read the whole article here.

City of Vancouver turns to Facebook app for public input on transportation plans

By Stephen Hui, May 20, 2011

The City of Vancouver is giving residents and commuters the opportunity to share their ideas on transportation planning—on Facebook.

People aged 18 and older can sign up to participate by registering with the Exploring Vancouver’s Transportation Future app by May 31.

The Facebook app is a partnership between city hall and Greenest City Conversations, a research project based at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University.

Susanna Haas Lyons, a UBC master’s student who’s the co-investigator for the project, told the Straight the app—built by Washington, D.C.-based Fission Strategy—is probably the first of its kind in the world.

Haas Lyons noted Facebook offers an ideal platform for public consultation because people already spend a lot of time on the social-networking website, even if much of that time might be devoted to looking at pictures of friends and funny stuff.

“What we’re trying to do is create opportunities for civic space in Facebook, where you can spend some time laughing and connecting but also spend a little bit of time learning about the issues in your community and having a chance to influence the policy that affects your life,” she said by Internet phone from her home in Vancouver.

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