Academic Leads: Dr. Lyn Bartram, School of Interactive Arts & Technology, SFU; Dr. John Robinson, Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability, UBC
Graduate Student Researchers: Susanna Haas-Lyons, MA Candidate, Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability, UBC; Karen Fung, MA Candidate, School of Community and Regional Planning
Channel Description: Social Media (Facebook, YouTube etc.) provides multiple contexts for information delivery and discussion. In the context of GCCP, social media provides a web of connectivity between other channels, helping to create traffic between channels and deepen the degree of engagement. Two key activities of this channel are (a) hosting a public engagement event within a social networking space, and, (b) tracking user-generated social media about GCCP engagement activities across face to face events and online engagement channels. The social media public engagement project relates to three GC2020 targets (over 50% of all trips will be made on foot, bike or transit, residents will drive 20% less than in 2007, reduce community-based greenhouse gas emissions by 33% from 2007 levels) and to the upcoming Transportation Plan Update.
Almost one million people in the Vancouver area are on Facebook, making this an important location for public engagement. Over five weeks, participants will convene in Facebook for (a) small group private discussions, followed by (b) a period of public sharing and voting for the best ideas that emerged from these discussions. This project draws on best practices in public engagement to convene a diverse group of Vancouverites in an online moderated discussion about challenging aspects of the Transportation Plan update.
After a series of meetings throughout Spring 2011, with the City of Vancouver’s Engineering Department, Communications Department, and Sustainability Department, the GCC Social Media research channel partnered with Engineering Department to hold an experimental public engagement event in May and June 2011 as a part of the City’s consultations on the Transportation Plan Update. A $5,000 cash grant request was formally granted by the City’s the Engineering Department in early June, 2011 to help fund research in this channel.
On May 31st, Exploring Vancouver’s Transportation Future went live on Facebook, with over 500 people registered. Event participants actively discussed the best and worst parts of commuting in Vancouver, explored key issues and action targets that influence transportation in Vancouver, and evaluated and discussed transportation strategies. Participants also proposed strategies for the City to feature in the Transportation Plan. This event ended on June 28th, while a public phase commenced on June 21st. Our research team is monitoring the on-line conversation related to transportation policy.