Last Friday, I gave my perspectives on two companies that provide civic engagement platforms to aid in community planning projects. This week I’m posting the responses I received from the following companies:
If you know of any other public/civic engagement platforms or resources you would like me to review, please leave comments. Once again, a huge “thank you” to the staff at these companies that were willing to provide honest answers to my questions!
Connected Bits (located out of Bedford, NH)
About, taken directly from their site:
Mobile is in our DNA. We have over a decade of experience implementing transformative mobile applications and services in an enterprise environment. Our proven technology has been used by hundreds of thousands of mobile users worldwide.
A company that uses the Spot Mobile platform for functional apps such as: Spot Reporters, Street Bump, and Spot Workforce. They have worked with cities around the U.S. and have had great success in Boston, MA through many pilot projects completed by the city. You can visit many cities’ platforms and profiles to find what apps they are using as part of their engagement strategy.
Can users post anonymously? Yes
Do users need an email address to post? No. responses can be communicated back anonymously via push messages an in-app updates.
Do users need to be affiliated or invited to post on the site, or is it just open to the public and anyone who finds it? Can we adjust this if need be? Open, but can be locked down to only registered users.
Will the Equity Team have the ability to customize it if so fitting? We are thinking of having different topics, under each topic having a few questions. Yes
We are also wondering if adding photos or videos would be an option for allowing people to write about/respond to, and not just relying on text. Is this doable? Photos are currently supported.
What are the volume/capacity limits of these sites (we hope to get between 300-500 graduate students to respond and want to make sure the site can handle this much traffic)? Current customers include the cities of Chicago, San Francisco, and Boston; thousands of unique users per day.
How much does creating a site begin at, and are their specializations that increase the price? Typical costs are $25k – $100k, depending on level of customization and integration.
coUrbanize (located out of Cambridge, MA)
About, taken directly from their site:
We started as a city planner, building technologist, and most importantly, as neighborhood residents. We saw first hand that the future of cities’ development faced two big hurdles.
First, most community members don’t have time to go to public meetings, but the future of our neighborhoods are decided at the meetings – what gets built and ultimately, for whom.
Second, the facts about projects are very difficult to understand, especially traffic studies and engineering reports. We wanted to transform the process to make it easy for more residents to learn about projects and understand the impact on their street.
At coUrbanize, our goal is to make project information accessible and help residents more easily participate in the development process so that everyone’s voice can be heard.
Our founding team met at MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning and was part of the TechStars Boston Spring 2013 class. coUrbanize is now headquartered in Cambridge, MA.
This company knows that developers and residents are two different audiences, and thus displays and communicates that information differently, which is very useful in today’s world often that is filled with planning or city official jargon. On city project sites, residents can find out about different projects ongoing throughout the city and the various meetings that are happening. Discussion forums between neighbors, as well as with the developers (unique) is easily accessible, along with general project information. Developers are able to send project updates and get real-time analytical data about site usage and quality conversations amongst the residents.
Can users post anonymously? No. Users are required to use real names.
Do users need an email address to post? Yes.
Do users need to be affiliated or invited to post on the site, or is it just open to the public and anyone who finds it? Can we adjust this if need be? Open to the public.
Will the Equity Team have the ability to customize it if so fitting? We are thinking of having different topics, under each topic having a few questions. We are also wondering if adding photos or videos would be an option for allowing people to write about/respond to, and not just relying on text. Is this doable? Yes.
What are the volume/capacity limits of these sites (we hope to get between 300-500 graduate students to respond and want to make sure the site can handle this much traffic)? The site can certainly handle that volume of users and high levels of information storage.