One comment on “Are Your Public Spaces Deterring Community Engagement?

  • Well said! What you describe is reminiscent of a scene from Get Shorty, where Chili Palmer adjusts window blinds so the light shines in his adversary’s eyes. In this case, the act is deliberate and intentional. Of course, our governments do not attempt to obfuscate or blind us to the truth, but there is an inevitability to it all when one is put in a room structured for more of an interrogation than an engagement. Roundtables help break down the barriers. So do events coordinated in coffee shops and the like. But you’ll never be more comfortable and more at ease providing feedback than in the comfort of your own home, surrounded by that which is familiar to you. While face-to-face does provide an opportunity to secure deep understanding of a particular citizen viewpoint, I also believe online is starting to narrow the gap. People who engage online aren’t as reluctant anymore to provide detailed insights. Given the right online tools, the opportunity to engage and flesh out meaningful and relevant feedback can be successfully accomplished using online citizen engagement. This can also be used as a catalyst for further face-to-face elaboration, and vice versa.

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