New Open-Source Tool for Mapping Community Needs

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With the Shareabouts platform – an open source tool for collecting ideas from the public on an intuitive, user-friendly map – residents in New York City and Long Beach have the opportunity to propose PB project ideas online.

At PBP, we believe that digital technology, like Shareabouts, can complement face-to-face meetings, reduce administrative burdens on process organizers, and if used strategically, increase participation of traditionally marginalized groups, like youth, immigrants, the formerly incarcerated, and non-English speakers.

We are proud to work with our partners at OpenPlans, a nonprofit dedicated to creating tools for better collaboration between planners and the public, to achieve these goals.

Shareabouts for PBNYC

Last year, during NYC’s third year of PB (2013-14), OpenPlans provided Shareabouts pro-bono to the process. Here is what we learned:

  • Shareabouts works great on mobile and tablet browsers. This means, organizers can take idea collection to the streets, to food banks, and to street festivals to collect ideas during outreach from hard-to-reach communities — without the hassle of data entry.
  • Process organizers can enter ideas from in-person events and add updates to ideas as they are considered through the PB process.

Improving the Platformidead.pblb

Open Plans is making more changes to make Shareabouts even more useful for PB, including:

  • text messages for submissions,
  • better integration with in-person meetings, and
  • a data explorer interface for PB delegates to view approved projects and other community data.

Read their full roadmap for “Extending participatory budgeting with open source engagement tools.”

How you can get involved

If you’re interested in supporting or collaborating with OpenPlans to develop more of their Shareabouts PB roadmap (remember, it’s open source!), contact OpenPlans at hello@openplans.org.

We’re excited to have Shareabouts amongst a host of thoughtful, open-source tools available to cities to support PB processes. To learn more about how to support PB with tech, contact aseem@participatorybudgeting.org.

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