Reflections on deploying distributed consultation technologies with community organisations

Ian Johnson, John Vines, Nick Taylor, Ed Jenkins, Justin Marshall

In recent years there has been an increased focus upon developing platforms for community decision-making, and an awareness of the importance of handing over civic platforms to community organisations to oversee the process of decision-making at a local level. In this paper, we detail fieldwork from working with two community organisations who used our distributed situated devices as part of consultation processes. We focus on some of the mundane and often-untold aspects of this type of work: how questions for consultations were formed, how locations for devices were determined, and the ways in which the data collected fed into decision-making processes. We highlight a number of challenges for HCI and civic technology research going forward, related to the role of the researcher, the messiness of decision making in communities, and the ability of community organisations to influence how citizens participate in democratic processes.

Author: Open Lab

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