How two tech startups are boosting public engagement in community planning

A partnership between two startup tech companies is helping local governments provide new digital options for public engagement in what are often opaque processes for community planning.

The two companies, CitizenLab and Konveio, were introduced to one another through the CivStart tech startup accelerator program last year. Now hundreds of local governments use their software to reach more residents — CitizenLab claims more than 500 local governments across 18 countries use its software for community planning, such as transportation projects and how to use federal funding…

The CitizenLab and Konveio partnership allows local governments recreate digitally some elements of their in-person planning processes. Local government meetings often include a high-level overviews of the documents on poster boards, PowerPoint presentations and Q&A sessions. Busy people who can’t attend in-person meetings can access presentations and other documents on CitizenLab. Uploads can include margin notes, highlighting key points and insights and public comments can be left directly on the documents as annotations. Residents can also respond to polls about the materials.

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