The Textizen Blog

Category: feedback

MAR 31 2015

City of Reno Opens Dialogue on Virginia Lake Improvement Project

Virginia Lake

Photo by Alana Reid. Used with permission.

An oasis in the middle of the city, Reno’s Virginia Lake is a popular place for strolling, picnicking, and observing the abundant waterfowl. But in recent years, the lake has suffered from declining water quality and overgrowth of algae.

In the summer of 2014, Reno’s Public Works department decided it was time to act. The City of Reno embarked on a water quality study to identify contributing factors, and potential solutions. They invited the public to weigh in on four options related to the condition of the lake.

To include a broad range of voices in this discussion, Reno deployed a Textizen survey and promoted it through social media, newspapers, the City’s e-newsletter, and flyers posted around town. The survey offered the chance to vote on the proposed options, as well as share favorite lakeside activities and where in Reno (or outside the city) the respondents live.

“People who couldn’t make it to the public meetings were thrilled that they could still make their voices heard. We were amazed at how citizens responded to being included in the process.

-Monica Thompson
Digital Engagement Program Manager, City of Reno

It seemed like a lively, but fairly typical, public feedback effort. But as the Textizen survey brought more people into the process, and word-of-mouth spread, something interesting happened.

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FEB 04 2015

Real-Time Feedback Guides Construction in Palo Alto

Palo Alto construction site

Home to parts of Stanford University as well as several high-tech companies, Palo Alto, California prides itself on being a hub of innovation. In this same spirit, Palo Alto’s city government strives toward greater efficiency and better public service through technology.

One of the areas Palo Alto initially targeted for technological improvement was construction permitting and inspection. Long waits and laborious back-and-forth with multiple city departments were frustrating and expensive for developers, business owners, and architects. Palo Alto’s upgraded Development Services office was created to address these issues, establishing a single office for all construction-related processes. Developers and architects were relieved.

However, construction often affects the lives of nearby residents and commuters as well, so Palo Alto Development Services also wanted to ensure that citizens could easily provide feedback about construction projects. They launched a pilot program using a Textizen prompt on signs at construction sites, allowing passersby to learn more about and offer feedback on the project

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