Water Journal : Water Journal September 2015
september 2015 water 39 Feature article barriers to engagement, due to the explicit governance by a group whose members were in a position of power relative to ordinary community members (Vlachokyriakos et al., 2014). Common findings across these previous studies indicate that it can be challenging to make members of the public aware of the engagement activity. Other issues are linked to the question of authenticity and ownership, which can lead to low participation rates. Successful strategies shown to increase participation rates are to: (1) link the consultation process with a public event; (2) locate the engagement interface within a staffed information kiosk; or (3) encourage representatives of the local community to take ownership of the engagement process. Interactive, situated digital technologies have the potential to facilitate effective community engagement by attracting varied demographics, fostering local discourse and augmenting decision- making processes. This approach deployed within public spaces provides citizens the option to participate on the spot, with little effort in comparison to attending traditional community engagement events. Digital technologies, such as tablets and urban screens, can be easily appropriated to engage citizens in public spaces. Gamification and virtual panoramas also allow communities and stakeholders to view the consultation in a 3D-style model that they can virtually experience at a time and place of their choice. Instead of attending a community engagement session in a set location and during set hours, they can instead view the information in their own time at home, waiting for the train, from a café etc. This approach significantly broadens the reach of water engagement and consultation programs. It can either replace or complement the more resource-intensive face-to-face approach. Communities and stakeholders are time poor. They access their information and entertainment via digital means. This is also their primary form of communication with colleagues, friends and family. In this new era of digitalisation, water authorities need to rethink their consultation and engagement approach. Water authorities that continue to use traditional consultation on its own will simply fail to engage and will be left behind. WJ rEfErEnCEs Hespanhol L, Tomitsch M, McArthur I, Fredericks J, Schroeter R & Foth M (2015): Vote As You Go: Blending Interfaces For Community Engagement Into The Urban Space. Submitted to Communities and Technologies Conference 2015. Koeman L, Kalnikaite V & Rogers Y (2015): Everyone Is Talking About It!: A Distributed Approach to Urban Voting Technology and Visualisations. In Proceedings CHI’15, ACM Press (2015). Schroeter R & Foth M (2009): Discussion in Space, In Kjeldskov, Jesper, Paay, Jeni & Viller, Stephen (Eds.) OZCHI 2009 Proceedings: Design: Open 24/7, ACM Digital Library, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, pp. 381–384. Vlachokyriakos V, Comber R, Ladha K, Taylor N, Dunphy P, McCorry P & Olivier P (2014): Postervote: Expanding the Action Repertoire for Local Political Activism. In Proceedings DIS’14, ACM Press (2014). thE authors Joel Fredericks (email: Joel.Fredericks@ aurecongroup.com) is a Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Consultant at Aurecon. He has extensive experience in managing challenging community engagement in telecommunications deployment and master planning infrastructure projects. Joel understands the unique pressures and priorities of urban planning and community engagement within the built environment. Kylie Cochrane (email Kylie.Cochrane@ aurecongroup.com) is a Technical Director for Communication and Stakeholder Engagement at Aurecon. She has extensive experience in managing challenging stakeholder and community engagement for key rail, road and water infrastructure projects, including Sydney’s Desalination Project. Digital technologies such as tablets are useful to engage the community in public areas.
Water Journal August 2015
Water Journal November 2015