Tuesday 24 April 2018

Towards An Engaged Public


A passive and ignorant citizenry will never create a sustainable world.” - Andrew Gaines (Creativity trainer, sustainability philosopher)

In a former (American) life I worked for the Transport Commissioner of Portland, Oregon. Portland, like most municipalities in America is haemorrhaging money as local tax receipts and federal government support falter. The transport authority in the Portland area (known as Tri-Met) is facing a $12-$17 million shortfall in next year’s budget and has set-up a website to explain why there’s a shortfall, how similar agencies are handling similar problems, and then lets you “choose your own adventure” on how to cover the gap. The website lets you play with different options to make up the difference (e.g. increase fares, reduce service levels, sell ads, etc) and submit your ideas to policymakers. This sort of “empowered interactivity” is a great step toward the development of a true public engagement campaign (a conversation that ACTUALLY goes both ways) rather than a simple public education campaign.

Whilst Portland is somewhat of an oddity in America (it has a highly-engaged, well-read citizenry compared to other cities,) I’m most curious what the agency does with the data they collect.

Take a look…



-David Gonzalez

David is the Events Director and Chief of Staff of Edelman Melbourne. He can be reached at david.gonzalez@edelman.com or at 03 9944 7622.

  • Adam Hunt

    Great blog post David.