How GIS Achieves Civic Inclusion

Geographic information systems (GIS) — an online spatial tool for data collection, management and analysis that is rooted in geography— has been acknowledged as a foundational platform in building smart community strategies worldwide. Having a location-centered view about your community is critical to meeting the needs of residents, whether you’re making decisions about public transportation, designing a new stretch of roadway or deciding where to place public parks.

For example, communities that embrace GIS technology not only engage and collaborate with residents in transformative ways, but they can also express the value of what’s being done – through data – to support all citizens.

A location-centric Smart Community Information System provides a robust set of tools and apps that support more complete workflows of the projects you are working on. It includes:

  • Open data hubs to provide transparency and engage citizens in projects the community is working on.
  • Data that can be collected and tagged by location and combined with the data stored across your GIS and business systems.
  • Story maps to keep the public informed.
  • Public feedback tools that allow for comments with a context of where and what issues are being addressed.
  • Social equity performance dashboards that aid in goal-setting and resource allocation.

The technology mentioned above for achieving civic inclusion is designed to integrate with the other three tenets of the Smart Community Information System: planning and engineering, operational efficiency and data-driven performance. Let’s say a public transit agency is deciding whether to build a new transit station. Before moving forward with the project, there should be a clear understanding of the population that would be impacted by the project and whether it serves the needs of or increases ridership in certain neighborhoods. Demographic and lifestyle information can help you better understand where those who rely on public transit service live and where they work.

Furthermore, 3D modeling and planning tools can help you plan, design and review the proposed new station. Public information tools can also ensure the community is able to weigh in on the project.

Civic inclusion puts a human face on “smart.” It ensures that investments in planning and development, addressing humans in crisis or any other community-based initiative are focused on people

This blog post is an excerpt from our new report, Smart Communities Turn to GIS to Achieve Civic Inclusion 

To learn about why it’s important for communities to consider civic inclusion, download our full report here.

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