Reflecting on “What Urban Planning Taught Me About Open Data” – Open Gov West Presentation

Last week, at the Open Gov West BC conference, I experienced the exhilaration and terror and joy that is an Ignite presentation. Never heard of it? An Ignite presentation involves giving a series of presenters (in OGWBC’s case, ten) 5 minutes each exactly with 20 self-advancing slides, which works out to 15 seconds per slide. It was my first time preparing and delivering such a presentation, and I’m delighted, despite a couple dicey, nervous moments during the run-up, that people expressed to me that they enjoyed the points I made.

Figuring out the meat of the presentation was surprisingly difficult. I’m grateful that after a lot of perkolating and with the help of a great friend, I was more able to hear what it was about my message resonated and what could be cut out without affecting what I wanted to say. However, the result is that the title is perhaps somewhat deceiving: it’s not so much about open data as it is about what I see as a possible future for open data — if we work to build it, often through relationship.

I was happy to incorporate what I understand of Judith Innes and David Booher’s framework of collaborative rationality into my talk. I’ve written about it here on my blog before and it picks up on a number of themes I want to incorporate into my own planning practice, such as storytelling, local knowledge, authentic dialogue, and multiple ways of knowing. It adds a rich layer of meaning to the questions around technology: if this is a process worth doing, how does social media or online collaboration enhance the experience of this (and how might it detract from it)?

I got some great feedback on it in person but I’d look forward to hearing any other thoughts others may have on it.

Links related to the content of my presentation

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  1. […] about the connection of open data and planning. It picks up a lot of the major points from my presentation at Open Gov West BC while expanding upon it with a few additional […]

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