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Citizen Science in Urban Planning
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Citizen Science in Urban Planning

Citizen Science in Urban Planning

36 min
Credit: AICP CM

This course is approved for .5 AICP CM credit

Citizen science is a branch of crowdsourcing enabled by technology and citizens that are willing to act as amateur scientists. Citizen science has been around for over 100 years but has been increasingly utilized along with the proliferation of easily accessible technology and groups looking for creative solutions to some of societies biggest challenges. As a result, citizen science is an opportunity for citizens and planners to work together to understand what is happening in cities in ways that are collaborative, cost-efficient, and creative. The purpose of this course is to introduce planners to citizen science and how citizen science can play a meaningful role in urban planning.

In This Course

  1. Citizen science is an innovative, multilayered approach to research and discovery that can aid in positive benefits for individuals, communities, businesses, and local government. This chapter provides a course overview; it describes the purpose of this course and learning objectives.
  2. What is Citizen Science?
    A form of crowdsourcing, citizen science is a collection of interested individuals utilizing their time, talent, and skills to generate ideas, collect data, analyze data, and solve problems. This chapter describes citizen science, provides a brief history, and explains how it has been utilized.
  3. Crowd Mapping
    Crowd-generated inputs on a map can be done on a variety of topics including accessibility, natural disasters, environmental damage, blight documenting, crime, elections, and humanitarian crises. Crowd mapping can create detailed maps in ways a single entity cannot. This chapter will focus on crowd mapping and its uses.
  4. Crowd Problem Solving
    Crowd problem solving involves individuals and groups giving feedback, working through problems or tasks, and executing goals to find solutions for complex problems. This chapter will focus on crowd problem solving and its uses.
  5. Crowd Monitoring
    Crowd or participatory monitoring is the collection of various forms of data that allow for the monitoring of systems such as traffic flows, natural resources, and biodiversity. This chapter will focus on crowd or participatory monitoring and its uses.
  6. Benefits of Citizen Science
    Citizen science can be an effective approach to citizen engagement and empowerment. It can also aid organizations in reaching their goals in new and innovative ways. This chapter discusses several other benefits of citizen science.
  7. Citizen Science in Urban Planning
    While we know crowdsourcing and citizen science are novel and innovative methods to solving challenges, its value to urban planning might not be so obvious. This chapter discusses the benefits of citizen science, most specifically to community members and urban planners.
  8. The Challenge of Citizen Science
    In this chapter, we will discuss the challenges associated with citizen science, such as data quality, a few dominant participants, access to technology, and problems with marshaling a crowd.
  9. Overcoming the Challenges
    The challenges facing citizen science are significant; however, they are not insurmountable. This chapter will discuss methods of mitigating these challenges and turning them into advantages in your citizen science project.
  10. Getting Started
    In this chapter, we will focus on several ways to get started on a citizen science project.

Published 2017