Farina et al.: Democratic Deliberation in the Wild: The McGill Online Design Studio and the RegulationRoom Project

Cynthia Farina, Hoi Kong, Cheryl Blake, Mary Newhart, and Nik Luka have published Democratic Deliberation in the Wild: The McGill Online Design Studio and the RegulationRoom Project, Fordham Urban Law Journal, 41, 1527-1580 (2014).

The full text appears to be available from commercial vendors.

Here are excerpts from the introduction:

[…] Here we describe two projects, both being conducted by university researchers, that use innovative technological tools to motivate and support broader, better citizen engagement in government decision making. One is a digitally-mediated community-based urban design studio. […] A collaboration among law and urban planning faculty of McGill University and a Montréal community organization, this project aims to involve area residents in the redevelopment of a forty-five acre post-industrial site in Montréal’s midtown Bellechasse sector. […] The second is RegulationRoom.org, an online website that supports informed public participation in the process of making government regulations (rulemaking). […]

[…] the projects […] aim to discover how the digitally empowered citizen-participant can be meaningfully engaged through processes designed to prime deliberative discussion and knowledge production, rather than mere voting and venting.

The Article proceeds as follows: Part I discusses the problematic yet promising relationship between the theory of deliberative democracy and the practice of public participation in government decision making. Part II gives an overview of the MODS Bellechasse project and the RegulationRoom project, and then focuses on how each project uses technology and human effort to lower the principal barriers to broader, better public participation. Part III discusses lessons learned from the projects and identifies challenges that remain. […]

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