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Civic Technology and Community Science: building a model for public participation in environmental decision-making processes

Civic Technology and Community Science: building a model for public participation in environmental decision-making processes

with Berkman Fellow, Shannon Dosemagen

Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard
23 Everett Street, Second Floor, Cambridge, MA  02138

Public Lab is an open community developing and using civic technologies to support the pursuance of community-defined questions and concerns. Public Lab introduces a model that incorporates open source R&D practices including transparent collaboration and iterative design, along with deliberative democratic governance, and practitioner empowerment through critical making. Community science can enable people to collect, interpret, and apply their own data to effect local change or participate in broader environmental research and decision-making.

We’ve conceptualized a tiered approach to project development, delineated by the scope of community objectives and the role of science in achieving those objectives. Examples of Public Lab projects from each tier demonstrate the versatility of community science, and the potential opportunity for it to facilitate public participation in environmental decision-making on multiple levels. In this session, we’ll discuss how participatory online communities can strategically support hyper-local goals and help to scale the ability for replicable change in how the public engages with decision-making processes.

About Shannon

A founder of Public Lab, Shannon is based in New Orleans and Cambridge (MA) as Executive Director of the non-profit. With a background in community organizing and education, Shannon has worked with environment and public health groups across the United States addressing declining freshwater resources, coastal land loss and building participatory monitoring programs with communities neighboring industrial oil facilities and impacted by the BP oil spill. In her current work with Public Lab, Shannon seeks to infuse traditional organizing methods of the environmental sector with new media technologies and tools to create actionable outcomes. 

She has a MS in Anthropology and Nonprofit Management and has worked with nonprofits for over fifteen years. She is an Ashoka Fellow, a Senior Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program a recipient of the Claneil Foundation Emerging Leaders Fund and a past Loyola University Institute for Environmental Communications Fellow. Shannon serves on advisory boards, councils or committees for the National Parks Conservation Association, World Economic Forum, Citizen Science Association, the Louisiana Public Health Institute Healthy Communities Coalition, and the Louisiana Bar Association.

About Public Lab

Public Lab is a community where you can learn how to investigate environmental concerns. Using inexpensive DIY techniques, we seek to change how people see the world in environmental, social, and political terms.


Past Event
Jan 26, 2016
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM