Capturing Citizens’ Opinions Through a Combination of Survey and Online Social Data

Manuela Farinosi, Leopoldina Fortunati, John O'Sullivan, Laura Pagani


This article aims to contribute to the debate on citizen participation by illustrating, with an operational example, how it may be more effectively achieved using a combination of survey and online social data. We focus on a project the purpose of which was to arrive at a formulation of planning policies based on a sharing process between the council and citizens of the small municipality of Peccioli in Tuscany, Italy. The aim was to increase participation by collecting opinions on long-term projects. The combination of survey and online social data enabled the collection of more accurate insights on participation, providing the municipality with a reliable representation of citizens’ sentiments and opinions. This article, although locally rooted, demonstrates how planning authorities more widely can enhance participation by taking advantage of both analog and digital methods.



political participation, civic engagement, online social data, survey, mixed methods, urban planning, inclusive process

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