The 'Geographic areas' on your platform serve three purposes:

  • You can link them to specific projects so that people can easily find projects that are relevant to them.

  • You can use the place where people live to grant them specific viewing or participation rights (e.g. "only people living in District A can vote on the suggestions to improve the district's playgrounds").

  • They provide insights on which neighborhoods are (under)represented on the platform, and how different neighborhoods react differently on specific projects or plans.

To get you all set up, this article outlines 4 steps to take:

  1. Define your 'Geographic areas'

  2. Enable 'Place of Residence' as a registration field

  3. Link projects to 'Geographic areas'

  4. Create smart groups based on people's 'Place of Residence'

1. Define your 'Geographic areas'

In the 'Geographic areas' tab of the 'Settings' section of your platform, you can add, edit and delete the geographic areas that are relevant to your context. Simply give them a name and hit 'Save'.

Optionally, you can add a description. This description is shown nowhere to people, so it only serves internal clarification goals.

You can also define how 'geographic areas' as a concept should be called on your platform. People will see this terminology on the home page, where they can use it to filter on projects. 'Neighborhood(s) and 'district(s)' are two commonly used examples for this terminology.

2. Enable 'Place of Residence' as a registration field

Go to the 'Registration' tab in that same 'Settings' section, and make sure 'Place of Residence' is enabled.

Doing so will make sure that you ask people where they live during their registration. Do you want to have certainty that you are collecting this information from every single participant? Make sure to set the registration field to 'Required'.

The 'Place of residence' registration field will show people during their registration all the 'Geographic areas' that you've defined in the previous step. They can select the one they live in or indicate they live elsewhere.

'Place of residence' is a built-in registration field you can turn on or off, and make optional or required. If you want to obtain other geographical data of people, such as 'street' or 'street number', you can create additional custom fields. These fields can also be used as a basis to make smart groups, but they won't be part of the area filter on the homepage.

3. Link projects to 'Geographic areas'

Now that your 'Geographic areas' are set, you can link every project to one or several areas to indicate which areas are impacted by the project. This is done in the 'General' tab of the project. When you don't specify this, the project gets linked to all areas by default.

Linking your projects to specific areas will help people easily find the projects relevant to them on your home page. There they can filter on area, resulting in a selection of projects that have a link with where they live.

4. Create smart groups based on people's 'Place of Residence'

Because you're now asking people where they live during registration, you can use that information to create smart groups.

These smart groups can in turn be used to define who can view certain projects, or who can take specific actions on your platform.

You're now all set to use your geographic areas as a way of organizing your platform!


Need help or support? Don’t hesitate to get in touch via support@citizenlab.co.

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