When I graduated by University, I didn’t have a job immediately. As usually happens, in this market economy, the jobs are “reserved” for friends and family of big fishes. So, I take summer sporadic jobs like survey taker. The job was exhausting, especially for the long distance walked every day; but I learned a lot about the importance of satisfaction’s surveys.
The municipalities or whatever organization who deals with the urban space, landscape and cities facilities, is a very good idea to do -sometimes at year- satisfaction’s survey. It will be a public consultation, domiciliary survey, internet or a cell phone app poll.
The studies demonstrates that the public is most likely to participate in that instances, because the citizens felt their issues are listened by authorities. Usually that participation is forced by law, but in some times that participation is motivated by the necessities of people. The problem is what the authorities do with the data that people gives to them.
If the citizens says: “we want more green areas”, the authorities do more permissions for condo’s construction with a lot of concrete. If the citizens says: “we want more and secure bicycle ways”, the authorities do more highways for car traffic. If the citizens says: “we want more security in our neighborhoods”, the authorities puts more cops in the streets.
Authorities has the data of the surveys, but the interests of the capital and citizens doesn’t walked in the same way. The authorities’ plays with the delicate balance of power between citizen’s need and capital invest intentions. I include in the term authorities a lot of entities: urban planners, ministries, municipalities, mayors, police, health services, city council, etc.
I was take a course some time ago about social questionnaires in Coursera MOOC website. The course was very explicative especially with the power of a good survey. If the survey is made with good questions and pertinent topics, the poll is a very good way to ask the citizens their opinion.
However, we do not confused satisfaction surveys with citizen’s participation in the community policies, because the last one is a holistic way to make better cities: Citizen’s participation is the frame for process of the people’s involve in their ecological patterns, urban spaces and neighborhoods. Public consultations and citizens surveys are instruments for categorization of people’s perceptions.