Professor James Holston (Anthropology) has been named a recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Public Service for his collaborative project between AppCivist and the City of Vallejo. The project developed and implemented the social media app AppCivist for participatory budgeting in the City of Vallejo. The Chancellor’s Award for Public Service is given by the Chancellor each year for embodying UC Berkeley’s commitment to public service and improving the local and global communities.
AppCivist is a platform for democratic assembly and collaborative decision-making. It helps people tackle problems in their communities, discuss and decide on ideas for solutions, turn ideas into proposals, edit and vote on proposals, and follow their implementation. It features both modular functionalities and interoperable services. AppCivist can facilitate ideation and help participants make better arguments through versioning, visualization, and collaborative deliberation. It encourages both on and off-line collaboration, addressing problems of scale in processes of direct democracy for small and large communities. AppCivist is the result of a joint research initiative between the Social Apps Lab at CITRIS, UC Berkeley (http://socialappslab.org/), led by Professor Holston, where the project began several years ago, and the MiMove Research Team (https://mimove.inria.fr/) at Inria, Paris.