Mismatches in stakeholder communication: The case of the Leslie and Ferrand transit stations, Toronto, Canada

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, place - urban, mode - tram/light rail, planning - public consultation, planning - signage/information, land use - planning


Community engagement, Urban infrastructure planning, Information retrieval, Content analysis, Co-creation and collaborative planning


Using content analysis, an approach is presented to help extract topics of interest to local community during project planning. This is helpful for fine-tuning and customizing the language used in communication with the public. Hopefully, reducing communication mismatches can help support constructive dialogue that is not lost in translation. The extraction of community issues/interest is becoming important also to help guide the development of plans/projects and their features in a manner that meets their needs. The two cases used in this study presented a suitable target for developing and showcasing the proposed approach. There was a reversal of public decision based on community debates/objections. This allowed us to study the mismatches before and after the decision. The proposed approach used a context-based taxonomy of terms and content analysis to compare terms/topics contained in a related twitter account, relevant news articles, and documents/presentations used in public meetings—before and after the decision. The proposed approach was designed to be mostly automatic to help future re-use. Of course, the use of such approach is only one step in a much bigger qualitative and context-specific process. Specific to the two cases, it was observed that news media articles and the contents of twitter chats had higher matching levels in the topics/themes they covered. Contents of public meetings had some levels of mismatching. Particular to the two cases, public official tended to emphasize the technical aspects of the projects with limited/clear analysis of their functions or impacts on community. It is argued that, as a result, public officials should study twitter chats and news articles as they prepare official public documents and presentations to citizens; attempt to specifically address prevalent issues in them; and even use the same nomenclature. Using a (semi) automated tool can be very helpful in this regard.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


Sustainable Cities and Society