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Capitol Hill's Urban Interactive Studio helps urban planners with outreach, adding developers

Chris Haller founded Urban Interactive Studio in 2009 after working in urban planning and IT in his native Germany and Denver. Early in his career in Berlin, he saw the power of online public engagement, ultimately leading to the company's launch.
 
“How can we make our cities a better place to live by engaging people?” asks Haller. 
 
His answer: Apps and websites that distribute information and change the conversation “from a shouting match into a constructive discussion.”
 
Now four employees strong and hiring a Drupal developer in the near term, Urban Interactive Studio sells a pair of off-the-shelf products to municipalities and urban planners. The company also takes on custom work. 
 
Projects include Imagine Central Arkansas, an interactive website designed to involve the public in planning for transportation and other issues, and Delivering Denver's Future
 
Of the latter, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock “asked citizens to chime in on how to fix the budget gap,” Haller says.

Launched in March 2012, Delivering Denver's Future garnered about 1,000 responses, casting a much wider net than public meetings on the subject. The calculator-like interactive website also informed the public about the tradeoffs that were necessary in the budgeting process.
 
Infographics and games “turn something that's dull and not read very often into something that's fun and engaging,” Haller says. “We like to think people are engaged in politics, but people are busy with their everyday life. Boiling down complex issues -- the idea is to provide something that's easy to access, grasp, digest and fun to read.”

Read more articles by Eric Peterson.

Eric is a Denver-based tech writer and guidebook wiz. Contact him here.
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