Zencity Glossary

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Browse the different solutions available through Zencity, and how you can use each one to hear from more voices, answer questions, understand the data, and make decisions.


Community input solutions

Zencity Organic


What is it? Dashboard that gathers and processes the conversation happening on publicly-available channels throughout your community, such as social media and local news outlets, as well as 311 tickets, and breaks down the data into quickly digestible themes, trends, and highlights.


How can you use it? To understand the conversation happening organically across hundreds of social & local media sources.

Your guide to the organic dashboard


Zencity Community Survey


What is it? A recurring, online survey measuring resident satisfaction, with ongoing scores and responses to open-ended questions always viewable from a live dashboard, and representative results aggregated into a report, either biannually or quarterly.


How can you use it? To inform your biannual or quarterly planning and performance evaluation with timely and representative feedback.

Learn how it works


Zencity Community Asks


What is it? Brief, two-question surveys designed by Zencity expert analysts, and distributed by you, in order to answer very specific questions. After you share the survey, you can follow submission numbers and responses to open-ended questions from a live dashboard. Plus, you’ll receive a report after the survey’s close.


How can you use it? To quickly collect feedback on specific issues with expert-crafted surveys that get to the point.



What is it? Short, ten-question survey designed by Zencity expert analysts, and distributed by you, in order to hear from residents on timely issues. Zencity processes, analyzes and delivers the results in a report.


How can you use it? To rapidly and cost-effectively gauge public opinion on “here and now” decision points using brief questionnaires.


Note: For communities with more than 20,000 residents, Premium Pulse is also available. With Premium Pulse, Zencity manages distribution, guarantees a representative sample and provides breakdowns of the data by demographic.

Read about Pulse surveys


Zencity Engage

What is it? Formerly known as Civil Space prior to Zencity’s acquisition, Zencity Engage is a digital community engagement site that allows you to create pages for local projects and initiatives, upload supporting context, and invite residents to give input using interactive participatory tools.


How can you use it? To inform and engage your residents about upcoming plans and initiatives, and shape them together with your community through collaborative conversations.


Note: Interested in creating uniquely-branded and dedicated Zencity Engage sites for multiple departments and agencies? Premium Zencity Engage is available, offering bundles of five separate sites.




What is it? Recurring survey used by law enforcement agencies to measure resident safety and trust levels, with ongoing scores always viewable from a live dashboard and results aggregated into a report each quarter.


How can you use it? To practice inclusive policing and keep a finger on public safety perception & trust levels among your community.

Read about Blockwise


Data insight solutions

Analyst Insights

What is it? Data analysis of a particular event, issue, or policy from a Zencity analyst that investigates how one aspect of the topic appears in the organic conversation.


How can you use it? To support and corroborate your decision-making with concise and actionable data from your community.

Read about Analyst Insights


Analyst Highlights

What is it? Brief overview and descriptive data analysis from a Zencity analyst about an anomaly they notice when reviewing the organic conversation in your community.


How can you use it? To keep an eye on emerging issues and be ready with a proactive response plan.



Zencity Benchmarker

What is it? Tool for analyzing resident attitudes on pressing issues in your community, as compared with trends visible in communities that are similar in size or geographic location.


How can you use it? To compare your performance to similar communities so you can identify areas for strategic growth.

Read more details


Emails and alerts

Email digest subscriptions


What is it? A range of email digests you can subscribe to in order to regularly receive summaries of data about your community and/or key projects in your inbox. A variety of popular email digests already exist that you can instantly subscribe to, or you can create your own—all from the Subscriptions page.


How can you use it? To get a quick, easily scannable overview of what’s going on, timed to read over a morning briefing or customized to arrive before a weekly meeting.

Find the right digests for you



What is it? A range of notifications about keyword mentions or notable changes in your data. If you have the Zencity app, notifications about notable changes in your data will be sent via mobile push notifications. If you don’t yet have the app, those notifications will be sent to your inbox.


How can you use it? To know right away when the data changes in any project related to your community—including both those you are following and those you are not—as well as to get alerted about key topics, buzzwords, or posts that are of interest to you.

Find the right alerts for you


Zencity Organic Data Dictionary

When we say…., this is what we mean….



What is it? The two primary ‘buckets’ of data sources that are connected to your Organic dashboard. The first is known as official Channels, which refers to all pages and accounts managed by you and other local government officials. The second is known as unofficial Sources, which refers to all pages, accounts, and stories managed by residents or non-governmental bodies (e.g. media outlets).


How can you use it? To understand where the bulk of the conversation is happening—and where it might be most helpful to create or focus your engagement strategy. In addition, you can compare and contrast factors like topics, words, and sentiment between the discussion happening over official channels versus unofficial channels.

Get the full story on channels




What is it? Types of engagement given to a post or story, including comments, shares, and reactions. The volume of interactions in your Organic dashboard widget will show the sum total of comments, shares, and reactions from across all connected sources in your community.


How can you use it? To get a sense of how large the conversation is on any given day (or per any given topic, channel, or any other filterable aspect), as well as the change over time. Zencity uses this metric to identify and alert you about projects and topics with major increases in the volume of interactions.

Read up on interactions


Organic Project

What is it? In the Zencity Organic platform, projects refer to tailored dashboards built to capture and process data about any key initiatives, events, or issue you want. They look the same as your general Organic dashboard, yet all widgets are pre-filtered for the project focus. You can find the list of projects you’re following from the table in the Projects page (found in the left hand menu). To find more projects to follow, switch to the ‘More’ tab of the table to see which projects have already been created for your community, or click ‘Request a Project’ in the upper right hand corner of the page and our team of analysts will create one for you.


How can you use it? To consistently capture data on an event, initiate, or issue that’s in focus for you; this makes it easy to visit the requisite dashboard and create reports, as well as to subscribe to email summaries of the project data.

Learn how to create or follow a project here



What is it? Within the Zencity Organic platform, popular is defined as ‘most frequently appearing.’ For example, the most popular topics widget orders topics from highest number of interactions to lowest. And the popular words widget displays the words that appear most frequently across your channels.


How can you use it? To get a sense of where the conversation is most focused at the exact time frame you’re looking at.



What is it? Label assigned to any organic data or response to your Community Survey processed by the Zencity platform’s AI technology to classify its content as positive, negative, or neutral.


How can you use it? To quickly understand the ‘tone’ of the conversation happening in your community overall, about a specific topic, or within a certain district or neighborhood.

Understand sentiment



What is it? Any account, page, or other type of data repository connected to your Organic dashboard, such as 311 tickets, official and unofficial social media, and local media outlets. In the source breakdown widget, you can find the sources in your community that have received the highest number of interactions for the timer period selected.


How can you use it? To understand on which specific accounts, pages, or outlets the conversation in your community is happening, and how the sentiment and topics might differ between each one. Helpful for developing and refining engagement and communications strategies.

Get the scoop on sources



What is it? Like topics, but more specific. Once Zencity’s AI technology assigns a piece of data (like a social media post or news story) a topic, it can go one step further and also categorize that data with a subtopic. For example, a post filed under the ‘Planning and Development’ topic can then be further classified as ‘Housing Services.’


How can you use it? Similarly to topics, you can use subtopics to quickly understand which ones are dominating the conversation and alert the corresponding department officials or managers. You can also filter the conversation at any time by the topic most relevant to your team, project, or department; from there, you can create a report of the data to share with others.



What is it? Common local government functions and departments, used by Zencity’s AI technology to categorize your data, so you can quickly understand the major themes of the conversation happening in your community. Topic examples include educational, local economy, and public health. You can find all topics listed in the filters at the top of your dashboard (click ‘Show more’), or jump to the topics that appear most in the conversation in the ‘Most popular topics’ widget on your dashboard.


How can you use it? To quickly understand which topics are dominating the conversation and alert the corresponding department officials or managers. You can also filter the conversation at any time by the topic most relevant to your team, project, or department; from there, you can create a report of the data to share with others.

Dive into topics here



What is it? In the Zencity platform, trending is a relational description; it refers to data that is appearing more in comparison to the previous time period. For example, if you click on the 3-dot menu in the popular words widget and toggle on ‘Trending,’ the widget will shift from showing the words that appear most frequently in the conversation during that time period, to the words that appear more often in the conversation when compared with the previous week (or whatever the selected time period is).


How can you use it? To get a sense of how themes in the conversation are changing over time. Zencity also generates alerts about topics and projects—displayed in Today’s Highlights— based on trending data; meaning, if there is a notable dip or rise in sentiment or volume of interactions when looking at the data collected from today as compared with the data over the past 30 days, that topic or project will be considered “trending” and generate an alert.




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