Using Citizen Participation Platforms in Different Phases of the Urban Planning Process

November 20, 2017
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 Citizen participation is an efficient and effortless way to gather information about citizens’ experiences, values, and opinions throughout the whole planning process.

No matter if you are compiling a master plan, a detailed plan, or a more general land-use vision, citizen participation platforms can streamline the engagement process. Read how the versatile functions of a Citizen Participation Platform Maptionnaire are utilized in each phase of your urban planning project.

Citizen Participation in the Early Stages of the Urban Planning Process

In the early stages of the planning process, the aim is usually to generate an overview of the planning area, its potential, and problems. Part of this process is also the soft data collected from the citizens on how they value and experience their surroundings.

Typical ways Maptionnaire has been used in this phase are questions such as which places people appreciate or dislike in the city the most and what kind of development they would like to see in the future. Here are some examples of how the map elements could be applied to the questions: 

point a place on a digital participatory platform

Pinpoint places or single features

Placing points on the map to indicate for example favorite places, ugly buildings, beautiful trees or underestimated meeting points.

draw a route on a citizen engagement platform

Draw routes and connections

By drawing lines the respondents can highlight the routes that are important for them or connections that should be developed.

Mark areas

The polygon tool allows drawing areas that are not so clearly defined as points and lines. For example, the respondents could point out areas suitable for a new park or housing.

Consulting Citizens on Plans and Scenarios

present a plan over the base map during the consultation phase of the urban planning process

Once the plan has been drafted or compiled, it’s time to ask for comments. Maptionnaire offers the opportunity to upload plans in the cloud service as raster or shapefile format, and to lay them over the base map for commenting.

This function is ideal for gathering feedback about one plan or for prioritizing between different alternative scenarios.

Evaluating the Urban Planning Project

ask for residents’ satisfaction during the evaluation stage with a citizen participation platform

Evaluation of an implemented plan is something that is often forgotten once the new plan enters into force. Nevertheless, the evaluation phase could give important insight on what is working in the new plan and which issues need more attention in the future.

This information could be useful in the next planning cycle. On top of the already presented elements and traditional multiple choice questions, Maptionnaire offers question types specially designed for evaluation, such as sliders and priority assessments.

Citizen Participation Platforms as a Feedback Channel

Maptionnaire can become handy also as a general feedback channel, or in other words as a “fix the city” tool. This means that the residents can easily report on the map if there is something that needs to be fixed, let's say if a streetlamp is broken or if there is a pit on the road. Spatial coordinates allow a more exact understanding of the location of the issues raised compared to just following written descriptions.

Public engagement is not only about gathering data from the participants, but it’s also about sharing information with them. Maptionnaire could easily serve as a complete interaction platform.

scheme with maptionnaire citizen participation platform used on all stages of the urban planning process

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