In order to facilitate growth while maintaining components that people feel positive about, Denver initiated a citywide planning effort to capture the goals and needs of its current and future residents. With digital public participation tools, Denver involved its diverse community in urban planning efforts.
Problem: The City and County of Denver hosts a diverse community, it is economically strong and growing quickly. Can digital participation tools help the city include this community in a citywide urban planning project?
Solution: In 2016, Denver launched Denveright, a three-year-long citywide effort for land use, mobility, and parks and recreation. This project has led to fruitful cooperation between the city’s Community Planning and Development department and Maptionnaire as one goal for the project was to increase opportunities for participation with online methods.
Reaching a More Diverse Group of People with Online Surveys
Organizing an inclusive and meaningful participation process was the priority for Denver. A part of this process is public meetings which are frequently attended by people with more time and flexibility. It was important for the city to find a way to reach a more diverse group of residents by offering the opportunity for people to give their input online at any time of the day.
Maptionnaire satisfied this need and even took things a step further than what typical online survey platforms can offer. It was possible for respondents to place their comments directly on the map. This is particularly important because city plans always require the use of maps. Collecting geo-located information right from the start saves a considerable amount of time.
Denver’s Community Planning and Development Department handles projects from citywide planning to permitting and licenses; essentially everything construction and development related. Noticing Maptionnaire’s flexibility, they began utilizing the service in all planning projects.
Denver has used Maptionnaire in the neighborhood planning process in the East Planning Area, which includes the neighborhoods on either side of Colfax Avenue between Colorado Boulevard and Yosemite Street.
They began the planning effort by launching a kick-off survey on Maptionnaire to ask residents about their neighborhood. They were asked about what they love in their neighborhood, what concerns they have, and what ideas they have for improvement.
Respondents are able to indicate their likes, concerns, and ideas by dropping pins on the map.
Later in the project, Denver conducts surveys on preliminary recommendations for the neighborhood and again receives feedback on a final draft of the plan by using Maptionnaire.
We use Maptionnaire to handle digital public participation for our citywide and neighborhood planning projects. Whenever we undertake a new city plan, our goal is for the planning process to be guided and informed by the residents in the area the plan covers. We use Maptionnaire to ask people what they love about their neighborhoods, what concerns them, and how we can improve livability in the city. We deal with issues related to economic opportunities, housing affordability, quality-of-life, mobility (walking/biking/public transit), street networks, and access to parks, among other topics.
Lizzie Friend, Community Insights Program Manager
Better Feedback with Maptionnaire’s Digital Participation Tools
Maptionnaire has been really helpful for Denver as they are now able to reach a more diverse group of residents, and especially younger people who don’t usually attend traditional in-person meetings.
Additionally, they receive feedback from a larger number of participants. Furthermore, they receive more specific feedback that allows the city to better leverage and inform the plans.
An online platform like Maptionnaire can be incredibly helpful in reaching a broader, more diverse group of residents that better reflects the community in your city.