Urban Planning & Design

Gathering Opinions for a Spatial Zoning Plan in Aruba – Rho Consultants chooses Maptionnaire

September 11, 2020
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Challenge: Rho adviseurs was looking for a tool to reach out to the 110.000 residents in Aruba to hear their thoughts about a spatial zoning plan for the island.

Solution: By using Maptionnaire, Rho was able to gather the opinions of residents and found out what was most important to them in their living environment. This data helped Rho to define the main planning challenges for the zoning.

Rho adviseurs (bv) is one of the biggest firms in spatial planning in the Netherlands. Rho provides spatial planning consultancy for companies, municipalities, and other government organizations. Over the years, they have also accumulated considerable experience in the Dutch Caribbean.

The story with Maptionnaire got started when Rho was working on a spatial zoning plan for the island of Aruba. The zoning plan is the policy framework for the island’s spatial development, so that’s why it’s extremely important to involve different people, parties, and interests groups in the process. By acquiring information from a large group of people, it’s easier to make the right decisions and also get others to support them when everyone feels they have been included in the decision making process.

Defining the Main Planning Challenges

Rho started the process by discussing with stakeholders and NGOs, and after that they extended the project to include the 110.000 residents of Aruba. For this they needed a tool that would help them to reach out to the locals.

The project members in Aruba were enthusiastic to start using Maptionnaire. The survey was created in cooperation with Ruimteschepper, Rho, and the end-customer.

In the Aruba project, Maptionnaire helped Rho with defining the main planning challenges. In the survey, they asked people to rank different aspects of the surroundings such as nature, economy, and housing in order of importance. For the majority, preservation of nature and the environment was considered as the most important goal. This was crucial information for policy makers and planners.

Think Beyond Participation Tools

The people at Rho think Maptionnaire is a state-of-the art public participation tool that’s very accessible and user friendly. Since the Aruba-project, Rho has started utilizing Maptionnaire in their spatial planning projects more. For a big company like Rho, it’s essential to have modern tools that are easy to use to be able reach as many people as possible. This provides them with more precise and also varied data to support planning decisions. As their bread and butter is creating spatial plans, it’s essential to know how people use a particular space and what wishes do the people have who use the space. Additionally, with the planned new spatial law (planned for 2022), public participation will have an even more significant role and with the proper tools, it’s easy to implement.

However, it’s not just about tools but also about purposefulness and creativity so that’s why our friends at Rho give some friendly advice to fellow planners and consultancies: the challenge with projects such as this is asking the right questions from the target group to get the information you need. You will also need to be able to interpret the results and consider if your data is representative. So it’s not just about the tool, it’s also about designing the kind of survey you need, thinking about the right ways to reach people, and about summarizing the results in a way that serves your project best.

Maptionnaire is a state-of-the art tool. It’s very valuable in spatial planning projects as it can support your planning process, and provide you with information to support your decisions.    
Rob Schram, Rho

Maptionnaire provides planners with GIS-backed citizen engagement tools.

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