Urban Planning & Design

Participatory Mapping Improves Neighborhoods from the Bottom Up: An Example from San Diego

April 25, 2017
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A grassroots nonprofit in San Diego used an online participatory mapping tool for a neighborhood improvement project. They consulted residents with a map-based participation survey about the plans of improving the area. As a result, the neighborhood improvement project reflects the needs and ideas of its residents.

The energy and grassroots level efforts of various self-organized community groups are an essential ingredient in the creation of highly livable cities. Today’s digital public participation tools, like Maptionnaire, are helping activists advance or legitimate their agendas for bettering neighborhoods from the bottom up.

Beautiful PB is a community organization dedicated to working collaboratively to improve the built environment in Pacific Beach, San Diego. One of their goals was to draw attention to the need for updating Pacific Beach’s community master plan from 1995 to ensure a more sustainable future.

To receive an informed picture of the measures needed, Beautiful PB members needed to know what fellow residents thought about neighborhood improvement.

Community Consultation with an Online Participatory Mapping Tool

For an easy way to compile such information, they launched a Maptionnaire questionnaire that allowed Pacific Beach residents to highlight important daily destinations and routes as well as to suggest local improvement proposals by marking possible measures on a map of the area.

The project helped deepen togetherness in the community to build capacity for future actions. Its results got used in the initiation phase of a PB-based 'eco-district' to provide additional people-produced data to complement feedback gathered at official town hall meetings.

Neighborhood Improvement for Residents

Beautiful PB’s survey results have helped to raise awareness about the outdated Pacific Beach community plan and, ultimately, they’ll serve as important background information for the community plan’s modification work.

Maptionnaire’s participatory mapping tools help planners and organizations involve residents and source their opinions for all kinds of urban planning projects.

And here is one more story of impactful map-based public consultation in St Andrews for encouraging active travel among its residents.

Curious at how Maptionnaire can be used for your project?

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