Challenge: The City of Viborg was not happy with how much time the written debates in town planning were taking. The quality of face-to-face citizen participation was also not satisfactory. Additionally, they needed to get more feedback from residents to support decision making.
Solution: Viborg has been able to involve more people in the participation process by using Maptionnaire. The tool has been easy to use for both the planners and the residents. Planners can now effortlessly present results to members of the city council and other decision makers.
Viborg is one of the oldest cities in Denmark and the second-largest municipality with over 90.000 residents. The Department of Technology and the Environment works with town-planning processes and continuously looks for the best ways to involve citizens in the development of the city.
Communication with citizens and stakeholders is very formal and requires a lot of time. It’s sometimes difficult for the administration to understand the feedback they get from residents during the hearing period. The feedback is also not public, i.e. residents don’t get to see (and reply to) each other’s comments on specific plans. The city of Viborg needed to find a solution to make communication smoother. They also wanted to support the decision-making processes and get more people to participate.
Searching for a Public Participation GIS Solution
There’s a network for the development of mid-sized cities in the Nordics that Viborg is a part of. Through this network they also found Maptionnaire. Viborg was looking for a GIS-solution and got a tip from the city of Vaasa to check out how Maptionnaire’s public participation GIS (PPGIS) solution could help them out. If you are looking for a city-wide participation solution, have a look at this guide on choosing citizen engagement platforms for local governments and cities.
Viborg uses Maptionnaire mainly in the early phases of their public participation plan.Their goal is to get more ideas and input from people living in a particular area. They want to highlight both the positive things as well as the things that need development. By using Maptionnaire, Viborg wants to activate and motivate residents to take part in the planning process. On top of this, the municipality gets valuable information on the current state of things: what is working now and what is not.
A More Inclusive Citizen Participation Process with Maptionnaire
Maptionnaire is easy to use for both, the planners creating surveys, as well as for residents answering them. Viborg has managed to increase the number of responses. This results into a more inclusive participation process and more informed decisions by the municipality since more people get to say what they think.
Viborg has been successful not only in reaching a larger but also a more diverse group of people. In particular, they have managed to reach more women and young people by using Maptionnaire. The City of Stockholm achieved similar results when digitalizing public participation processes.
Online citizen participation has also made communication smoother: it’s now easy to analyze and summarize the results and present it to the members of the city council and other decision makers involved. Sorting the essential data in an Excel sheet and producing heat maps is one of the features of Maptionnaire that Viborg uses the most.
With Maptionnaire’s map-based tool it’s quick and easy to broaden the debate on focused themes, and to get feedback from residents on city planning initiatives. It’s also easier to present the results to the respondents’ and the politicians making the decisions.