Public engagement can and should be fun, also for planners. Digitalizing the participation process with digital participation tools, such as Maptionnaire, helps to bypass the problem of low participation attendance by allowing planners to reach a larger crowd. Digital tools also add the possibility to visualize aspects of the dialog. Using them is, therefore, a good starting point for fruitful cooperation between planners and residents.
The digitalization of participation methods cuts across boundaries of the traditional approach to getting people involved in the future development of their surroundings. Digitalizing these methods has made communication between residents and city administration much easier. Feedback is flowing to city halls even through Facebook and Twitter. Much of this data, however, remains hidden or in an unstructured format.
A big part of participation discussions still take place in public meetings and charrettes. Obviously, face-to-face meetings are very important as the concept is very easy to understand and it feels reliable. However, the same thing cannot be said about the data such events generate. It’s flawed. A bunch of post-it notes stuck to a wall will hardly make sense a few months after any meeting.
Figuring out a way that convinces residents to answer enthusiastically to a questionnaire, and at the same time, generates results that make sense to urban planners, has taken many hours of research and development. At Maptionnaire we have created an approach with which residents can participate in building their cities in a way that is meaningful to them. As many of the questions that concern urban development are spatial in their nature, people need to visualize them before they answer.
What is a better way to ask about a city than to use a map?
Questionnaires designed with Maptionnaire allow adding quick briefings and visualizations, making them easily digestible for respondents. On top of that, the people-generated spatial data that you collect with Maptionnaire can be turned into insights about desired future developments. This takes urban planners and developers one step closer to getting their job done. If you’re wondering which tool you could use for your future project, go ahead and give Maptionnaire a try. That’s the best way to figure out if it is what you need.
Banner picture by Alexander Dummer.