Helping to improve neighborhoods from the bottom up

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.

For an easy way to compile such information, they launched a Maptionnaire questionnaire that allowed PB’s 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 to deepen togetherness in the community to build capacity for future actions and 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.

Beautiful PB’s survey results have helped to raise awareness about the outdated PB community plan and, ultimately, they’ll serve as important background information for the community plan’s modification work.