Planning and development is a complicated process. Growing populations need more infrastructure, but existing communities don’t want ugly high-rises on their doorsteps. It’s a difficult balance. In the UK, a study estimated that just 7% of the population trust their local authority to act with integrity in matters of planning.
When it comes to consulting the public on plans, a single public consultation is rarely sufficient. The people rightly expect to be consulted at the different stages in the process. Keeping an open discussion is an important element to creating places that are desirable for existing and future populations.
Citizen Space now has a configurable hub, meaning that organisations can add featured consultations, additional subject headings, images and more to their consultation hub. It looks really nice, but it has some important practical implications beyond aesthetics.
It gives users the ability to categorise their consultation and engagement activity beyond just open and closed. This article focuses on two organisations who have used the configurable hub to host full-spectrum planning engagement exercises.
DPLH is running an expansive democratic exercise called ‘The Street Where You Live’, which asks residents what they think the future of planning and urban density in their area should look like. The project is hosted in the suburb of Carlisle. Carlisle is considered a representative community for the wider area of Perth and Peel, which is predicted to have a population surge in the coming years. Respondents from other areas can still take part. The data collected will essentially create a publicly deliberated model of the future, which planners will take into account when they consider how to support a growing population.
Why it’s good: Firstly, the project in itself is a really cool democratic exercise and demonstrates how important the public’s opinions are when it comes to preparing for the future. Secondly, the DPLH have used the configurable hub in a way that very clearly separates the different types of activities from each other and the project itself from the rest of their Citizen Space activity. They are, after all, a Planning, Lands and Heritage authority, so the separation is important to ensure that it doesn’t get confused with their other consultation activity. Respondents can visit the dedicated tab and access Quick Polls, surveys, FAQs and focus group registration, all from one page. The project’s central page means that respondents are able to follow the story of that particular engagement activity with ease.
Central Lancashire are using Citizen Space slightly differently, in that their whole site is dedicated to their Local Plan. It hosts two main surveys: Issues and Options for the draft Plan, and Phase 3 of a Call for Sites, which is an opportunity for residents and organisations to request certain developments. There’s also a separate Equalities Monitoring survey and a version of the Issues and Options consultation for young people.
Why it’s good: It’s great to see a separate youth survey. It seems obvious given that young people will be living with planning decisions for longest, but we don’t often come across planning engagement that specifically seeks the views of young people on how their community should be shaped. The main Issues & Options consultation is packed with supporting information, a summary video and links to related events. The online consultation is being hosted in local libraries, so those without internet/computer access can still fill it online if they wish.
If you’d like to learn more about what Citizen Space can do for your organisation, book a free demo and we’ll walk you through it.