Digital processes for participatory community planning and development

Community input and engagement are key to any truly successful development, yet historically, there has often been a disconnect between the designers of a community and its eventual users.

What gaps or flaws do you see in the current participatory design processes being used in cities? What have cities been doing in regard to utilizing technology to improve the ability of the community to have input on project, e.g. new digital platforms for information sharing, idea submission, etc?

And are cities’ participatory processes still primarily face-to-face (community meetings), or are any technological applications outpacing them?

@sglaude1 @sunshinem @fferguson @NCHH @RachitaMisra @dpelleti @RBarragan @JimKing @mkooistra @Rwyse @stevenfallon @HousingMichigan - Are there any digital platforms you have seen be effective in use with participatory design and community involvement? Or anything specifically you would love to see improved upon or expanded in the process?

Generative Design by Sidewalk Labs seems to be a promising technology that will someday incorporate more community input in the design process.

I also touched upon the possibility of decentralizing real-estate development ownership/stake in a previous post. With such a platform available for smaller-scale investors, local/community members could have a louder voice/platform to voice their concerns, recommendations, etc. in the decision making processes surrounding developments in their neighborhood. It’d be much more transparent to the people that the project will end up impacting the most. While it is very conceptual currently, it holds great potential to change how we develop our future cities and neighborhoods.

@NickAzer It would be great to see a digital platform that is able to engage all level of community that is considered the following factors: 1)accessibility visible and non-visible disabilities, 2) accessibility by users technological ability (having a platform usable by all technological skill levels- especially beginners or those that are more seasoned in age), 3) considerations regarding language accessibility, 4)engagement with community that may have a pattern of historical disengagement and meaningful obtain their input and perspective

@Rwyse, thank you for this input, these are definitely parameters we are looking for regarding the engaged participatory aspect. Would you mind clarifying factor 1 for me? Also, do you have any good resources/leads to explore these concepts more?

Play the City
Green City Watch
Arbol Internet of Trees - also here

Here are some people who are growing their business around social and ecological urban sustainability using data and tech.

While some things in the design process can and should be automated, and while Big Data is certainly useful, I’m of the opinion that applying and collecting cold hard data is highly susceptible to reductionism. Human-to-human interaction have to remain human in order to preserve the complexity of our urban areas and to design for them.

One methodology I particularly find hopeful in this aspect is the Södertörnsmodellen or The Södertörn Model, where a cluster of semi-urban municipalities have pooled data together to map a more complex understanding of the needs and behaviours of residents in the city over time. E.g. one of the findings was that divorce often led to the woman, now a single mother, having to move out of a particular towns simply because there were no smaller, more affordable homes in those areas. This understanding enables municipalities to then formulate an approach to better help people in need.

Thank you @stevenfallon @Rwyse and @samanthasuppiah for the input here so far!

@FanyuLin @Jefferson @bngejane @Ashok @Nirmita and @Vesa, curious if you all might have any experiences or thoughts here on digital platforms and the possibilities for community participation?

There is a definite disconnect between urban planners, builders, and fire service professionals in the areas of how buildings are designed, situated on lots, and built, and what fire protection resources are needed and possible. One example is “zero lot line” building and street width reductions for bicycles and pedestrians. Without a robust, sustained fire and life safety education initiative in these denser neighborhoods and local ordinances requiring home fire sprinklers the potential for larger fires is increased while the time it takes increasingly longer and wider fire vehicles to respond to these fires is also increased. Additionally, trying to stage 4-8 fire apparatus in a working posture on a narrower street creates road closures, which increase life safety and quality of life problems away from the actual fire event. The best ways to solve these problems are through vigorous building and fire code enforcement, a cumulative program of fire safety education, and creating a fire safe environment in these neighborhoods which keeps emergency vehicles off the streets. Fire service administrators SHOULD be leading the charge here, but the prevailing attitude is that the fire department has nothing to add to urban planning.

LA Metro used the MetroQuest online engagement tool in tandem with in-person meetings and events to collect public opinions about the future design of LA’s bus system. It might be interesting to look at.

@tmd “we accept crypto for fees” Salute! @stevenfallon