- Online engagement – linking their digital world to ours   click here to open paper content2165 kb
by    Powell, Marissa | marissa.powell@arup.com   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
See how bespoke e-engagement/spatial mapping tools have been used to
enhance stakeholder and community engagement processes for planning
projects. This approach both broadens the reach of engagement programs
resulting in more representative datasets and provides this data in formats
that can be easily integrated into planning processes.
People who attend stakeholder and community engagement activities often fit
into one of three categories – retirees and people with time of their
hands, people who stand to lose something of value to them and people who
are passionate about a cause or issue (and your project just happens to fit
into this category). They are the ultra-motivated, the people who turn up
to meetings and displays and unfortunately the people who skew our
engagement data as they are not representative of the broader population.

The rest of us sit in the “I should get involved but I’m too busy”, the
“that’s kind of interesting, but not enough to make me do anything”, the “I
planned to go but I forgot” or the oblivious to the entire situation
category. It’s this larger group of people that we’re missing through
traditional approaches to engagement and they are the most important to
ensuring representative input is fed into our planning processes. To engage
these people we have to understand how to make it easy for them to
participate in the discussion especially when they are usually time poor,
they want to give and get information quickly and they now carry their
digital life with them wherever they go.

The other side of the story is that it’s time consuming, and often
difficult, to translate rafts of qualitative data gained through engagement
processes into something meaningful that we can use to inform planning

To address both these issues, an online e-engagement tool named
Collaborative Community Map was developed to give stakeholders the
opportunity to provide meaningful input into spatial planning processes. It
was borne out of a desire to gather a more representative data set from
stakeholders by allowing people to participate in engagement activities at
a time and place that suits them. It is a light weight mapping application
that is viewed in a standard internet browser and uses the Google Maps
interface as its source of mapping data. It allows people to participate in
engagement activities and provide information from their own computers,
thus broadening the reach of engagement programs. It gathers spatially
located data to assist project teams in mapping constraints and concerns
associated with planning and design proposals by enabling stakeholder
comments and their associated locations to be mapped. These can then be
drawn into a GIS environment for further analysis and visualisation.

This paper explores a number of case studies where the Collaborative
Community Map was used during planning processes. It shows how by linking
their digital world to ours we have gathered more representative datasets,
made the engagement process more transparent, broadened the reach of our
engagement program and gained valuable spatial data which has helped us to
better understand the places and spaces we are planning. This approach is
applicable to any spatial planning process.

Visit www.collaborativemap.org to view the mapping tool.
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