Prioritising spaces for people walking, cycling and accessing public transport in busy inner cities can be a powerful way to make neighbourhoods more successful and vibrant places to live, work and visit, helping local people to lead active and healthy lives.
For the Bunhill, Barbican and Golden Lane areas, The City of London Corporation and Islington Council work together to create a healthy neighbourhood plan. At the early stage of development, SYSTRA supported The City of London Corporation and Islington Council in an online engagement exercise to capture views on local issues and opportunities in the area.
SYSTRA, a leader in social research, engagement and consultation in the transport sector, needed a method to enable the crowdsourcing of ideas and priorities on potential changes and improvements within the study area. With its advanced engagement capabilities, the PlaceChangers platform was certainly up for the task.
What was done
SYSTRAused PlaceChangers on behalf of The City of London Corporation and Islington Council to generate an interactive and open-ended engagement exercise for residents and visitors to the study area.
Using PlaceChangers engagement tools, the team quickly generated a highly interactive engagement activity that enabled residents to propose and discuss opportunities for urban design, including topics like street lighting, seating, pocket parks, vehicle restrictions and pedestrian and cycle facilities.
The robust engagement and discussion functionalities on PlaceChangers, enabled residents to:
- Add annotations to the map to pinpoint opportunity spaces and current issues in the study area.
- Engage with, review, and support or reject other residents’ feedback.
- Respondents could also have ‘micro-conversations’ with each other on the various issues and opportunities suggested.
Alongside detailed responses, SYSTRA also asked participants general attitudinal and participant characteristics to understand them better, including questions such as how they usually travel to this area and if they generally favour increased focus on cycling, walking, or both.
The project team could tap into interactive reports that grouped responses by project area and street and gave an interactive real-time summary of any responses received.
PlaceChangers also supported:
- Automatic AI-based identification of topic keywords
- Grouping of feedback received by street to quickly identify feedback groups and accelerate the analysis.
The project team liked how residents could have pockets of conversations among themselves; the team was also very pleased with the level of response from residents living in Islington and the City of London boroughs.
189 participants submitted 283 ideas and generated 895 responses to each others' ideas. The project also had an excellent response rate of 29.17%, with residents returning regularly to check out new ideas generated.
Through the process, the design team could easily conclude which priorities were most favoured and which aspects others raised to improve an original idea.
Residents also reviewed the feedback method! One participant noted: “The interface has been well designed - congratulations to the authors, as this is often not the case. The map view worked very well for me. Adding comments seemed logical and easy to complete.”
Following the consultation, SYSTRA could further analyse the raw data to comply with client requirements.
The flexibility we had in creating a tailored set-up for The City of London Corporation and Islington Council, as well as the open ideation and conversation capabilities in PlaceChangers, is an apparent reason to choose PlaceChangers over other platforms; both are very impressive and suited our exact needs!
Project Manager, Systra