PlaceChangers is a Finalist for the Chair’s Award at the 2021 Royal Town Planning Institute’s Awards for Planning Excellence. This year’s Chair's Award at the RTPI Awards will recognise planning teams, organisations or individuals who have been innovative during the Covid 19 pandemic to deliver tasks/projects to the highest standards and continued to engage with local communities.
Being selected as a finalist at the 2021 RTPI Awards is a validation of PlaceChangers’ vision which is focused on providing digital tools to support planning organisations and residents discuss and improve planning projects throughout the pandemic and beyond.
The Covid-19 pandemic presented an unprecedented challenge for progressing planning consultations in a meaningful way. Lockdowns and social distancing put an end to physical citizen engagement meetings and made site inspections equally as difficult. The Chairs Award recognises organisations that supported continued high standards in planning practice throughout the Pandemic.
Working in partnership with local organisations, PlaceChangers has put the North East firmly at the forefront of planning innovations through its digital platform, a powerful toolkit to deliver map-based consultations and mainstream health impact assessments for housing projects.
Examples that stand out include a community-led project in Crook. The PlaceChangers platform enabled a two-step consultation approach including a comprehensive appraisal with local people followed by an interactive design review of the site layout and development proposals.
Joe Ridgeon, Hedley Planning, noted: "We were able to receive responses from all demographics and pro-actively interact with the community in new and interactive ways. The platform is a powerful tool for engaging the public, informing the Council, and updating the client." While Sharon Mackay, North Tyneside Council, said that they were “able to have much more targeted conversations, which is better for everyone involved.”
Recently PlaceChangers has supported local authorities with large scale projects focused on active travel. Here PlaceChangers supported digital innovators, such as North Tyneside Council, in delivering interactive masterplan consultations, which let residents directly engage with proposals, feed in their own ideas, and interact with the project team.
Sebastian Weise, Founder, said:
“Being named a Finalist at the 2021 RTPI Awards is a validation of all our efforts throughout the pandemic. The health crisis was a major challenge, but it also provided an opportunity to rethink how planning for health and wellbeing could be done. I am proud of the whole team and our mission to improve planning through simple to use digital tools. And as somebody who came into the profession, I am humbled by the Award nomination from the Royal Town Planning Institute, the key professional body in this space.”
Alex Moon, Co-Founder at PlaceChangers, said:
“Construction is hard. When you build something, anything, there are so many stakeholders involved, and it’s so important they talk to each other and understand what each other is about. We believe thriving places are created together, and the PlaceChangers platform is built on the premise that there should be an app for that. To be recognised by the RTPI is an honour. We must be doing something right.”
The company now has their sights firmly set on supporting industry leaders to incorporate key urban design factors that support health outcomes in their projects. The new PlaceChangers Site Insights tool provides feedback on cycling and walking access, as well as simple, benchmarked indicators for assessing an area. Here they have worked extensively with health professionals in local councils across the UK as well as representatives from Public Health England.
Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) is the largest professional body for town planners in the UK and Europe and represents members in over 80 countries worldwide. The Institute has been shaping planning policy and raising professional standards for over 100 years and is the only body in the UK to confer Chartered status to planners, the highest professional qualification.
PlaceChangers is a startup focused on digital solutions for collaboration and engagement in development and regeneration projects. The PlaceChangers platform helps architects, urban planners, and developers to understand the context of new development proposals through collaboration, public engagement, and intelligent handling of location data.