Excellent Results for Calgary Skatepark Amenities Topic
The City of Calgary had excellent results with their recent Calgary Future Skatepark Amenities topic page. The consultation—which ran from early January to mid-February—was set up to collect feedback on potential sites for a proposed skatepark in Calgary. The City wanted to engaged citizens to understand their opinions towards several shortlisted sites.
It turned out that Calgarians had a lot to say about skate parks. The topic page was shared 894 times on Facebook and tweeted extensively, leading to over 2,600 unique views, 421 connected participants & 395 completed surveys!
“PlaceSpeak provided a platform we could trust to collect, aggregate, and organize data for our analytical purposes [to help inform decision-making]. The site provides clear direction of where to go and what to do, which was important to us because PlaceSpeak then appealed to the whole gamut of participants [i.e.wide demographic of participants]”.
—David Jerke, van der Zalm and associates
The following 5 factors each contributed to the topic’s success. Future PlaceSpeak topics should consider incorporating these steps into their topic promotion as well.
The predominantly young, male—and social media savvy—demographic of the skateboard community is one explanation of why this topic did so well in a short time.
According to van der Zalm + associates’ David Jerke, the city’s partnership with the Calgary Association of Skateboarding Enthusiasts (CASE) was a key reason in the project’s success.
CASE’s active use of their blog and social media channels, such as Twitter and Facebook to promote the topic played an important role in the topic’s success.
Another reason for the consultation’s success was the table set up at the open houses with the PlaceSpeak site set up as the only place to give feedback.
The consultation team hosted a booth at their open houses with a computer set-up for participants to connect with the PlaceSpeak topic and complete the survey on the spot.
Skateboarding and skateboarders are becoming ever more prevalent within The City of Calgary. For over 10 years, the City has been a leader among Canadian municipalities in accepting the importance of skateboarding within the recreation spectrum of urban life. Nowhere in Canada has skateboarding enjoyed such fertile ground through the support of a large, central urban skatepark, and mobile skate program. In recent years however, facilities have fallen behind the current demand.
In 2010, decision-makers acknowledged a gap in services and commissioned a report. City of Calgary staff in collaboration with the Calgary Association of Skateboarding Enthusiasts (CASE) prepared report CPS2011-03 titled ‘A Discussion Paper On Skateboard Amenities’ that identified a number of guiding priorities for the development of a Skateboard Amenities Strategy. On January 24, 2011, Council approved recommendations contained in the CPS2011-03 in an omnibus motion and directed administration to engage with community stakeholders, develop a comprehensive Skateboard Amenities Strategy, and report back no later than December, 2011.
The City of Calgary then commissioned van der Zalm + associates to develop the strategy document that would give a guideline for Calgary’s skateboarding community moving forward. The preparations were guided by a steering committee composed of recreational professionals and a member of CASE. The result was a strategy dubbed “The Calgary Skateboard Amenities Strategy” or “CSAS “, which provides a strategy for meeting the needs of Calgary skateboarders; now and over the next 10 years.
The city is now in the first phase of implementation with the first round of site selections. For the this round of skatepark development ten priority sites were selected for consideration. The city used PlaceSpeak to engage citizens to understand public opinion about the shortlisted sites.
CASE (Calgary Association of Skateboarding Enthusiasts) is a non-profit group of volunteers that promotes skateboarding in Calgary by using the collective efforts of its members. Through this united effort CASE works to improve the accessibility and growth of skateboarding in Calgary.