Online Public Consultation in the Property Development Industry
For those in the property development industry, public consultation is often perceived as more about holding consultation as a requirement. It is seen as a means to an end of the development permit and/or project design process, rather than a way of addressing public skepticism, fostering inclusion, and developing transparency.
Increasingly, more attention and criticism is being given to a developments’ lack of public engagement than the actual consultation feedback itself, or how it may guide development. Indeed—on a larger scale—robust public engagement at all levels generally, and in the property development industry in specific, can be seen as an indicator of democratic legitimacy.
In conversations with industry proponents, PlaceSpeak has learned more about their past challenges of adopting online consultation methods, current initiatives industry members are exploring, as well as future directions of the industry with respect to online consultation. Amongst many industry proponents, there remain hesitations and concerns with online consultation, but also a willingness to experiment with online engagement in general, including platforms like PlaceSpeak.
Over the next couple of weeks, we will be taking a deeper look into some of these concerns and opportunities. Our goal is to contribute to a greater discussion of the changing character and quality of online consultation, and offer an open challenge and invitation the property development industry to improve civic participation through technological innovation and creativity.
This is the first in a series of posts on online public consultation in the property development industry. The series was inspired by Maureen Mendoza as part of the MITACS Research Accelerate Internship Program and as part of course requirements with the School of Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia. You can read the entire report here.