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Planning Opportunities Online: A New Frontier


Another  in a series of excerpts from an article published in the Winter 2012/2013 edition of  Plan Canada, a quarterly magazine published by the Canadian Institute of Planners.  The article was written by PlaceSpeak associate Maureen Mendoaza.
Gibsons Harbour Area Plan Village Waterfront

Planning Opportunities Online: A New Frontier

PlaceSpeak has gained momentum as planners have used the platform with increasing acknowledgement that new methods must be employed to reach citizens. As PlaceSpeak was developed in British Columbia, most consultations have started there, but is steadily gaining wider reach. Consultation topics have ranged to include a pilot project in Tofino on Vancouver Island for their emergency tsunami siren test, area and strategic plans for the Corporation of North Delta, the city of Richmond, and in Fort St. John for BC Hydro’s Site C Dam. PlaceSpeak continues to work with the City of Vancouver, recently hosting its consultation on behalf of the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability.

Because PlaceSpeak is scalable and reaches residents in their specific areas of work, home, and play, the potential of online consultation is of utility for planners in all areas: transportation, urban development, environmental, heritage, community and social planning, agricultural and beyond. Because it is online, PlaceSpeak can connect widely dispersed populations to a consultation that would have been nearly impossible because of their geographical distance. Thanks to ever growing Internet coverage and usership, PlaceSpeak has the capacity to engage and impact communities from the most cosmopolitan cities, to the most remote rural settlements.

Michael Epp, a municipal planner for the Township of Gibsons reflects on how PlaceSpeak enriched consultations for its Harbour Area Plan. “I was privileged to be one of the first to use PlaceSpeak,” Michael explains. “The platform made setting up and administering an online engagement process simple, and being able to map participants and track respondents by neighbourhood provided a rich layer of information for use in our planning decision making. The platform has fantastic potential to facilitate dialog and engagement.

You can read the entire article on Scribd.


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