Community Planning: Methods
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The internet has changed the way we do almost everything and community planning is no exception. The power of the web is helping people get more actively involved in improving their own communities in a great many ways.

The internet allows people to engage from the comfort of their own homes or offices at times convenient for them.

People are mostly free to remain anonymous if they wish but do not have to do so.

Websites provide a cost effective way of providing access to data and archives. This is particularly useful for planning which is frequently a long and complex process.

It is still early days and new and innovative ways of engaging people using the internet are constantly being developed.

Some tools have been developed on the internet specifically for community planning. But there is also huge scope for using tools developed for other purposes to make community planning more efficient and effective.
NWA composite of websites mentioned in more detail in the next tab.
useful examples

Some of the internet pages useful for community planning
There were over 15 billion freely accessible pages on the internet in 2011.

Ways of using the internet for community planning
with links to further information or examples

Note: This categorisation is a work in progress. The effectiveness of some of the examples listed has not been verified. All feedback especially appreciated. Site Editor, 2011

  • The internet is a hugely important resource for community planning but is rarely a substitute for gaining and sharing practical experience on the ground or for face-to-face community engagement.

  • Do not assume everyone has internet access or feels comfortable using it. Ensure there are alternative ways of engaging.

  • Jump in feet first. Many internet tools are daunting and it is often hard to find people who can help you use them. The best way to learn is to experiment.

  • Remember that many people access the internet through phones and other mobile devices
    Very cost effective way of engaging with people unless you have to pay for hardware, software or technical expertise.
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    "Information technology offers new potential for citizen participation in urban planning. The essential tasks to achieve with the use of new media are: providing a communication platform which suppresses a barrier of non-professionalism, allowing for distant contacts and enabling participatory process management."
Malgorzata Hanzl, Institute of Architecture and Town Planning, Technical University of Lodz, Poland, 2007
Thanks: David Barrie and Slider Studio for research and advice.
This page funded by the Building Community Consortium.

Last updated on: 31 Augustl 2011