The planning and execution of urban development projects should involve citizen participation. Citizen participation is essential if the needs of the population are to be addressed when undertaking public development projects, and participation is essential if private construction projects are to be accepted by the residents that live adjacent to and within such projects.
The PlanYourPlace project was established to develop a participatory planning platform for communities within and surrounding the City of Calgary.
The vehicle for the development of these tools is the “middle ring” of Calgary neighbourhoods that were constructed during the 1950s to 1970s and that are currently experiencing redevelopment pressures. The City of Calgary advocates higher densities, a greater mix of uses, and reconsideration of land uses to achieve its goals of sustainability, however these qualities are often perceived negatively by residents. Transitioning this part of Calgary is complex, and requires a holistic approach to urban development and for innovative and inclusive public participation in the planning process.
The geospatial cyber-infrastructure proposed in this project is intended to provide new tools for urban planning process: (i) through development of a rich web-based tool to help citizens, developers and elected officials visualize possible scenarios and their anticipated effects (analysis focus); (ii) by developing sketch friendly tools to create alternative plans and then estimate the fiscal, environmental, and social impacts, etc. (design focus); and (iii) extend participatory GIS to support a two-way dialog between citizens and planners about communities and their future.