Exploring the potential of community engagement, we encounter a multitude of innovative projects hosted on CitizenLab platforms. From urban redevelopment projects to comprehensive planning initiatives, environmental collaborations for a greener future, to even reshaping citywide celebrations – the possibilities are expansive.
These examples, each unique in their approach and objectives, underscore the power of tapping into collective intelligence for more inclusive and effective decision-making. Learn more about the work of other local governments and let it inspire your own community engagement efforts!
City of Allen, TX asks residents about funding priorities and inclusivity (United States)
In June, the City of Allen, Texas had two exciting projects open on their CitizenLab-powered engagement platform.
One is their 2023 Bond Planning process. Allen’s community members were invited to fill out a survey and help the city prioritize projects for funding across five focus areas: public safety, parks/downtown, streets/neighborhoods/infrastructure, public art, and finance.
Allen’s residents were also asked to participate in an online survey on the inclusivity of the city’s parks and facilities. With this questionnaire, the engagement team wanted to hear from community members about the challenges they face when visiting parks or using facilities, and what Allen needs to be a truly inclusive community.
The platform is really taking off: in less than a month, over 600 users have registered! This clearly demonstrates the community’s excitement and eagerness to contribute to the decision-making process.
Utrecht collects ideas to make city neighborhood more attractive (Netherlands)
Utrecht, the Netherlands’ fourth largest city, has an interesting urban development project underway. Many view Utrecht as a cozier, more intimate alternative to Amsterdam, and this project is sure to be accentuating that charm.
The city plans to transform the area around the Weerdsluis into a delightful place to relax, watch boats, have some ice cream, and meet friends. They also intend to better integrate this spot into existing walking and biking paths around the area. By incorporating more greenery, the area will soon naturally blend in with the adjacent green belt park.
To ensure these plans aligned with the community’s vision for the area, residents were invited to share their ideas or comments on an interactive map on the city’s CitizenLab platform.
West Oxfordshire District Council creates community forum to combat climate change together with residents (United Kingdom)
West Oxfordshire District’s project is all about connecting, collaborating, and taking action towards a greener future. The commuinty forum, powered by their CitizenLab platform, is a place for the community to exchange ideas, celebrate the progress of local environmental projects, and combine their efforts to combat climate change, while also working to restore nature and enhance local biodiversity.
Community members can share their gardening and green space activities to inspire their neighbors. The council has also opened up a space where people can ask questions and receive advice from others in the community who are just as passionate about environmental issues. And if you’re looking to establish a deeper connection, you can link up with local community groups and volunteer organizations directly through the platform.
Culemborg and its residents work together to make New Year’s celebrations safer (Netherlands)
The Dutch Municipality of Culemborg invited residents to share their thoughts about New Year’s Eve celebrations in the town center through an online questionnaire.
While the festivities are generally enjoyable and safe, there have been a few incidents and disturbances in the past for residents and their pets. The municipality’s goal is to ensure that the celebrations are as enjoyable and safe as possible, with minimal damage and noise disturbances.
The local engagement team opted to use the platform’s built-in survey tool instead of one of the third-party integrations, which has the added benefit that the results are immediately available in the platform’s analytics tools.
The text on these image was originally in Dutch and was machine translated
Leuven invites residents to nominate and vote for sustainability heroes (Belgium)
Just like in previous years, the Belgian City of Leuven is looking for five local ‘Sustainability Heroes’ to highlight during the ‘Week of the Sustainable Municipality’ in September. These are individuals or organizations that contribute to a more sustainable society in or from Leuven. The focus this year is on quality education and lifelong learning.
Since 2020, the local participation team leverages its CitizenLab engagement platform for this community-driven competition. To start, Leuven residents could nominate candidates until 21 May. In June, the community was invited to vote for the nominated individuals and organizations.
However, public votes are just one factor in the decision-making process. An expert jury will also evaluate the work of the nominees, ensuring a comprehensive assessment of their contributions to sustainability. The lucky five will be contacted by the city and will be celebrated in September.
Innovative and engaging initiatives like this competition can significantly drive community participation and interest, leading to an increase in new registrations. The thrill of competition, the spirit of community involvement, and the recognition of sustainable efforts all combine to create a compelling attraction for many people. This dynamic is clearly evident in the Leuven sustainable heroes initiative, which led to more than 600 new registrations on their engagement platform.
Antony surveys its residents to refine the redesign of a commercial street (France)
Antony’s main shopping street, Rue Auguste-Mounié, has long been a point of criticism due to daily traffic jams and the resulting pollution.
In September 2019, the French city asked its residents for their improvement suggestions and the response was resounding. With 5,200 community members responding, there was a clear desire for Rue Mounié to allocate more space to pedestrians. To put that into perspective, between 20,000 and 25,000 locals usually vote in elections.
Based on the earlier consultation, which Antony referenced in the information-sharing phase for this project, the city developed a regeneration plan that aligns with those outcomes. The Covid-19 pandemic caused some delay, but the plan is now ready to be put into action.
To further refine the details, the city is hosting a survey on its CitizenLab engagement platform. Here, residents can weigh in on elements such as desired plants, street furniture, and biking infrastructure for the redesigned street.