The Power of Community Engagement and Spatial Planning

In this new era of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act (LURA), where England’s Central Government aims to bridge regional disparities and empower local communities, innovative tools like Maptionnaire and Objective Keyplan will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of urban planning.

In the modern dance of urban development, one of the most valuable steps is the Call for Sites—a process by which local authorities identify potential areas for development or redevelopment through crowdsourcing. Councils ask for any interested parties (including landowners and developers) to propose land sites which may have potential for future development, to support housing or employment in the area.

The Call for Sites process has the potential to not only shape the physical landscape of our cities but also profoundly impact the lives of residents. To streamline this process and foster community engagement, innovative solutions like Maptionnaire and Objective Keyplan are coming together to offer a comprehensive end-to-end solution for urban planning.

Maptionnaire: Empowering Community Voices

Maptionnaire is a powerful visual tool designed to facilitate community engagement in urban planning. Unlike traditional methods that rely on hand-drawn annotations to physical maps or geotagging survey response data, Maptionnaire allows residents to directly interact with maps, e.g. drawing polygons and lines to indicate potential development sites or areas for redevelopment or by marking points to share insights with actual coordinates. This allows Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) to conduct assessments on factors such as fire risk and contamination, ensuring that development decisions are informed by comprehensive data. Mapping information can be immediately viewed alongside other Corporate GIS data.

This sets Maptionnaire apart in its ability to capture proper GIS data from community engagement. This is far superior to traditional methods of receiving an annotated physical map or image and then having to redraw the site in a digital tool, or where they have to associate a single point location with an actual land parcel definition.

With Maptionnaire, LPAs can reach out to the community and gather valuable insights through ongoing events where residents can contribute their input at any time. This approach not only ensures transparency but also empowers residents to actively participate in shaping the future of their neighbourhoods.

Objective Keyplan: Integrating Spatial Data Management

Complementing Maptionnaire is Objective Keyplan—a platform that bridges the gap between spatial data and policy development. As local authorities collect site information through Maptionnaire, Objective Keyplan provides a centralised repository for storing and managing this data.

Objective Keyplan creates a spatial portal that makes this digital plan information accessible to the public. Through this portal, residents can explore detailed maps, policies, and rules associated with development sites. And these benefits go beyond the crowdsourcing of potential sites.

As urban development plans are progressed, keeping the community up to date is critical. By allowing the community to subscribe to a location, LPAs can use Keyplan to provide notifications when new or updated information relevant to that location is released. This approach ensures that the community is kept informed about changes that may affect them, making it easier to raise awareness, and address concerns or questions from residents. To find out more about Objective Keyplan’s complete GIS capabilities read this blog: Geospatially surface your plans and policies.

A Unified Solution for Urban Planning

As LURA works towards creating a more prosperous and equitable future for all, the combination of Maptionnaire and Objective Keyplan offers a powerful toolkit for achieving these objectives. With the partnership between Maptionnaire and Objective Keyplan, LPAs can streamline the entire planning process—from community engagement to data management and public consultation. This unified solution ensures that planning decisions are inclusive, transparent, and grounded in robust data — a vision that embodies the spirit of Levelling Up.