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Digital tools and community engagement – the experience of Delib Citizen Space

Our interest in how digital tools are helping developers and LPAs to listen to locals continues apace, and in this guest blog Dani Topaz from Delib shares her views on how her organization is supporting community engagement.

Place is perhaps one of the most important considerations that can be made by governments right now. Against a backdrop of a climate emergency, widening inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic, and now a global cost of living crisis, making better, greener places has never been more important.

The importance of placemaking is a drum I keep banging, and it features often in the work I and we do at Delib, a digital democracy company that was founded in 2001. We provide community engagement software to councils and government departments around the world in the hopes of increasing access to democratic decision-making for citizens everywhere. Our flagship platform is called Citizen Space.

Naturally, as a company that works with a lot of local authorities, our customers run a lot of consultations and engagement activities about planning and placemaking. Local plans, public realm improvements, bus route changes, clean air zones, flood resilience, pelican crossing installations, you name it. It was for this reason we created a geospatial engagement tool, using interactive mapping as a method of both getting richer data for organisations and making participation easier for citizens. (It’s much easier to mark your cycle route on an interactive map than it is to describe it in words, for example.)

You can have a look at what activities - place-based and otherwise - people are running on the Citizen Space Aggregator. It collates most of the public engagement activities across our customer base. It’s useful to see which activities are being run by your council or authority, and to check out what other organisations are up to as well. We encourage all our customers to engage in a way that’s open and transparent, so the Aggregator adds an extra layer of working out in the open.

Making places that are adaptable to climate change and resilient to the needs of growing and ageing populations the world over won’t happen in a way that works without honest, accountable and earnest community engagement and co-creation.

Communities in London boroughs of Hounslow, Camden, and RBKC have engaged with their local authorities through Delib’s tools for a variety of initiatives. All initiatives using the Citizen Space tool can be referenced through an aggregator, available here.

Do you have an interest in or experience with community engagement using digital tools and platforms? We’d love to hear about it.


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