The Environment and Planning Act: participation with YourView
Projects such as onshore wind farms, large housing projects and other assignments related to the climate and energy transition have a major spatial impact. This increases the importance of transparency and involvement in such projects. Citizens and other stakeholders want to know exactly what will happen, how long it will take and how it will be achieved.
The Environment and Planning Act makes participation mandatory, but does not prescribe what it should look like. Personal choices can be made for the design of the participation process, tailored to the location, type of decision, environment and stakeholders. And precisely because these parameters vary with each project or activity, the freedom of form of participation is welcome. It allows tailoring the intensity of the participation process to the project or activity.
Regarding the visualisation of the above-mentioned projects (wind farms etc.), technical 2D designs are often not sufficient (anymore) to show stakeholders the usefulness and necessity of the project. For many people, it is difficult to imagine based on a 2D design how it will turn out in reality. This may result in lower stakeholder involvement.
With our digital platform YourView, possibly complemented by virtual reality, stakeholders can gain insight and comment on a design in an accessible way. It is also possible to zoom in on a specific property to see the new situation compared to the current one.
The comments and opinions that stakeholders can post on YourView are visible to everyone. This ensures that questions like the following do not remain unanswered: Is there enough support for a decision? Have all stakeholders been involved? Have responses and opinions been processed in a clear and transparent manner?
Conversely, the initiator gains insight into stakeholder satisfaction with the participation process. This makes YourView a nice interactive addition to traditional forms of communication such as a newsletter and general information meetings.
YourView can also easily be linked to an existing project website. Indeed, the platform can also be expanded into a project website, where all information about the project can be easily found. Stakeholders are also kept informed about the project’s progress through the platform.
The tool was used during the Cruquius Bridge project in the province of North Holland. Stakeholders were able to very easily place a pin on the map with their comments via YourView. Actual changes were made and the design was optimised based on this input.
In short, YourView is an easily deployable and affordable participation tool, making it ideal for both large and small projects. The Environment and Planning Act makes participation mandatory; our tool provides a low-threshold solution.