A digital engagement tool that relies on gamification elements could bring hard-to-reach community members, including time-strapped millennials, into Australia’s planning process.
The tool’s creator, founder and chief executive officer of UK-based Built-ID Savannah de Savary, has global ambitions for the tool and is in Australia teaching potential clients how it works.
The engagement tool allows developers and councils to reach a broader cross-section of the community when making development decisions rather than just the “vocal minority”.
“The majority don’t have the time or inclination to comment on planning proposals, including young professionals who work long hours.”
Community members who want to have a say on a new development simply vote on a range of “quick fire questions,” such as if the development should include a child care centre or other services.
The quick and easy interaction can be done by “waiting for a bus or while boiling pasta”, de Savary says.
The key gamification element is that each “vote” translates into donations to local charities by the property developers, including volunteering hours in some cases.
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This creates an incentive for younger people who don’t plan on sticking around for the long term.
“By engaging and giving the insight about the environment, you see immediate social impact.
“The more they vote the more points they gain.”
The tool also plays an educational role explaining the trade-offs inherent in all development decision-making due to restrictions on space.
“You can’t always have both a children’s playground and a water fountain.”
The company reaches people to engage with the tool by targeting people in the area with social media ads.
It’s a tool that appeals to young people but also reaches other demographics that traditionally miss out, such as non-English speakers thanks to the multi-language functionality.
For decision makers, the tool generates valuable data to make decisions that reflect the needs of the entire community.
Launched in April this year, the tool has been used on nearly 20,000 homes; by the City of London to consult on a major regeneration project; by the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council, and by private developers such as Grosvenor, and co-living company The Collective.