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One of the greatest challenges to public consultation and the community engagement process is the misguided quest by placemakers for unanimous agreement. The complex reality is that there is not one, single unified ‘community’. In real life, when considering one development in one neighbourhood, there will be overlapping communities that are already in conflict (for example, private vs. social housing, owners vs. tenants, generational vs. newbies).

Not only does the community as a whole have conflicting or competing priorities, but in many cases, individuals have that too. For example, individuals might have the need for local employment yet are resistance to increased industrialisation or they might have the need for further school places yet not want to amalgamate senior schools. Real life is messy.

The purpose, therefore, is not to surmount all of these individual objections or try to cajole unanimous agreement, but rather to focus on the bigger picture – a common vision for the neighbourhood and engender commitment from all sides to work towards it. This is more likely to achieved when all sides feel that they have contributed and been heard.

As we embrace greater building heights and urban density, which are to be delivered at rapid pace, it has never been more important to engender community support and cooperation. In its simplest form, digital placemaking leverages the power of emerging technologies and social media to increase community engagement by meeting citizens where they are, online.

PLACEengage is your digital town hall, allowing you to fully experience proposed new property developments and share views from your smartphone 24/7. Contact us at www.PLACEengage.com for further information.

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