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Increasing digitisation and the pervasiveness of social media has transformed placemaking over the past decade, however, the big success stories tend to come from developing countries where public consultation and community engagement are relatively new. In Ireland and the UK, public consultation is still, at worst, a political headache for developers (even State developers) and, at best, a tick-box exercise on the way to planning compliance.

We are still finding our feet when it comes to meaningful and actionable community engagement. There is, perhaps, a lack of appreciation for the commercial potential of tapping into such a data-rich resource. But this is changing. Stakeholders now realise that the current pre-planning public consultation process does not encourage real engagement, generally only objections. It has grown to be adversarial in nature, not by design but rather by unwitting acquiescence.

“Experience shows that the interests of local authorities, private developers and citizens are far more aligned in terms of values and priorities than our adversarial public consultation process would have us believe.”

There is certainly a move to curb this among progressive local authorities but NIMBYism is causing major disruption and delays in the planning process. This is where new technologies can facilitate change and Ireland is showing great promise in this emerging sector. In fact, Proptech Ireland, the not-for-profit organisation supporting innovators of technologies designed for or used by the planning, construction and property industries in Ireland was recently awarded the status of ‘Partner City’ by Leading Cities. The Boston-based Leading Cities organisation is the global leader in Smart City solutions, city diplomacy and collaboration, advancing sustainability and resilient city strategies and technologies.

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 for further information.