We don’t need to reinvent the wheel on this! There are good examples of community involvement in city regeneration. A good current example is the Central Winchester Regeneration planning process. Here’s an outline of the process that Winchester City Council adopted to create their Winchester Vision.
- The city council decided to work towards a focus of a Community Planning Weekend where all residents would be urged to contribute
- They started by establishing a database of stakeholders, starting with 200. This was continuously amended, rising to 850 stakeholders, including business, community groups, landowners, BID, public bodies, voluntary organisations etc
- To draw attention to the Community Planning Weekend, the city council held a launch event with invited stakeholders and media
- There set up community roadshows in the market, train station, community centres, and other locations, telling people about the planning process, about the site and about the CPW
- Separate sessions were held at the local college, a school, businesses, the market, and in a church setting – they wanted to reach all parts of the community and ensure people came to the CPW
- Flyers were distributed to 13,000 households telling them about the CPW
- A dedicated website was set up about the regeneration project, a contact email was advertised, along with a telephone information line
- Comments and feedback forms were distributed in a range of locations
- A banner was hung across the high street to advertise and promote the CPW, there were press releases and social media was used to urge people to attend
- 700 people came to the CPW – there were practical exercises for people of all ages and abilities, 1:1 sessions, walkabouts, design sessions, and people could drop in or stay as long as they wanted. Skilled facilitators were present throughout
- Following the CPW there were surveys and questionnaires to capture Gen X, on the street, at bus station and car parks
- There was a special workshop with the enterprise and creative communities to capture their ideas and expertise
- The built form of Winchester was analysed and an emerging design framework was presented to an informal policy group and comments requested
All of this data was distilled into key themes that mattered to the people of Winchester. These key themes are used to guide the design and also to provide a framework for judging emerging design.