For the past several months, I’ve been helping to chart the development of PlanningPress, our web platform for engagement in urban planning projects. We’ve been working on it in partnership with the NYC Department of Transportation. PlanningPress powers DOT’s Transportation Feedback Portals. Each portal presents a project and helps the public to be part of the planning process.
Take a look at the Jackson Heights portal. The website introduces the changes proposed for the neighborhood and shows them in detail allowing people to comment on the plans. It lays out a timeline for events concerning the project, has an interactive map, news updates and other resources. NYCDOT used a portal to gather input on the forthcoming city-wide bike share and received over 10,000 suggestions for station locations in NYC.
At the moment, I’m working on improvements to the features that help cities present specific changes and get comments, like the Recommendations section on the Jackson Heights site. I’m making it easy for administrators to add new “slides” and group them by geography or topic. This will make it easier for staff to add and revise the proposals for a neighborhood as they receive feedback.
We want to make PlanningPress the best toolkit for inclusive, responsive, authentic citizen engagement in urban planning. Like our other projects at OpenPlans, PlanningPress is open source. We’re using WordPress, so we have a great foundation to build on. Check out the code and get involved!