The toolkit is a free-to-access resource that outlines the key steps and principles to enable equal access to opportunities and resources during consultation and engagement processes.
Community Consultation for Quality of Life is a major research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council to develop a new, map-based model of community engagement that takes place both online and face-to-face across the UK.
Says Stephanie Edwards, Founding Director at Urban Symbiotics and one of the toolkit's creators: 'Inclusion in engagement is central to delivering a democratic planning system and essential for creating places that work well for as many people as possible.'
She adds: 'A survey of Civic Voice members found that those actively engaging, in this case opposing development, tended to be owner-occupiers, live in villages, be over the age of 45, come from a two-adult and children household and are retired.
'Other statistics include that just 5% of neighbourhood plans completed (community-informed plans to drive change) are in urban areas, with only 6.7% of neighbourhood planning areas in places classified as most deprived.'
The toolkit will be of interest to anyone interested in undertaking or participating in an inclusive engagement process, including community groups, individuals and built environment professionals.
It is also aimed at companies or institutions that develop or shape new places, such as local authorities, resident associations, charities and developers.
The toolkit offers seven simple and easy to use steps for undertaking inclusive community engagement for planning.
A collaboration with the universities of Reading, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Ulster, the project is testing different ways of doing community engagement well – using digital mapping, urban rooms and community outreach.
Working across urban areas in each of the four nations, the project is gathering data and engaging in conversation about what does and doesn’t work, what challenges exist and what can be done to overcome them.
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