Wednesday 20 October 2010

Waterproof post-it notes

Waterproof post-it notes don't exist. But if they did? Here's what I'd do. No barriers, right?

Imagine crowd sourcing taken to somewhere near the limits. Town planning. How many town planners actually live in the town they plan, I wonder. How many drive around the roads they one way systemise, how many use the ramps and diversions. Imagine if you could crowd source all the people who regularly use the physical infrastructure of the town or city where you live. All the footfall which passes across the pavements, all the people who pass through your local shopping centres shop doors. All the people who look for litter bins and can't find one, all the people who walk the streets and look for benches and can't find them. The people who cross roads and have to wait 10 minutes for a break in traffic, the people who walk along the darkened path and wonder why there are no streetlights.

Ask them. Open up your streets and ask them. Invite the curious, the residents, the armchair intelligent, the planning geeks and the planning bods from other Boroughs. Ask them to tell you where they'd like the bins to be. Where the pedestrian crossing should be moved to, why that sign is always pointing the wrong way and where the drop in the kerb is in absolutely the wrong place for the electric wheelchairs running over it. If waterproof post-it notes existed, by the end of the day, you should have a multi-coloured environment of suggestions and commentary, positive and negative, telling you exactly how the users of the world you've created feel about it when they try and interact with it.

Because waterproof post-it notes don't exist for the moment - why not use Google maps? It's got a zoom level accurate enough to suggest where a bin or a bench should be moved to. It's got a comment facility.

Just saying.

Ask. I think you might be surprised how many people would answer.

1 comment:

  1. Just found my way here from your MTB blog - I'd been wondering where you'd gone and missing your local government LJ posts as one of the only people online that I know who blogs about the world that I move in...

    I really like this idea. But (and there's always a but), planners really do get the shitty end of the stick a lot of the time as the number of different demands that they have to balance (e.g. highways, utilities, archaeology, transport, housing density, health and safety, biodiversity etc etc) means that all development is a compromise that ends up pleasing very few people very little of the time.

    What I'd like to see is more people taking part in their local communities. So many people just grumble about the way "the council" deals with things, but when challenged they will admit they've never contacted their local councillor about the things that annoy them, or responded to a planning application or LDF consultation about the future shape of their area.

    The Big Society is not going to work whilst people sit back and wait for others to do things for them in the way they want. It's a major concern that I have, this whole consultation thing that the government has gone on about in the planning green paper just won't work as you can't force people to take part in consultation or "good works" in the community.....