Residential participation in municipal project results in a skate-park and more
Seinäjoki, a medium sized Finnish city, undertook a project to develop the underutilized recreational area of Sahanlampi. To motivate people to use the recreational area the city decided that people should be involved in its development and remodel. The city partnered with Future Dialog to support the engagement required to involve the wider community in such a project.
The foundation of the project rested on involving and understanding the perspectives of the public. Community members were engaged to participate through workshops and engagement software, such as Seinäjoki’s community engagement app Rinki. The workshops were held in the local schools. The primary driver was to involve young people in idea creation for the project. More than 60 youth participated in the workshops bringing their unique energy and perspective.
Via both the engagement software and the workshops participants were asked what sort of things should be developed in the different zones of the recreational area. Participants commented on and submitted votes for different concepts in the different zones.
The project received thousands of data points collected from hundreds of residents. Which is a notable achievement for a town with a population of around 60,000. Some of the most popular ideas, which will be included in the development plans, were:
· skate park
· kiosk for snacks and drinks
· public sauna
· multi use playing fields
· Pump track
· clear nature path included
"The answers of young people were in line with all the other respondents. It was interesting how the young people highlighted the diversity of the area’s designs. This will be considered in further planning.” says Seinäjoki’s Interaction Manager - Kirsi Mattila
Seinäjoki city will use the data collected from participants in the final development plans of the area’s remodel. This case highlights the importance of local participation as a key driver for project sustainability and community commitment.
The results of the questionnaire and info about the Sahanlampi project can be found here: Results (In Finnish)
For more case studies like this one, look at what the city of Hyvinkää is doing in the field of digital community engagement and check out what community engagement means in the context of politics from our interview with The Swedish People's Party of Finland.
Key words: stakeholder management, community management, customer understanding, stakeholder commitment, project sustainability