​Tinder for cities: how tech is making urban planning more inclusive

​tinder for cities: how tech is making urban planning more inclusive
Mapping Greater Manchester can be used as a planning tool for potential developments

Having a say in what your city or neighbourhood should be like is often complicated, time-consuming and full of confusing jargon. A new wave of digital tools are trying to make the process transparent and interactive

Imagine if next time you saw a plan for an oversized monster tower block proposed for your street, you could get out your smartphone and swipe left to oppose it? Or see a carefully designed scheme for a new neighbourhood library and swipe right to support it?

Tinder for urban planning might sound far-fetched, but it is already being trialled in the sun-kissed Californian city of Santa Monica. City authorities are trying to gauge public opinion on everything from street furniture and parking, to murals and market stalls for their forthcoming urban plan, using a digital tool modelled on a dating app.

CitySwipe presents local residents with images of potential scenarios and simple yes/no questions, encouraging people to swipe through the options, as if assessing prospective partners. For the time being, it’s fairly basic: a photo of some street art appears with a caption asking: “Do you want more of this?” Folding cafe tables and chairs are shown next to pink park benches, asking: “Which do you prefer?”

It might sound superficial, but the questions move on to attitudes towards walking, bike lanes, housing and beyond. It makes the consultation process effortless, compared with the usual feedback mechanisms of filling in lengthy mailed-out response forms, downloading wordy PDFs, or being accosted by a chirpy volunteer with a clipboard.

It is one of the many tech tools cropping up in the world of town planning, in a bid to make what has always been an opaque and notoriously confusing system more transparent, inclusive and efficient for the public, planners and developers alike. […]

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
TITLE | Founder of Architecture Lab
About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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