By Dianne Knott | 27 Sep 2018

At its heart, the job of the urban specialists is to shape great cities and places – for people.

But people are often on the periphery – not at the centre – of city shaping change. Whether driven by disinterest and disengagement or active opposition and outrage, genuine participation is often missing from the equation.

Bringing people back to the centre of planning is our collective challenge as city-shapers. We know that an active and engaged citizenry is a core part of a city’s success and resilience. And that effective and genuine community engagement enables that participation.

But how do we achieve that in a world of very limited trust?

Since 2000, the Edelman Trust Barometer has been measuring citizen trust in media, business, government and NGOs. It has become the global benchmark for public trust in institutions over this time.

Australia is in an interesting position here – affluent and optimistic but equally cynical and mistrustful. In the 2018 poll, trust in Australia continued to decline across the four sectors. We’re now just four percentage points above the world’s least trusting country, Russia. And we’re one of eight countries that exhibited “extreme trust losses” over the last year, alongside countries including Colombia, Brazil, South Africa, India and US. 

How do we engage – and build genuine participation – in this environment of very low trust that we’re all living in?

How do we move people from the periphery to the centre of decisions that affect the cities they live and work in?

Working across Urbis – combining our skills in economic, social and consumer research, urban planning and urban design – Urbis Engagement is a truly integrated part of our offer. Not an afterthought. Our evidence-based approach draws on our collective Urbis expertise. It puts people at the centre of planning.

What this means for our clients, is:

  • Attracts and involves a broader spectrum of people who hold a range of views – not just those who are opposed to a project or plan.
  • Provides you with valid data of current, trending or changing community sentiment on development issues.
  • Generates compelling, easy to understand insights in to community sentiment – helping decision-making.

People-centred planning is evidence based, drawing on and supported by valid data. It is experiential, as it involves people in a positive engagement experience. And with Urbis’ city-shaping expertise, it’s fundamental to the success of your development.

Our aim is to help you make the right decisions and achieve remarkable outcomes. Contact our expert team to learn how.

Dianne Knott View Profile