Lake Macquarie City Council

Lake Macquarie City Council created the "Shape Your Future"campaign, one of its most comprehensive engagement programs to date. The project ran over six months and led to the creation of a new City Vision and set of community values.

Lake Macquarie City Council
Lake Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia
To prepare a new 2050 vision of Lake Macquarie and identify a set of values to guide the look, feel and function of the City now and for the next few decades.
Key Project Highlights

6+ Minutes

People spend over 6 minutes on the site commenting, creating & engaging in discussions with other members of the community.

700+ Visitors

The project had an overwhelming response from the community receiving hundreds of views.

300+ Comments

The interactive map has received hundreds of comments and discussions so far.

This case study features Social Pinpoint’s legacy platform SPP Classic. 


Lake Macquarie City is located about 200kms north of Sydney, NSW and has a population of around 204,0000 people, making it the largest city in the Lower Hunter region.

A unique feature of the City is its geography – 95 towns and villages encircle the largest saltwater lake in the country. Lake Macquarie City Council has a strong commitment to public participation and has long been at the forefront of best practice community and stakeholder engagement. In fact, they were one of our very first clients, and have worked closely with our team to bring about many of our latest features including the stand-alone survey tool. The team at Lake Macquarie are passionate about interacting with the diverse communities around the City, and sharing in the enthusiasm for continuously improving the growing area. Check out how they used Social Pinpoint to present the draft capital works program for 2017-2018.

Lake Macquarie City Council is known for its highly interactive campaigns, such as the Smart City Ideas Wall project they did a few years ago to hear what the public wants and needs. They have won several engagement awards, including the 2016 NSW Local Government Excellence Award and more recently have been announced as a 2017 IAP2 Core Values Award finalist, recognising a culture of shared leadership.


Lake Macquarie City Council created the “Shape Your Future” campaign, one of its most comprehensive engagement programs to date. The project ran over six months and led to the creation of a new City Vision and set of community values that guide future planning, city growth, and development.

This new City direction directly informed the new long-term Community Strategic Plan, as well as Council’s four-year Capital Works program and 2017-2018 Operational Plan.

The project reached more than 170,000 people with more than 4000 participating directly in engagement activities that generated 1800 ideas and priorities for the City.

But, how did they inspire the thinking of an entire community? The team asked themselves a few key questions in the early planning phase to broaden their thinking and approach. Take a look at Council’s Shape Your Future Engagement Overview for more insight.

“Through the use of innovative engagement techniques – from virtual reality to parklets, interactive mapping and involvement of futurists, along with our marketing strategy – we were able to reach as many residents as possible and encourage them to actively be involved in the development of a new vision and set of values for Lake Macquarie City.”

– General Manager, Brian Bell

Implementing Social Pinpoint

To inspire and excite the thinking of a diverse community, the team devised a clever marketing strategy designed to ignite a response and start a conversation. “While a bridge across the lake, ferry, wind turbines and waterslide aren’t real proposals, they set the scene for envisioning what could be possible for Lake Macquarie in the future.

“The aim is to inspire big, creative thinking.” said a Council spokesperson.

They also used a range of online and offline tools to reach people and gather ideas. These ranged from the traditional methods, such as pop-ups stalls, online newspaper advertising, community forums and workshops, to the more innovative with the use of virtual reality, Social Pinpoint interactive mapping, guerrilla advertising tactics and a series of Future Forums with four leading futurists.

The team used Social Pinpoint to capture ideas in the early engagement phase to better understand what residents love about Lake Mac, what needs to be improved and ideas for the future. More than 5000 people visited the project website, with more than 680 people posting their ideas to the city-wide interactive map. These ideas were reviewed by the project team who took them to a series of community workshops to deepen the conversation about the future of the City. A community reference group were then tasked with the job of distilling these community aspirations and priorities to create a new City vision and set of community values.


Lake Macquarie’s vision and community values is setting the direction for the City. It’s response to change and growth is a promising step forward for the next 30 years.

A combination of online and offline tactics encouraged broad and diverse community participation, white community collaboration and ownership ensured a good outcome.


Social Pinpoint’s location-based platform helped manage, track and analyze a large amount of online community feedback. The combination of online and offline tactics helped to reach a wider community and increase participation rates.

Lake Macquarie’s engagement project was a huge success across all its platforms, leading to improved outcomes and community ownership. Although the Shape Your Future Social Pinpoint map is closed for comment, visitors can still view other responses.

What’s the next step? Lake Macquarie City Council is now developing a strategic land-use and transport plan to guide growth and development in the City toward 2050.


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