Case Study – Place-making

Place-making Case Study


Client: Dakota County

Location: Dakota County – East Lake Byllesby Regional Park Master Plan

Goal: To update the Lake Byllesby Regional Park Master Plan. This includes adding a new Interpretation and Natural Resources Management Plan for the park.



Dakota County is in the Upper Midwestern region of the United States of America. The County is currently updating the 2005 Lake Byllesby Regional Master Plan and developing a new Natural Resources Management Plan for the park.

The masterplan is proposed to be a 10-25 year vision for the park. It's purpose is to guide future decision about park activities, capital investment and natural resource restoration. An updated master plan is needed to reflect changes to the area over last 10 years including a new bridge that connects Lake Byllesby parks.

The project strategy consists of four stages.

Phase One:
Organising the project and defining the process to follow.

Phase Two:
Identifying the issues, opportunities and needs of the community. This involved engaging with residents through an online questionnaire which helped develop two proposed concepts.

Phase Three:
Establishing a vision and exploring alternative designs and policy concepts to reflect the vision.

Phase Four:
To determine the preferred concept and future direction of the area.


Based on previous consultation with the community through an Open House and online questionnaire in 2016, Dakota County worked with planners and landscape architects HKGi to develop two proposed concepts for the location.

Both concepts were aimed at addressing the need for additional outdoor recreational activities, like camping, hiking water activities and family-friendly parks. The two proposed concepts were presented to the community who were asked for their input (Phase three).

The purpose of this phase was to listen to the public and establish their preferred concept. To do so, the County needed to find a way to engage with a large proportion of local residents and have a platform to easily manage and analyse the data.

Solution - Implementing Social Pinpoint

Community input on the concepts involved a range of activities using both digital and traditional platforms.

HKGI worked with Social Pinpoint to develop two customised interactive maps for local residents to participate on. Both maps utilized Social Pinpoint's advanced basemap functionality including custom satellite imagery and embedding the concept design into the map. HKGi also used Social Pinpoint's Geo-Survey functionality linked to Sidebar tabs to show different levels of detail and break the concept up into five different categories:

  • Passive recreation & circulation
  • Active recreation
  • Accommodations
  • Natural resource management
  • Interpretation
Users were able to answer a short survey in the sidebar tab, and drop markers onto the map to give their location-based feedback.

The Social Pinpoint map was mainly designed to help:

  • Create an interactive platform to communicate two proposed concepts and ideas.
  • Incorporate a survey. This includes the drag and drop comment markers, Geosurveys and basemap customization to understand resident's preferences between the different concepts.
  • Include information and concept 'mood-board' imagery in sidebar tabs to allow participants to read and gain greater knowledge about the designs before filling out the survey.

The simple use of these tools made it easy for residents to communicate their thoughts and opinions about the concept designs.


There were many opportunities for the community give their input across many platforms including the Social Pinpoint interactive map, community open house and stakeholder meetings and community meetings.
10+ Minutes

People spend up to 10 minutes on the site commenting, creating & engaging in discussions with other members of the community.

200+ 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.


By utilizing a range of engagement activities including Social Pinpoint, Dakota County and HKGi were able to gather really high-quality data and location-based feedback to help develop the preferred design for the masterplan for the Lake Byllesby region that meets the needs of the community.

Providing opportunities for the community to engage online and face-to-face allowed a higher cross-section of the community to get involved in decisions that impact them. By involving the community at the concept design phase, Dakota County will be confident in their decision making for the project.

The project created two proposed concepts to take into consideration. Research for both concepts has been concluded and the project is at the stage of making a final verdict for the preferred concept for the park. At the end of the engagement process, Dakota County formed an Community Engagement Summary to inform the Community about the most common responses and take-away points from each concept.