Client: Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE)
Location: New South Wales, Australia
Goal: The Parks for People program is an ambitious initiative to set a new benchmark for high-quality open spaces that will in turn be legacy spaces for future generations.
Social Pinpoint recently had the opportunity to speak with Manon Lapierre, Communications Advisor at the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) on how Social Pinpoint has been used across their Parks for People program to enhance their online community engagement strategy.
In 2019, the NSW Premier announced the $150 million Strategic Open Space program to secure and improve open spaces across Greater Sydney. The Parks for People program is the initial $50 million that is being invested across Greater Sydney to create better access to open space.
Aiming to enhance the quality of life for the people of NSW, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) in partnership with local councils and the community, will deliver new or improved parks that can be enjoyed by the community. This focus will be on enhancing and creating enjoyable public open spaces for the community as a place to relax, exercise, have fun, connect with families and friends and breathe in the beauty of well-designed spaces.
The Parks for People program is an ambitious initiative to set a new benchmark for high-quality open spaces that will in turn be legacy spaces for future generations. With this in mind, the vision and ideas of the community and its stakeholders, combined with innovative design, will inform the creation of the right type of park for each of the eight diverse and resilient parks across Greater Sydney.
Understanding What the Community Cares About with Social Pinpoint
“Understanding what the community cares about—what their values are—is the starting point for developing a park that feels welcoming and inclusive to the diverse range of users”
DPIE have utilised Social Pinpoint’s digital tools across their Parks for People program to prioritise community involvement in the creation of public spaces. There are three phases of engagement throughout this program, with a mix of Social Pinpoint tools being implemented at each new touchpoint.
Throughout 2020, DPIE were unable to undertake face-to-face engagement due to the COVID-19 pandemic and needed to create an online space for community consultation. Therefore, DPIE built a dedicated Engagement Hub to consistently inform each community of any news or upcoming updates related to each dedicated Social Pinpoint Parks for People project.
“We use a variety of tools on our engagement hubs that are interactive, funky and promote transparency! We want to make it a safe place for the people of NSW to have their say.”
In Phase 1, DPIE provided each local community with a Social Pinpoint Interactive Map to help identify areas that either need to be protected or improved. During this phase, community values and ideas will be used to develop and inform future draft Concept Designs. The example below features the Interactive Map for Frenchs Forest.
During Phase 2, DPIE is engaging with each community to provide feedback on the draft concept designs via Social Pinpoint’s Ideas Wall. This consultation enables DPIE to reaffirm any technical research and design decisions with further community feedback and input.
The Ideas Wall for George Kendall Riverside Park has allowed the community to take a closer look at the options for the draft concept design. Having such a transparent and collaborative environment for feedback has enabled the community to come together and highlight their preference for Option 2.
As DPIE enter into Phase 3, each final design will be presented to the public and “illustrate how community input has helped shape the key features and characteristics of each park” with Social Pinpoint.
Shaping Future Designs with Social Pinpoint
An essential measure of success for any engagement project is ensuring you are engaging enough… and that you are engaging with a diverse selection of your community. With Social Pinpoint, DPIE were able to increase their engagement rates drastically. On some of their more recent projects, DPIE reached engagement rates of 60%, which is huge, as it usually sits between 12-20%.
These tools are great alternatives to formal submissions, people can share their opinion quickly and easily and can react to comments from others, plus it is totally mobile friendly and therefore COVID safe.
DPIE also noticed that traditionally, their community information sessions see a predominantly older demographic, but by using Social Pinpoint, it was incredibly efficient in reaching their younger demographics. This increase in diversity has also led to easier and more informed decision-making for DPIE, especially when combined with sentiment analysis.
Social Pinpoint’s sentiment analysis offered optimised feedback processing for DPIE as the visual data can easily depict whether a project has been positive or negative. This is incredibly useful for their planning teams when needing to review all of the comments against formal submissions and survey responses, thus eliminating administrative time and increasing data processing output.
Project Promotion is Easy with Social Pinpoint
Integrating Social Pinpoint across social media channels to increase visits, responses and comments has been very effective for DPIE. They have complimented this digital marketing strategy with creative letterbox drops featuring postcards with QR codes on them. Social Pinpoint’s responsive design has allowed DPIE to instantly direct specific community audiences to their dedicated Parks for People project on any device, at any time.
Social Pinpoint enabled DPIE to build a dedicated Engagement Hub to easily connect and update with all local communities.
Engagement rates reached 60% during Parks for People, which is a huge increase as this usually sits between 12-20%.
By using Social Pinpoint, DPIE quickly saw that it was incredibly efficient in reaching younger demographics.