maanantai 24. maaliskuuta 2014

How do you imagine Vitoria-Gasteiz in 2025 – Experiences of citizen participation in urban planning using the Harava tool

Karmele Herranz-Pascual, Mª Carmen Paniagua, Beñat Abajo, Efren Feliu

Neighbourhood participation is one of the most relevant challenges in urban planning. The City Council of Vitoria-Gasteiz wants to involve as many citizens in the development of the new General Urban Plan with different levels and areas of participation: political, technical, professional and citizen participation. The aim of this participatory process is to create a constructive and positive discussion with the public, so they can make plural visions from all areas and contribute to building a debate on the future of the town and its rural areas. The project is called: How do you imagine Vitoria- Gasteiz in 2025?

The citizens have been participating through various channels adapted to everyone: web, social networks, public workshops… One of the tools was Harava-Vitoria, based on Harava platform developed by the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and the Finnish Ministry of Environment. This participation tool has been developed by a collaboration agreement between the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz (Planning Department) and Tecnalia Research and Innovation. Through the tool Tecnalia provides a support service, advice and monitoring to Vitoria-Gasteiz in this citizen participation process, helping to implement the survey tool designed in Harava and in their exploitation.

The platform seeks to explore new ways to improve urban planning integrating new technologies, spatial analysis and social participation about the 11 main axes of the revision of the General Urban Plan of the city. Participation is done through an online questionnaire associated with digital and geo-referenced cartography of the municipality. The survey was open to all citizens, via its website for three months.

In this process 300 citizens participated, 94% of participants lived in Vitoria-Gasteiz mainly in urban areas. In this process, the citizens gave information about 2,497 spatial elements. The results show that citizens go to the City Centre once a week, mainly for leisure, work or shopping while the settlements and rural areas are visited eventually for sport and leisure activities. The whole city and especially the old town need more trade and economic activities (small businesses) to become a more liveable place. New neighbourhoods need better bike and pedestrian connections and public transport too. Citizens perceive negatively city areas in disrepair or halfbuilt, which are regarded as abandoned and unsafe, while they considered sites with building heritage and public places to enjoy their leisure time in, as positive.

As conclusion can be said, that Harava platform has demonstrated to be a good participatory tool to gather interesting information to guide the review of the Master Plan for Urban development (or Urban zoning), integrating spatial and alphanumeric variables, permitting to identity needs and improved areas in the city, as well as citizen uses, perceptions and values about city of Vitoria-Gasteiz. However, some improvements would be needed to increase the efficiency of this tool. To facilitate the work of analyzing the information gathered may be necessary the incorporation of a previous process of spatial information to be able to statistically analyze geo-referenced information. From of point of view of the citizen, it would be necessary to give some kind of feedback information of their participation or comparing it with other related participants.

The writers are involved with the “How do you imagine Vitoria-Gasteiz in 2025” project in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. Herranz-Pascual, Abajo and Feliu work for Tecnalia Research & Innovation, whereas Paniagua is integrant of the Office for the Review of the Master Plan of Vitoria-Gasteiz.

Suomenkielinen tiivistelmä
Haravan maailmanvalloitus Espanjassa on vauhdissa: Vitoria-Gasteizin kaupungin Harava-kysely on päättynyt ja tuloksia on analysoitu. Kysely tehtiin yleiskaavan kehittämisen tueksi. Siihen vastasi 300 kaupungin asukasta, jotka kertoivat käyvänsä kaupungin keskustassa pääasiassa työn vuoksi, vapaa-aikana tai ostoksilla, kun taas kaupungin laitamilla urheilemassa tai muuten nauttimassa vapaa-ajasta. Kaupunkilaiset toivoivat kaupunkiin parempia kevyenliikenteen yhteyksiä, julkista liikennettä sekä lisää eloa esimerkiksi uusien kauppojen myötä. Harava-palvelu toimi hankkeessa osallistumisen välineenä hyvin, mutta palvelun kehittämiseksi entistä paremmaksi olisi hyvä, että kyselyn tekijä voisi analysoida kyselynsä vastauksia palvelun avulla, ja että vastaaja saisi kyselyyn vastattuaan palautetta osallistumisestaan tai voisi esimerkiksi vertailla muiden antamia vastauksia omiinsa. Kirjoittajat työskentelevät kaupungin hankkeen parissa.

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