Building better neighbourhoods with Commonplace – Interview Mike Saunders
Public participation plays an important role in the effort to achieve net-zero carbon. For interventions to be effective, it is crucial that people are aware of them, and to have the full support of the community. Commonplace is a platform that helps identify what’s important to communities, helping to integrate feedback into planning decisions. hello energy spoke with their CEO, Mike Saunders, about the value of this community engagement tool.
76% of people in neighbourhoods want to be involved in planning; they just don’t know how to do it. And only 27% of residents think that voicing their opinions will make a difference. These are a few of the many insights gathered from the community members at Commonplace. Mike Saunders, CEO and Co-founder of Commonplace, says this is not due to a lack of people’s willingness to be involved, but because of other deciding factors: “There’s a lack of trust in government or councils and information about building projects is hard to access. The language that governments or councils use tends to be technical and difficult to understand. There’s also the public attitude that policy decisions are made behind closed doors.”
“The way that public engagement in urban planning and development works is as if it’s been set up to fail. There are so many barriers for residents to be involved. We want to break down those barriers to facilitate conversations and build better neighbourhoods in the process and involve everyone.“
In the interview, Mike talks about how people want to make their voices heard, but don’t have the tools or reach to make an impact.
Commonplace is helping to remove those barriers, by involving everyone, facilitating conversations (both online and offline) and building better neighbourhoods in the process. Their approach has been very successful: their platform consists of over 3.5 million residents and more projects are getting support because of the active engagement of the community.
Interested in reading about how Commonplace uses community engagement to influence planning decisions? Download our white paper on the ‘Art of Alignment to read the full interview.