e-System for Real Time Democratic
Land-Use Planning of Urban Environment -
Pilot Action in Narva Community::
The aim of the project "eCommunity" is to
apply innovative web-based software solutions, which will
promote the concept of e-democracy by enabling exchange of
opinions and information. That will help raising public awareness.
A further aim is to produce results that can be reproduced in spatial
planning and policymaking processes at a local level. The final
goal of the project is to demonstrate a system as a tool for
urban planning in the EU.
The developped eCommunity tool is an internet
based city planning tool with the following objectives:
Promote sustainable and democratic urban planning by using
opportunities offered by IT;
Promote concept of e-democracy by enabling exchange of opinions
To raise public awareness and involvment;
To create a system as a tool for urban planning.
Much like the common skill of interpreting realism through the
television, the initial idea of our project is the creation of a
3D computer model of an existing environment in a real-time modeling
software package what is easily understandable for everyone.
The citizens, who are usually turned off by the static and seemingly
finished quality of an artist rendering or physical
model, will more likely feel informed and empowered at first sight
of a non-static, changeable visualization that stunningly shows
the proposed changes to their neighborhood. Citizens often do not
feel compelled to participate simply because they dont fully
understand how a certain planning proposal will affect their lives
in direct ways, dont have enough time to do the research,
and simply dont feel equipped to make decisions.
The idea of having to learn a lot to interpret a design or understand
the complexities of a planning proposal is what often discourages
citizens from participating in the decision-making process. Upon
the realization that one will have access to such an intuitive technique
to make informed decisions, the barriers between institution and
the citizen will begin to break through. Participation will become
less feared task, and the invitation becomes more open for citizens
to vote for a proposal or to contact the local planning representative
or even to participate in a public workshop. Thus, the communication
of the technologys availability is vital.
When tool is used, citizens are no longer limited to being a passive
audience that simply sees a proposed design in all its beauty, but
they become active participants. During the planning process, citizens
and community leaders alike will be able to work interactively in
front of a computer. By simple movements of the mouse, they will
be able to walk up to their own front porch, looking at the proposed
shopping mall alternatives across the street from virtually any
angle. The changes from the discussion can be viewed interactively
again and design issues can be revisited or introduced by the participants.
Participating can ultimately fuel ideas, bringing them to life and
fostering clearer communication for consensus building.
The eCommunity project goal is to promote sustainable and democratic
urban planning by using opportunities offered by modern information
technologies and the Internet. The project will apply innovative
web-based software solutions to make available information on the
town spatial planning and development to the town citizens as well
as to interested organizations and persons internationally in order
to promote involvement of public into making decisions on the issues
of local development and to increase investments into the economy
of the Narva municipality. It is hoped that the project will demonstrate
use of the system as a tool for urban planning; if this project
experience is positive, the same tool could be used also in urban
planning in other towns and regions across Europe.
The eCommunity project promotes more transparency in decision-making
in Narva town and therefore offers a window of opportunity to the
Narva municipality to develop a more effective dialogue with the
town inhabitants and better understanding among the public of decisions
adopted by the municipality.
Creation of the eCommunity web-based information system implies
development of the "virtual reality" where the town spatial
plans drawn by specialists will have their own 3D spaces, realistic
models of the planned area, which can be virtually walked through
and where citizens will have possibilities to make additions and
corrections to the plans and transfer it automatically to a new
3D model representing recent changes. The system is planned to be
able to accept user requests in a fuzzy human form and convert it
to a specification of what is to be displayed and how. This innovative
IT tool will allow to synthesizes concrete decisions from statements
made by citizens, giving the decision-making process a new democratic
identity in real time.
The system available through the regular Internet system will be
developed tailor made to needs of specific stakeholder groups and
will include components such as an investor web or a
tourist web sites. The system will include a wide range
of thematic information sub-systems, such as a city master plan,
a thematic plan of bicycle traffic, a public transport agenda; a
thematic park of old town; etc.
Main tasks of the partners:
Management - Hendrikson & Ko
Sustainability issues - SERI
Research in Narva - Peipsi CTC
Creation of User Interface - Infinity Ltd.
Creation 3D modules - Network Models
Creation of process and security layer - IDEC SA
Creation of database layer - IDEC SA
Integration of the system - Infinity Ltd.
System launch in Narva Community - Narva Municipality
Dissemination - Hendrikson & Ko
System launch in society - Hendrikson & Ko
The project is financed 47% from EU LIFE Environment programme
and 53% from partners