Swipe Right: How Technology is Making Urban Planning More Inclusive

Swipe Right: How Technology is Making Urban Planning More Inclusive

The process for giving your input on urban planning could be easier in the future - if you have a smartphone. 

In Santa Monica, California a new app called CitySwipe is being introduced to local residents. The app will present images of potential scenarios and simple yes/no questions, encouraging people to swipe left or right on their phone to vote. Currently the questionnaire is asking for basic information like if a bench or table and chairs would be preferred in a certain area.

image © City Swipe

image © City Swipe

Eventually the questions will become more influential and ask for the opinions of residents towards walking, bike lanes, housing, and more. So soon planners and developers can gather information that will ultimately make the town more resident focused.  

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The CitySwipe app is currently the only one released on the market, but that is expected to soon change. According to The Guardian, The Future Cities Catapult has uncovered a wealth of digital innovations that could lead towards a more data-driven planning system, making proposals more transparent and outcomes more certain for all parties involved. They recently launched an open call for ideas, with funding available to develop prototype tools to make the planning process fit for the 21st-century. 

Despite interest in integrating mobile applications with architecture, some companies are hesitant to release the technology within their city. One of the biggest concerns with using a digital app to gather information is the accessibility. Since not everyone has a smartphone or the digital literacy to interact with the app, the data collected could be a small sample size and actually less inclusive than the current process.


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