Citizens have their say on land use in Vechta (GER)
A new website, www.raum-für-vechta.de, provides a platform for citizens to share their opinions on how certain areas of Vechta should be used in the future. Using the web-based application, developed in a joint project by the University of Vechta and Vechta City Council, members of the local community can currently rate up to six undeveloped areas in Vechta. The website is being tested by the council as an innovative method for urban planning.
The results will be evaluated by the council’s administrative arm and policymaking bodies. Citizens are asked to complete a questionnaire to rate the various areas – in full for the first one and then only a few questions for each of the subsequent areas. The website is a web-based geographical information system (GIS) for use by the public.
Planning for the future
The six areas of land currently included are intended as examples. There are no plans to develop them as yet. However, the more people that participate, the more Vechta City Council will be able to ensure that the selection of areas to be rated in Vechta and the questionnaire are improved on for potential use in the future. The long-term aim is for the local authority to be able to identify measurable potential conflicts of interest at an early stage and take them into account when planning.
City and University of Vechta joining forces
Local authorities draw up strategies for land use in their towns and cities, for example, for residential, industrial or recreational use. Varieties of legal aspects have to be considered in these processes. Often conflicting interests come up. The project is a response to the need to weigh up the different requirements and find solutions that serve everyone’s interests.
The university and Vechta City Council have created the new web application with the goal of being able to determine at an early stage how the local community would like to see land used. The findings can then also feed into the planning process. The platform can serve as an important information and decision-making tool for the administrative and policymaking bodies when deciding how land is to be used.