The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis


CASA Working Paper 60


1 December 2002

Online Participation: The Woodberry Down Experiment

The internet and world wide web are generating radical changes in the way we are able to communicate. Our ability to engage communities and individuals in designing their environment is also beginning to change as new digital media provide ways in which individuals and groups can interact with planners and politicians in exploring their future.

This paper tells the story of how the residents of one of the most disadvantaged communities in Britain - the Woodberry Down Estate in the London borough of Hackney - have begun to use an online system which delivers everything from routine services about their housing to ideas about options for their future. Woodberry Down is one of the biggest regeneration projects in Western Europe. It will take at least 10 years, probably much longer, to complete, at a cost of over £150 million. Online participation is one of the many ways in which this community is being engaged but as we will show, it is beginning to act as a catalyst. The kinds of networks which are evolving around systems like these will change the nature of participation itself, the ways we need to think about it, and the ways we need to respond. Before the experiment is described, we set the context by describing the wide range of digital media for communicating plans and planning which suggests a new typology for web participation consistent with this fast emerging network culture.

This working paper is available as a PDF. The file size is 1,586KB.

Authors: Michael Batty, Andrew Hudson-Smith, Steve Evans, Susan Batty

Publication Date: 1/12/2002

Download working paper No. 60.