MinStad

Gothenburg, Sweden, makes its public planning process interactive with an online map.

The city of Gothenburg, Sweden, has taken a novel approach to getting locals involved in the planning process. Instead of relying only on public meetings and design charrettes, the city has developed an interactive and photorealistic 3D map that residents can use to drop in suggestions and ideas for improving their city.

MinStad, or "MyCity," is a localized version of Google Earth where residents can zoom in and around the city to identify places where better transit access is needed, or where additional housing should go, or even where a dilapidated building should be torn down. With a population of more than 500,000, Gothenburg is the second largest city in Sweden and it's actively trying to get more of its citizens involved in thinking about how the city should evolve.

The map highlights 10 specific neighborhoods, though the entire metropolitan area is included. Categories include walk, public transport, sporting, living, cycling, work, swimming, eat, nature, preserve, culture, sunbathing, and tear down, and suggestions so far have run the gamut. More than 200 have already been added since the site went public at the end of May.

In addition to posting their own ideas, users are invited to comment on and like the suggestions of others. So far the most "liked" idea – improving pedestrian access to the Låghöjds Bridge – has only five explicit supporters and one comment. The second most-liked idea is to extend a light rail line and link it with a tram.

Other suggestions include adding residential units to what's currently industrial space near the river, replacing the parking at a square with a public market, and preserving and activating the water channels leading to the port. Users can even import 3D models to help visualize their ideas, like this proposal for an amphitheater at the end of a large dock.

The site will be available until September, and officials are hoping more residents will contribute ideas to help guide future planning.

"Depending on the outcome, our ambition is to further develop the service with more and better functionality," the website proclaims. "Min Stad will be used as inspiration in our mission to build a sustainable and secure city."

Images courtesy MinStad

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