Citizen Collaboration & Engagement
Pop-up demonstration and pilot projects collaboratively engage community members to temporarily transform and co-create public spaces, including streets.
Delaware Complete Communities Planning Toolbox shares research and case studies that are intended to empower local planners and citizens to make changes to improve their communities. Often when professionals are hired to consult with a community they can bring in outsider expertise and methods, but they also risk miscommunication with the locals who have a wealth of knowledge to share and enthusiasm to get involved with changes. Pop-up demonstration and pilot projects are a way to reconcile the technical and theoretical expertise of outsiders with the experience and passion of local community members. Many community interventions involve some kind of citizen engagement, but too often that engagement is limited to a few meetings that share plans and allow for a few minutes of input. These kinds of meetings ask residents to react to proposals with little background information about the technical processes and theoretical reasoning behind them. Planning and implementing a pop-up demonstration or pilot project flips the script by putting the power in the hands of the public to make incremental change at a much smaller scale. The temporary, low-cost projects let people get more hands-on involvement alongside the professionals in charge of planning. Designing and implementing these projects allows the community to become co-creators, and breaks down barriers that can get in the way of successful communication and collaboration.
Pilot Projects in Action
Many public spaces are built from formal plans drawn up by experts and executed by employees of the city or a third party. The point of a pop-up demonstration or pilot project is to invite community members to get involved in a more informal construction that reclaims spaces that have previously been overlooked. Pilot projects start with modest, removable interventions that by nature are built to be adapted to changing situations.
Arki_Lab, an interdisciplinary urban design studio in Denmark, uses pilot projects to give citizens the opportunity to co-create, reimagine, and sustainably redesign existing spaces.