Round 2 of the PropTech Engagement Fund will support projects that demonstrate how to incentivise communities to positively engage in planning conversations through guidance on the trade-offs and wider benefits of development.
Up to 10 projects will be selected for funding in Round 2. We welcome both individual and joint applications from LPAs:
- Individual LPAs can apply for up to £125,000
- Joint LPA projects can apply for up to £300,000
Selected projects will aim to demonstrate how digital citizen engagement can:
- incentivise communities to positively engage in planning conversations
- engage a more representative range of citizens in decision-making
- inform community on trade-offs and outcomes through development
- establish meaningful baseline data and, where possible, integrate digital and traditional engagement best practice
We encourage applications that focus on how more inclusive community feedback can, and has, been used to inform the design and delivery process, to enable a culture of co-design and increase public interest and participation.
Each of the funded projects will procure and implement a digital engagement tool or service. We expect that local authorities will purchase and adopt existing products in the marketplace rather than develop new custom solutions, in order to reduce delivery time and costs required. However, where appropriate, digital enhancements may be included to optimise existing platforms.
Local authorities will be able to apply to deliver a digital engagement project addressing one of the five following themes:
Theme 1: Masterplanning
Masterplanning provides a unique opportunity to fast-track delivery of large scale regeneration projects, often in opportunistic growth areas that deliver compounding economic and social development outcomes. However, it is often challenging for local authorities to undertake effective consultation given the scale and distance between community groups and projects, especially in rural areas.
Local authorities addressing Theme 1 will leverage digital solutions to proactively engage with communities to inform masterplanning, and to connect with online audiences that are not restricted in participation by traditional physical boundaries.
This could include:
- using digital platforms to identify community priorities and aspirations for housing
- help communities understand the trade-offs involved in wider regeneration
- develop interim place-making and activation plans, and
- leverage local advocacy and pride of place to inform their delivery strategies.
Theme 2: Council-Led Development
Adopting digital solutions can help LPAs engage with a broader online audience, including hard-to-reach demographics and people who may not have traditionally engaged in consultations.
Local authorities addressing Theme 2 will adopt existing platforms which can engage with a diverse range of citizens to shape housing delivery strategies and help identify wider community outcomes. These projects could include individual or portfolio sites, and include projects where local authorities are working in a joint venture with delivery partners.
Theme 3: Estate Regeneration
Estate regeneration is an important mechanism to maximise the highest and best use of housing estates by delivering new homes, and improving housing quality and wellbeing for residents.
Local authorities addressing Theme 3 will leverage digital solutions to make community involvement more accessible and engaging at different stages of Estate Regeneration.
This could include:
- using digital platforms to connect with broader community members (existing and future).
- discussing the trade-offs inherent in development and building advocacy and support through more proactive engagement strategies.
Theme 4: Community Development
Greater transparency and outreach can help local authorities to align community priorities and funding opportunities.
Local authorities addressing Theme 4 will adopt digital solutions that help increase transparency in how community funding and infrastructure can be allocated, to raise awareness of the benefits of regeneration and enable wider public participation in designing local areas. This theme could include projects which create more transparency around allocation of S106, developer contributions and/or other local funding restoring pride in communities and places.
Theme 5: Wildcard
There are a number of emerging opportunities where digital citizen engagement tools can be adopted across development and regeneration areas to support existing and future communities.
Local authorities addressing Theme 5 are invited to submit an ‘out of the box’ proposal that demonstrates how digital platforms could be used to involve communities during the planning process, outside of the proposed options within Themes 1-4.
This could include (but not be limited to) projects that are focused on regenerating high streets, designing social infrastructure, or delivering new or improved public transport systems.
By adopting digital engagement tools, local authorities should be able to proactively connect with more diverse members of the community to inform the delivery of strategic projects and priorities.
It would also be interesting if local authorities used digital tools to explore community sentiment towards urban development and change, and how more proactive engagement focused on co-design and community outcomes may increase participation and meaningful feedback.
We will aim to work with local authorities spread across a range of locations and representative of different contexts in England, including Urban, Rural, Two-tier, Unitary and Joint Plan areas.