Changing the planning culture in Lithuania – Vilnius testing new ways to involve city residents

By adham / Updated: 23 Jun 2020
Person mapping the urban mobility plan

Involvement of residents and stakeholders in the cities.multimodal project consisted of several events for different target groups. The main aim was to introduce the project and proposals to the public. The meetings and presentations were quite innovative for the Lithuanian planning culture, as they were organised not only to inform but also to initiate the involvement of the participants.

In action 
  1. Introduction of multimodality concept and pilot area
    • The first event was organised in May 2018. The purpose of the event was to introduce the project itself and the multimodality concept including a discussion afterward. This meeting's audience consisted of the most important stakeholders, which were invited directly by the authors and municipality representatives (politicians, experts from ministries, transport authorities, planners etc.). They were expected to give valuable input on the selection of the pilot area in the cities.multimodal project.
  2. Presentation of the chosen location and scope
    • During second event in August 2018, more detailed information on the project was presented for the target audience. Active local residents, the local community and other stakeholders participated in the event this time. The specific location for the pilot project was presented, as well as the detailed scope of the project. The event with the local community was organised in the beginning of the project in order to present the cities.multimodal project, draft ideas and to prevent disapproval from the local society which had started after some misguiding information about the project leaked. The event had an informative character, and this is why no discussions were planned. However, strong reflections from the audience were received and taken into account.
  3. Presentation for the Mayor of Vilnius
    • The meeting with the Mayor of Vilnius followed the event with local community and took place later in August. The presentation consisted of general information about the cities.multimodal objectives, project-related local data, drafted project proposals and the main barrier – the negative perception of the local community. Based on this negative outcome of the previous event, possible changes in the project and good examples, planning principles were presented.
  4. Presentation of the updated project information
    • In October 2018, another meeting event provided updates and detailed information on the project for the target audience. Most active local residents and stakeholders participated in the event for the second time. Different ideas and options were discussed in the process, to reach the agreement between the parties. It was decided to consider and assess other possible locations for the project.
  5. Presentation for the Vice Mayor of Vilnius
    • During an event that took place in May 2019, cities.multimodal project – goals, timeline, activities; results of the status quo evaluation; final measures were presented to the Vice Mayor of Vilnius. The presentation resulted in a discussion about technical details, necessary procurements, legal issues etc. Furthermore, other relevant mobility-oriented measures were discussed.
  6. Event for planners, NGOs and other stakeholders to discuss future scenario for multimodality promotion in Vilnius city
    • In early 2020, the cities.multimodal project and its outcomes were presented, but also the connection/relation with the municipality’s plans on cycling network improvement and pilot bicycle storage program in living quarters was shown and discussed. The idea was to have a near-future mobility situation in mind and to envision a multimodality promotion scenario in this environment. For this event, local communities were invited through the communities’ representatives and interested residents were informed directly through e-mails. Several drawings of Vilnius map with cycling lanes, racks and storages were prepared for the workshop. Participants were drawing their ideas and proposals on these sheets, they also had the opportunity to write down the recommendations and other useful insights regarding multimodality promotion in Vilnius. All the information gathered is going to be analysed and presented to the municipality enterprises as recommendations for expanding the multimodality network, as well as recommendations for the other stages of the bicycle storage project.
Results 

All the feedback gathered through the events was analysed and the project was modified accordingly. The events were presented in Facebook posts. Each post on Facebook had from 140 to 350 reaches.

Challenges, opportunities and transferability 

The outcome of some of the involvement actions showed that it is useful to separate target groups and present the subject accordingly to the particular group. For example, it is very important to provide basic information for people – what mobility is, what sustainable mobility and multimodality is - and why these are important.

Messages sent to politicians and planners should be adapted and presented differently. In the later stages, the target groups can be mixed in workshops and discussions, but only when all the participants have common knowledge about the project and sustainable urban mobility. This way residents are able to communicate their needs in a reasonable way to politicians and planners.

In Depth 

Events were held throughout the project to keep residents and stakeholder involvement at a high level. The target group was wide – local communities, active citizens, planners, NGOs, decision-makers (including involved politicians), and other stakeholders (ministry representatives, academics). As the events were intended for different audiences, the ways of communicating were different as well. The open event for residents was communicated through usual channels – municipality’s website and Facebook, also personal invites were sent to the individuals which had submitted complaints regarding the project.

The closed event with the mayor was planned directly with the mayors office. For the last event, all the participants were invited directly through e-mails.

This case study was created as a part of the cities.multimodal project and based on a report by Aušra Sičiūnienė Chief Specialist Department for Development Planning, City of Vilnius, Kristina Gaučė, Mobility Expert, Marija Frolova, Project Coordinator.

Topic: 
Mobility management
Public and stakeholder involvement
Urban mobility planning
Other
Region: 
Eastern Europe
Country: 
Lithuania
City: 
Vilnius
Contact: 
sini.lamoureux
Author: 
adham
Keywords: 
Citizens involvement
stakeholder involvement
Project communicating
Public informing
Urban mobility planning
17 Jun 2020
23 Jun 2020