MapLocal: Use of Smartphones for Crowdsourced Planning

Phil Jones*, Antonia Layard, Chris Speed, Colin Lorne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


This paper discusses the development of a smartphone app, MapLocal, which seeks to empower residents to gather spatial data about their neighbourhood. Responding to the new Neighbourhood Planning powers offered within the Localism Act, 2011, a pilot scheme was undertaken with 50 participants across two neighbourhoods in Birmingham, UK. The app allows the crowdsourcing of knowledge from individuals to report on different characteristics of their neighbourhood and to undertake visioning exercises developing possible schemes to improve it. We argue that the app enables wider engagement with the early phases of a planning process, partially mitigating the post-political challenge to planning, which seeks to marginalize dissenting voices in order to promote the interests of the powerful.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPlanning Practice and Research
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2015


  • Birmingham, UK
  • localism
  • participatory planning
  • post-politics
  • smartphones


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