Many residents would love to participate in the design of the parks, streets, or other public spaces in their town or city. But often the involvement of citizens is limited to an information session, more to present ready-made plans than to ask citizens for their opinions. Can we do better than that? Yes! Meet Furban.
With Furban, citizens can create an online design proposal for their square, street, or neighborhood and share it with their neighbors. It works a bit like a 3D kitchen planner, only for public spaces. Residents and businesses get to think alongside each other about the future of their town or city.
After conducting some research with residents, co-founder and UX designer Neslihan learned that they really want to be more involved: "Citizens often feel that they have little influence on the design of their own living environment. That led to the idea for Furban – a combination of ‘future’ and ‘urban’.”
The application was built by Centric developers in Romania. Among them, Software Developer Gabriel Albu: "The goal of Furban is to improve the relationship between citizens and municipalities. It’s great to be part of a project with a social cause."
It really is a handy tool for governments. The Dutch Environmental Law will be enacted soon, so allowing citizens to participate will become mandatory for government agencies. Projects concerning public spaces will now require alignment with local residents. This means that municipalities must be able to provide insight into the processes for public participation.
The Furban platform offers an excellent means to provide just that. Neslihan: “With participation becoming ever more important, municipalities are already starting to take it seriously. And of course, cooperation with all those involved leads to the greatest results!”