In addition to surveying the community and holding public meetings, the City of Lowell sought to engage a diverse audience in the Sustainability Planning process through the use of new media. In partnership with Emerson College, the City of Lowell launched Community PlanIt, a free virtual planning tool that engages residents in thinking about the future of their communities in fun and interactive ways. Through the game, players shared their "voice" and voted on issues that mattered to them most. This soon-to-be open source software platform was developed by faculty and staff from Emerson's Engagement Game Lab. The game is web-based, so it can be played from any computer or mobile phone that has access to the internet. Lowell was the first city to formally use it for the purposes of long-range planning and enjoyed engaging with the local community through this new medium. Similarly to the survey and public meetings, input gathered through the course of the 10-day Community PlanIt launch helped inform future policy decisions and shape the city's vision for the future.
Content for Lowell's Community PlanIt game was developed by a variety of youth organizations in the city, including the United Teen Equality Center and the Boys & Girls Club, as well as staff in the Department of Planning and Development. The city made every effort to develop a game that would bring together residents of all ages and backgrounds.
Lowell Telecommunications Corporation, 246 Market Street, opened their computer lab for public use of Community PlanIt on the following dates:
- Wednesday, June 15th from 3 - 8:00 PM
- Thursday, June 16th from 3 - 8:00 PM
- Saturday, June 18th from 10 AM - 2:00 PM
- Tuesday, June 21st from 3 - 8:00 PM
- Friday, June 24th from 3 - 6:00 PM
A report of all public opinion data collected throughout the process was presented in the Spring of 2012.
Overview of Lowell's Master/Sustainability Plan
Department of Planning and Development
Phone: (978) 674-4252