No Hard Copies 2.0; Web-based Plans


  • What creating a web-based plan entails
  • How to assess the benefits and challenges of developing a web-based plan
  • Techniques to engage the public and gather input using websites, social media and online surveys


In the age of social media, text messaging, podcasts, sound bites, and video clips, planners must adapt or risk having their message lost in a sea of rapidly evolving media channels. Gone are the days where traditional printed plans are the norm, and even today an online PDF of your plan runs the risk of being left on the figurative shelf. Rethinking the modern plan means reconsidering not only how to deliver the final document but also how the community is interacted with from the beginning of the plan. Interactive plans are still relatively new to the planning profession but offer an invaluable tool for multiple phases of the planning process. These interactive efforts provide the opportunity to continually engage the public through survey questions and online forums. They also provide avenues for communication and fine-tuning to steering committees in between working meetings. Online comments give the public an opportunity to have their voices heard 24/7 without the need for attending public meetings that might be inconvenient to their schedules. Take an in-depth look at several newly developed digital plans (websites) and take part in an open-ended discussion on the benefits and challenges of this approach.