A pioneering community infrastructure initiative which has embraced crowdfunding technology has won top prize at the prestigious Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence.
Plymouth City Council’s ‘City Change Fund’ project was awarded the Silver Jubilee Cup at the event, which is the most established and respected awards ceremony in the UK planning industry. The project also won in the Excellence in Tech Within Planning Practice category.
By embracing online crowdfunding technology, the judges said that the project had established a ‘genuinely citizen-led decision-making approach’ for how funds for community infrastructure raised by the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) were distributed.
Sadie Morgan, design industry leader and Chair of the judging panel, said: “This is a unique and groundbreaking initiative. Plymouth Council went beyond simple community engagement into community involvement by empowering the local community to be proactive and invest with them in the City Change Fund from its inception.
“The project is a great example of the power of technology and how it can bring people and resources together more quickly than ever before. It will be exciting to see how this will continue to advance and the impacts it will have on planning in the future, as this is an approach that can be replicated globally to mobilise community development and supplement local authority funding in straightened times.”
Through the project, the council uses the Crowdfunder UK website to distribute the ‘neighbourhood portion’ of the CIL towards local projects that are led and supported by the citizens of Plymouth.
The council says that the use of a digital platform has increased the visibility and success of projects that receive funding and has engaged thousands of residents in local projects, including improvements to local green space and a sonic art silent disco.