Taking Whistle Bend online

Whitehorse planners are using new technology to design the final three phases of the Whistle Bend subdivision. Thursday night, about 60 people showed up at the High Country Inn for a public consultation meeting about the project.

Whitehorse planners are using new technology to design the final three phases of the Whistle Bend subdivision.

Thursday night, about 60 people showed up at the High Country Inn for a public consultation meeting about the project, but even more people participated online using Crowdbrite.

Crowdbrite, a platform developed by Darin Dinsmore, uses interactive maps and digital sticky notes to take the public consultation process online.

The program is only five months old, but already it’s being used for projects in New York City and California.

Crowdbrite grew out of Dinsmore’s frustration with the consultation process.

An urban planner and landscape architect, Dinsmore developed the platform to improve the slow, time consuming and expensive public consultation process.

It’s not meant to completely replace the traditional in-person meeting, but to augment it, said Dinsmore.

“We think there is so much value in face-to-face communication,” he said. “We really prefer to do both.”

The in-person and online portions of Whitehorse’s meeting went well, said Dinsmore.

“I’m really encouraged by this level of public dialogue,” he said.

The platform isn’t just being used for urban planning and development; it has applications for any kind of collaborative process, said Dinsmore.

For the final phases of the Whistle Bend subdivision, anyone can log on to Crowdbrite, take a look at the draft plans and participate in the process.

Though before people start commenting, it’s a good idea to take a look at the summary of what’s been done to date, said Dinsmore.

Participants have to register, but the whole thing is semi anonymous.

When a suggestion or comment is uploaded, no name is attached. However, in the final report every comment is attributed.

People can offer ideas, comment on existing ones and even upload photographic examples of architecture they’d like to see worked into the project.

“People seem really into it,” said Kinden Kosick, a senior city planner. “People can see the plans and have their own discussions about it.”

One of the biggest problems planners face with big projects, like Whistle Bend, is combating misinformation, said Kosick.

Having everything available online as a living document will hopefully help make the whole process more transparent, he said.

Collaborating with city planners and local architects, HB Lanarc, a planning and design firm, drafted the final three phases of Whistle bend.

The proposal is to build between 1,200 and 1,500 housing units in the final three phases.

However, those plans are not set in stone.

“This is a fluid process,” said architect Antony Zedda. “They look done, but nothing here is final.

“There is still an opportunity for people to suggest ideas.”

The online public consultation will be ongoing until November 10.

To participate, go www.crowdbrite.com and follow the instructions.

Contact Josh Kerr at joshk@yukon-news.com

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