As part of the Localism Act, 2011, communities were given power to draw up Neighbourhood Plans to determine future developments in their area. This research project is attempting to develop techniques to help people gather information about their neighbourhood that could help when drawing up a Neighbourhood Plan.
Researchers at Birmingham University are looking for volunteers willing to test a new smartphone application that enables people to collect information about their neighbourhood while walking around the area. Each participant will be loaned a smartphone or tablet for a period of 1-2 weeks and asked to collect information which will be uploaded onto a community map accessible through a website. They will train everyone who wants to take part how to use the equipment and will conduct interviews about the experience of using it.
The ‘MapLocal’ app can be used to record audio clips, to take photographs of points of significance as well as draw the boundaries of the neighbourhood. The researchers encourage everyone taking part to record what they consider to be important and interesting about their area. As this is trial project, they will invite you to take part in a workshop at the end of the project to discuss your views on the MapLocal technique.
On return of the smartphone/tablet you will be paid £100 for collecting information about your neighbourhood.
All the interviews will be undertaken confidentially. All material gathered on the smartphones will be anonymous. Data will be collected, stored and managed in line with the Data Protection Act (1998) and at no point will personal information about you be divulged to any third party without your explicit consent. Participation is entirely voluntary and you can ask at any time for the smartphone data and transcript of your interview to be excluded from the project.
If you wish to take part in this project, or if there were any queries, please contact:
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham