wed 26 MAY 2021


Letting go – citizen led decision making


The power of the crowd is strong when they get together and fight against something. The planning industry experiences this all the time, we name and shame them and largely dismiss them as ‘squeaky wheels’ and the ‘noisy minority’ (and make them really cranky whilst doing so).


This presentation will show how taking the power of the crowd and channelling it into the wisdom of the crowd delivers two amazing things; the community identifies much better ideas than we gave them credit for (and that we might not have thought possible to get through the system), and the community become a trusting ally.


At a time when trust in Government and democracy is at incredibly low, a series of projects have been undertaken in Western Australia with different local governments that proves an ordinary citizen is capable of being part of the planning team. That collaborating with non-experts is just the sort of collaboration that delivers expert outcomes.


Through projects with the City of Vincent, Bayswater and South Perth, our new approach to community engagement has led to heightened levels of understanding, knowledge and support for planning changes that would normally be a battle ground. In our process, we are inclusive, build community capacity, connect neighbours and build equity into the planning system. In doing so, we have established a new normal for citizen engagement on planning matters.


The process is not quick, and definitely requires Government to ‘Let Go’.


The process has won a PIA WA State Award for Excellence and an International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) Australasian Award in 2018, and was shortlisted for the IAP2 2019 Award.


Anna Kelderman RPIA (Fellow)

Shape Urban

Anna has been a passionate strategic planner and community engagement specialist for close to 20 years, working with communities across Western Australia and at all levels of Government. Anna’s main passion, and the key catalyst for establishing Shape Urban, is a vision to improve the experience of future generations through collaborative engagement on planning and community building projects. Quite literally; to shape the urban environment with the community who have the lived experience of the place. Anna has worked on infill projects, community plans, marinas, civic spaces and all manner of cool projects in between.