Public Map Platform is a two-year research initiative led by Cambridge University to make places in the UK better for the people who live there

An illustration of a run down town
A older man wearing glasses
A speech bubble
The places we live in aren't making life better for the people there. Communities are going downhill...
A young boy looking worried
A speech bubble
There’s zero opportunities for young people like me in this town.
A middle aged woman looking concerned
A speech bubble
They keep building new housing estates, but our high street is on its knees, there’s nothing to do, no jobs, no access to nature... just no reason to live here.

What’s Going Wrong?

We have planning systems that are meant to help us create places that improve life. But they aren't doing the job...

Three no entry/prohibited icons

Data that informs planning decisions is obscured, biased, incomplete and inaccessible.

Current planning systems are informed by obscured data, shielded behind paywalls or shaped by private interests. Incomplete and controlled, this data fails to capture the true essence and social value of our increasingly diverse communities. Projects of all sizes pivot on this distorted data, misguiding planning decisions that shape our places.

An illustration of silenced people

Public voices aren't being heard

Public consultation on these decisions occurs through platforms that often only manage to engage a narrow demographic; just 1% of the population, and notably exclude the voices of younger generations. A system that neglects the perspectives of a broad spectrum of community members means even the most well-meaning initiatives can miss the mark, failing to improve the quality of life for those directly affected.

An illustration of trust fading

Resources are being wasted and local leaders aren't trusted

As a result, already scarce resources are wasted, opportunities are lost, trust between the affected public and local authority diminishes and the gap between the intent of this system and the actual benefit widens.

How can we improve things?

Our team believes that by integrating the voices of our diverse communities and representing data spatially on a platform accessible to all, we can enhance decision-making and resource allocation to build a better future, together.
Happy mappers

Where Does it Start?

A map zoomed in on The Isle of Anglesey

A place with a desire for resilience and renewal

The Isle of Anglesey, while facing economic challenges, encapsulates the essence of many communities striving for resilience and renewal. The project has been welcomed with open arms by the island’s local authorities, eager to give their communities a chance to improve their wellbeing.

A map of Wales with The Isle of Anglesey highlighted in green

In a country that leads with progressive legislation

Embedded within Welsh legislation is the forward-thinking Future Generations Act; a framework to shape a better and sustainable tomorrow for the people of Wales. These conditions offer an ideal scenario and location to test our platform's potential for revitalisation and inclusive growth.

Though the project begins here, our goal transcends borders. We aspire to develop an adaptable platform that can foster community empowerment and shared progress nationwide.
Join us on this transformative path as we reimagine the way communities and local authorities engage, share stories, and co-create their vibrant futures.
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