The City of Manhattan, Kansas keeps an eye on the future. Local government, community organizations, and citizens have been working together for years to move the city forward and facilitate smart growth.
Back in 2003, the city released a comprehensive plan for the area and invited citizens to look it over. The plan was thorough - it was published online in the form of 31 separate PDF files, some exceeding 1000KB, with pictures, maps, and sections to guide readers. It was an informative document, but it was lengthy, static, and unresponsive - even the most well-meaning citizen would probably not read the whole thing, and feedback would need to happen separately.
In 2003, publishing a PDF was an acceptable way for communities to share their plans and invite citizen participation. But it’s been more than 10 years, and the City of Manhattan has changed with the times. To help develop the area’s comprehensive plan for the upcoming years, the city has invited the public to perform a “Plan Check-Up” on the old 2003 document, to see what elements are working, what needs tweaking, and what needs a major overhaul. So citizens will be reading the 2003 plan over again - but this time around, it looks very different.
Using the Digital Workshop app from UIS, the content has been brought to life, making it easy for people to read, understand, and respond to. The Plan Checkup now uses fewer “typical” agency documents and more eye-catching, easy-reading information that people see online every day. Citizens that review Manhattan’s Plan Checkup will find:
Information is presented through bright infographics, small summaries, and relevant charts, so it’s easy to comprehend at a glance.
Far from the static maps on the original PDF, the Plan Checkup maps are zoomable and high-definition, allowing users to effectively explore transportation and land use issues.
Citizens can easily jump from one section to another - projected growth, economic development, transportation, and other issues - according to their interests rather than being forced to go through each chapter one after the next.
Each section of the Plan Checkup has an easy rating system (“Spot On”, “Needs Tweaking”, “Outdated”) so people can give instant feedback right inside the plan website.
Citizens are not limited to one-click answers - there are comment boxes for more lengthy responses and idea submissions.
The new, interactive version of Manhattan’s 2003 plan is in stark contrast to the old static PDF. The Plan CheckUp, powered by the EngagingPlans Digital Workshop app, is responsive and interesting, even including feedback options right alongside the information. The project leaders responsible for crafting the new comprehensive plan can reply to comments and download the feedback for later use - resulting in a project that is influenced by the suggestions of an informed public.
With BrightPages, even old plans can come to life in a whole new way.