Through a new online platform, Longford residents can take a more active role in shaping the future of their county.
A NEW APPROACH TO CREATING LONGFORD
Longford Nua is a new mapping project using an app that Longford County Council launched, seeking to challenge the status quo and to give a voice back to the people by engaging them at an early stage in the local decision-making process. Nua is a word from the Irish language that means ‘new’ and it was chosen to communicate to local citizens that this is a new approach to creating Longford. This technological approach allows locals to share stories about places in Longford Town and make suggestions about how some of them could be used today.
the PAST, the PRESENT, AND the POSSIBLE
There are three elements to the app: past, present, and possible. The app allows people to tell their stories; highlighting the positive attributes of the town, identifying opportunities for potential new uses, and involving everybody in the conversation. The app has increased opportunities for engagement with local people and brought forward new ideas. It has encouraged people to buy into the process of regenerating their town and to take ownership, thereby increasing the effectiveness of projects implemented by the Municipal District of Longford.
ENGAGING CITIZENS WITH AN APP
Longford Nua was developed by a social enterprise, Space Engagers, working with Longford Municipal District. The project aims to engage people and can be adapted to suit the requirements of any particular group. It has led to identification of projects which Longford County Council took on board. For example, new ideas were generated about the reuse of the former military barracks, identifying the need for a hotel in the town. Users shared stories about historic links with old buildings that many people were not familiar with, e.g. where tickets for the Titanic were sold in the town. A number of other councils in Ireland have since adopted this app as a new way to engage citizens.