Activating opinion survey

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An activating opinion survey aims for gaining information on residents’ views, attitudes and perceptions. It is a method that can support security-related urban planning by:

  • Increasing citizen participation in planning processes, thus helping to appropriately addressing perception of (in)security and risks as a part of efforts to increase infrastructural and societal resilience;
  • Helping to determine risk, culture, and ethics aspects in urban environments from a comprehensive point of view;
  • Helping to identify the security culture of the specific city/town/urban environment as one of the social facts that effective security-related urban planning should be based on.

Support of planning for secure public spaces

An activating opinion survey can be applied to processes of risk identification for subsequent addressing in urban planning. It also can help to preemptively identify cultural and ethics aspects in planning for secure spaces. The method is in particular suitable for identifying security-related interests and needs (in general and in cultural and ethical terms) of people living in a particular area. The method further allows for encouraging citizens to stand up for their interests and to participate in general and security related developing plans and urban development. It is a good instrument in the light of:

Process description

The aim is to identify the residents’ fears, wishes and worries. In contrast to most conventional surveys, an activating opinion survey is not a one-off event, but the kick-off to a fairly long-term process; so it involves a good deal of organisation in advance and subsequent work.

  • Residents are informed in writing about the actual survey in advance;
  • Key individuals and residents are interviewed, material is evaluated and observations are made.
  • Trained interviewers use an interview skeleton with open questions to do one-to-one interviews.
  • The survey is evaluated and the results presented to the residents, with the aim of defining steps toward realisation.
  • Interest or action groups are formed with a view to this.

Links and further reading