Placecheck: the world's easiest, simplest community involvement method?

Placecheck is widely used to look at a place and to think about how to make it better; it can be carried out for a place as small as a neighbourhood or town centre, or as large as a city or county. The setting might be urban, suburban or a village.

A Placecheck consists of one or more walkabouts, followed by discussion of the information and opinions they turn up, and some serious thinking about the next steps and who needs to be involved.

Placecheck is a method of taking the first steps in deciding how to improve an area. There are many other ways of doing this, but most of them need to be led by someone trained or experienced in a particular method, and they can take considerable time and resources. By contrast a Placecheck can be done by anyone, without much preparation. Placechecks are often able to kick-start change in a way that might not otherwise be possible. Other methods and studies can follow later.

Placecheck’s simple idea is that much of what needs to be known about a place can be seen and understood by looking at it, or is in the heads of the people who live, work or play there. Placecheck is the simplest, quickest way of finding out what the place and its people can tell us, and starting the process of making change happen.

A Placecheck can help a community take control of its destiny. It can lead to anything from litter clear-up days and street parties, better planning and effective neighbourhood plans, right through to community-led groups that buy local assets such as banks, pubs, shops and libraries, and run local services.

Placecheck was developed in 1998 and has become a widely used, simple and effective way of getting people involved and focusing them on making positive things happen. Placecheck has now been relaunched and the Placecheck website renewed with the support of English Heritage.

The new look Placecheck includes details of how you may go about peforming a Placecheck of your Place, including the things you may want to consider during your walkabout as well as providing links to a number of wesites to assist in your assessment, and some Placecheck stories to inspire and encourage.

The site can be accessed here.