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Last year, the city of Halle received multiple reports about the traffic situation in a number of streets in Lembeek. There were five possible solutions. To determine the best possible solution, the city board consulted the streets’ residents. In this case study, we’ll demonstrate how the City of Halle the city government achieved an excellent participation rate of 27% with the Hoplr participation module.

In this article:

  1. Concept
  2. Solution
  3. Results
  4. Hoplr in the city of Halle

Concept: an extensive survey at street level

In choosing the best mobility solution, the city of Halle consulted the most important stakeholders, namely residents of the nine affected streets. The city council wanted to use Hoplr to:

  • publish an extensive (62 questions) questionnaire* that is user-friendly to both surveyor and respondent;
  • reach as many respondents as possible; and
  • verify that respondents actually live in one of the streets.

(*) Side note: Hoplr since then recruited a PhD in Communication Sciences. As Citizen Participation Expert and Data Analyst, dr Jonas De Meulenaere helps draw up and process surveys. Municipalities with a Smart City License to our Service Dashboard can call on his expertise for free. However, since this survey took place last summer, an external party helped the city of Halle with the content of this particular survey.

Solution: verified survey using national registration number

In addition to online community building, Hoplr offers numerous functionalities to survey citizens. The verified or closed survey is one of them. Citizens must first verify their identity and can then go on to complete a questionnaire. Verification happens by the use of a unique code. This might be a randomly generated code delivered to the population by an invitation letter, for instance. In this case, we opted for the use of the national registration number.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png
Translation from Dutch: ‘The survey can only be filled in by the head of household. Fill in the 11 numbers of your national registration number (e.g. 12345678910). You’ll find it on the backside of your ID.’

This is how the city of Halle used Hoplr to survey the residents of the affected streets.

  • Design: The City of Halle could easily input and launch the questionnaire via the participation section of the Service Dashboard. It offers different question forms such as matrices, rating scales and ranking questions.
  • Publication: The City of Halle distributed a letter in the relevant streets, containing the public link to the questionnaire. With just a click of a button, the city shared the questionnaire with Hoplr neighbourhood Lembeek Oost as well. Finally, we provided a PDF, making a paper version available upon request.
  • Verification: Respondents were asked to enter their national registration number for verification purposes. This gave respondents access to the survey. The survey itself was, of course, completely anonymous.
  • Visibility: The questionnaire was highlighted within the Hoplr neighbourhood for its entire duration. Upon publication, all neighbours from Lembeek Oost received an e-mail or push notification (unless they had these turned off). The Service Dashboard allowed the city to post reminders in the neighbourhood.
  • Support: As always, respondents could turn to the Hoplr team for technical issues (e.g. an issue caused by an outdated browser).
  • Processing: Our participation module offers a continuous visual presentation of the results. Once the survey was closed, the local government could export the data for smooth processing.
city of halle posts on hoplr and invites neighbours to fill in the survey about local mobility
The City of Halle invites neighbours to fill in the survey about local mobility

We soon noticed that the URL in the letter was initially incorrect. After a few concerned phone calls and emails, we sent out a general call and a new letter, quickly resolving this error.

Dries Boelens, Expert communication, participation and conversation for Stad Halle

Results of the verified survey

200 out of 750 families participated. This equates to a participation rate of about 27%. This is a fantastic result for a very long questionnaire. Furthermore, 110 of the 200 respondents signed up to enter into dialogue with the board, during an offline moment. That’s a whopping 15% of households in the affected streets.

Hoplr in the city of Halle

Three citizens of Halle took initiative and launched Hoplr neighbourhood Buizingen in the spring of 2019. Two brothers and a friend delivered an invitation letter to every single one of the neighbourhood’s 3,500 households. Today, one in three households in Buizingen is registered to Hoplr.

A couple of neighbours organise Buizingen’s first neighbourhood picnic through Hoplr. Some attendees share their thoughts about the neighbourhood and experiences with Hoplr: ‘We were curious to see new inhabitants of Buizingen. I’ve been living here for 50 years and don’t know anybody who lives here anymore’, ‘Hoplr seems like the perfect way to get to know our neighbours’, ‘Hoplr allows you to take initiative without having to go ring everybody’s doorbell. We’ve started organising a garage sale and there has been great interest.’

The city of Halle immediately picked up on this signal from the neighbourhood and recognised Hoplr’s value for the entire city. By 2020, all neighbourhoods of Halle were connected to the online neighbourhood network. 21.5% of the households are now registered.

It’s nice to see people actively using Hoplr to ask each other questions or share ideas. We often receive constructive and enthusiastic responses to our own announcements.

Dries Boelens, Expert communication, participation and conversation for Stad Halle

Via Hoplr, the local government can easily engage in dialogue with a considerable part of the population. With the support of a team of experts and plenty of participation functionalities, Hoplr is an excellent medium for various citizen engagement projects.

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