The City of Tallinn invites its residents to participate in the development of the city green corridor, be it choosing modern art installations or planning a new green space in the city.
Tallinn is the capital and most populous city of Estonia. Situated on a bay in north Estonia, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland of the Baltic Sea, Tallinn has a population of about 454,000 (as of 2023) and administratively lies in the Harju maakond (county). Tallinn is the main governmental, financial, industrial, and cultural centre of Estonia.From the 13th century until the first half of the 20th century, Tallinn was known in most of the world by variants of its other historical name Reval.
The Pollinator Highway
The name "Pollinator Highway" refers to an already existing movement corridor which pollinators (butterflies, bumblebees and bees) and other groups of animals use to move from one green area to another, but also for people to move through six different districts. Pollinator Highway is a meadow-like natural environment rich in species.
The Maptionnaire strategy
Tallinn really aims to include citizen participation in the deliberative process. They encourage civic engagement by promoting an online community engagement platform called Maptionnaire. This platform works for more inclusive and efficient projects.
Before this initiative, Tallinn didn't have a precedent for civic participation. The leaders of the project were very unsure about the welcome given by the inhabitants to the project and their involvement in it. Indeed, more than 1000 participants took part in the voting. Run in three languages (Estonian, English and Russian), the survey aimed to cater to the principal linguistic groups. It was distributed to the communities living all along the Pollinator Highway.
Maptionnaire has developed from a map-based survey tool to an entire platform for community engagement. Throughout the years, the whole Maptionnaire team has been working hard to develop the service to what it is now.
1. Sustainable Public Art as an Example of Civic Engagement in the Pollinator Highway
Tallinn chose to submit one art proposal among 19 to a public vote. Two pieces were chosen traditionally by a jury. The winner of this public vote, which happened on the platform Maptionnaire, was an installation 'Interspecies Crossing', and is already implemented!
The community engagement project is now over, but it keeps attracting locals and encouraging them to think differently about mobility and green spaces.
Credit: Jelena Rudi
2. Informative Citizen Participation for Welcoming New Green Areas
The Pollinator Highway project showcases another type of engagement — informative participation, with the aim of introducing the public to the planning concept and the changes they can observe in the local environment.
The concept for the Merimesta area of the Pollinator Highway was also showcased with the Maptionnaire platform. The use of this platform was a relevant decision since you can structure maps, prototypes, pictures, and documents as a coherent story.
Residents got to learn about the path network plan and what recreational facilities will be in place. Planners also made sure that Tallinn residents got to know about this project and would review it. What was new about this initiative was that the link was mostly shared in the streets, so people could participate.
By scanning a QR-code citizen can participate in developing their neighborhood tunnel area to be more frog friendly via Maptionnaire civic engagement platform. This kind of action helps to increase awareness among citizens about local infrastructure and environmental issues and challenges.
3. Community Engagement in Green Mobility Infrastructure Planning: Klindi Park Project
Furthermore, the Maptionnaire platform also helped to engage residents in the early stages of urban planning, as was the case with the Klindi Park project. This linear park stretches for nine kilometers through Tallinn, and residents were invited to share their thoughts about the future of this area before the final plan was to be drafted.
The civil engagement process aimed to understand how locals perceived the space but also to find out what residents would want to have in the park. The inhabitants were invited to express themselves through a map-based survey and take part in in-person events.
Residents submitted hundreds of proposals through an online survey with a central theme — the preservation of existing green areas and historic sights. Citizens also seeked to make the area more entertaining and safe for pedestrians.
Later, the public received feedback online.
Overall, online community engagement proved to be of value to Tallinn and its residents, and the city is on its way to adopting this solution in other departments.
Sources of information:
The Pollinator Highway
Online platform Maptionnaire
Three initiatives realized with Maptionnaire