Resident Survey

B.Green survey on the Maptionnaire platform.


B.Green conducted an online participatory GIS survey in Tallinn and Helsinki to explore the opinions of residents on the planning of urban nature elements. The main goals were to collect spatial and qualitative information about how residents use the different parts of the pilot areas in the two cities, and to understand resident preferences on participation methods and new types of urban green infrastructure. The survey comprised 8–13 question blocks, depending on the respondent’s answers.

Description of practice 

● Development of the survey was led by Stockholm Environment Institute Tallinn Centre in collaboration with both city project partners’ urban planning departments
● Joint aspects of the survey for both Helsinki and Tallinn addressed satisfaction with green areas, preferences for new types of urban green infrastructure and preferences for participation.
● Separate aspects of the survey for the two cities assessed use of the pilot areas (areas and routes) and the need for further pilot areas (recreational infrastructure).

Who was involved

The survey participants were users of the pilot area and residents of the cities. 

Promotion and communication 

● The survey was open for nine weeks; the results were compared against city demographics for representativeness.

● The link was disseminated repeatedly through city/city district media/social media channels, on social media (Twitter, Facebook), including targeted postings on local Facebook groups and in minority languages, and in media interviews.

● Facebook posts were “boosted” to increase visibility with certain demographics. In Helsinki, representatives of several organisations in the pilot area that house older people were contacted to request their support with persuading older people to participate. Gift baskets were arranged as a thank you. Paper versions of the survey were arranged in a public “living room” space in a local shopping centre. “Panel sampling” services were purchased through survey companies to target certain demographics.

● Live promotional events were not possible due to Covid-19.

● A results report was sent to respondents who indicated an interest in the results of the survey.

● Online city-specific results were shared with city media and social media.

● Blog posts related the results. 


Software: Online survey licensed software (Maptionnaire)

Skills: Survey development (can be outsourced); survey marketing via media/social media (can also be outsourced); survey analysis (can be outsourced) 

Time commitment 

Six months (2–3 months for preparation and three months for implementation and analysis) 


Level of participation
  • No participation (stakeholders/citizens were not included) 
  • Informing (informing citizens about what is planned) 
  • Consultation (offering options and listening to the feedback) 
  • Co-production in some of the aspects 
  • Co-production from start to end 
Urban planning challenge(s) tackled Governance and institutional factors

  • Working collaboratively
  • Standards and regulatory processes
  • Finance

Stakeholder engagement 

  • Public acceptance
  • Shared decision-making 
  • Social inclusion

Knowledge and skills

  • Awareness and communication
  • Expertise
  • Technical integration

Lessons learned

● Designing the joint survey was technically more complicated than anticipated.

● There was a high drop-off rate in the interactive spatial questions due to survey length

● Testing, especially in multiple languages, can be complicated and takes time

● Surveys might not reveal the true motivations of people in the same way as other participatory activities, which can provide more in-depth understanding for planners 


● Insight into residents’ preferences and needs related to green infrastructure development

● Spatial maps and details about user destinations and routes in the pilot area