Empowering Urban Communities: StreetECHO Toolkit for Inclusive Street Transformation





The evolution of urban landscapes is witnessing a profound shift in the allocation of street space as cities worldwide prioritize inclusivity over vehicular dominance. This suggests the emergence of an era where streets transcend mere conduits for traffic, embracing a role as vibrant hubs fostering community engagement, social interaction, and well-being. Central to this transformation is the recognition that streets play a vital role in urban life, where cultural, social, and economic activities come together to shape the fabric of communities.

These paradigm, policy and practice shifts call for deeper investigations into alternative ways of seeing urban streets. They also call for developing innovative tools to capture better the socio-spatial complexities associated with street uses and perceptions. The Ex-TRA project, funded by ENUAC JPI Europe, delves into the concept and implementation of street experiments (Bertolini 2020) and convivial public spaces, advocating for streets designed to accommodate mobility and people while championing the dimensions of justice and equity. A pivotal aspect of this project lies in acknowledging citizens' valuable perspectives and knowledge, highlighting the imperative of community involvement in shaping street transformations.

In response to this imperative, the StreetECHO toolkit developed as part of the EX-TRA project emerges as a pioneering solution rooted in the principles of epistemic justice (Fricker 2007), aimed at enhancing transparency and inclusivity in decision-making processes surrounding street experiments and changes. By de-centring expert knowledge and amplifying non-expert viewpoints (Smeds et al. 2023), StreetECHO strives to generate a more comprehensive understanding of urban mobility dynamics and enable diverse stakeholders to contribute meaningfully to the evolution of their built environment.

The tool is one of the final outputs of a three-year research project that tested data collection and analysis methods in four different European cities involved in street experiments. Additionally, community workshops were conducted in two boroughs in London. StreetECHO was developed based on insights gained from a literature review and empirical lessons learned from practical applications. It comprises several key components to foster meaningful engagement and generate data-driven insights. It includes a guided survey, providing an accessible approach to gathering information on street perceptions, uses, and transformation opportunities. Additionally, the toolkit features a map-based response interface, allowing citizens to geotag their feedback for spatial context. Real-time tracking, data visualization, and hotspot mapping functionalities enable robust reporting and analytics. Moreover, demographic profiling capabilities facilitate comparisons across diverse groups of street users. Complementing these features is a guided workshop protocol designed to foster community engagement and facilitate deeper exploration of insights derived from survey data.

Mixing quantitative data with more qualitative storytelling features, StreetECHO enhances citizen engagement and co-creation by facilitating a nuanced understanding of diverse community perspectives. This would support planners in involving local stakeholders in co-creating street interventions aligned with community needs and aspirations. Secondly, the toolkit enables crowd-sourced assessment and hotspot identification by aggregating citizen feedback. This provides valuable insights into how different groups perceive and utilize urban spaces, informing targeted interventions and resource allocation. Lastly, StreetECHO empowers citizens to contribute place-specific suggestions for improving their streets, fostering a sense of ownership, and facilitating collaborative urban governance.

Based on ArcGIS online, StreetECHO represents an endeavour towards democratising urban planning processes, fostering inclusivity, transparency, and community empowerment in pursuing more equitable and liveable cities. By amplifying the voices of urban inhabitants and leveraging the power of collective intelligence, StreetECHO aims to contribute to an urban agenda where streets serve not only as conduits for movement but as vibrant spaces that reflect their communities' diverse needs and aspirations.


Bertolini, L. (2020). From “streets for traffic” to “streets for people”: can street experiments transform urban mobility? Transport Reviews, 40(6), 734–753.

Fricker, M. (2007). Epistemic injustice: Power and the ethics of knowing. Oxford University Press.

Smeds, E., Verlinghieri, E., Kocsis, J., Connolly, J. J. T., Polgár, A., Manaugh, K., Waygood, E. O. D., Castañeda, P. & Wargent (2023). ‘Seeing Like a Citizen’: Rethinking City Street Transformations through the Lens of Epistemic Justice, Planning Theory & Practice, 24:5, 697-729.