What is a StoryMap?

What is a StoryMap?

Combining interactive maps with multimedia content and text to impart information, City Planning’s StoryMaps are the latest and greatest tool for creating engaging presentations that make it easier to publicly share proposed recommendations of the Department’s various policy programs. 

StoryMaps are web-based maps that draw on the power of maps and geography to tell a story. Many cities use them as tools to support advocacy and outreach, and planners often turn to story maps to convert static text, images, and multimedia content into a dynamic, interactive experience. This increased degree of information-sharing has furthered City Planning’s engagement efforts, highlighting how technology can be used as a tool for collaboration.

City Planning has expanded its use of StoryMaps during the pandemic to keep the public engaged, offering easy access to relevant planning information.

The Housing Policy Team was among the various planning initiatives that drew on the functionality of the StoryMap tool to map out a list of potential new housing sites, detailing city-owned parcels that may be rezoned as part of the update to the Housing Element. This StoryMap took hundreds of thousands of sites and mapped them to allow the public to see the broader implications neighborhood by neighborhood, as well as from a citywide perspective. Utilizing the functionality of StoryMap, the Department was able to link each parcel specific site to specific strategies to visually bring to light planning related and zoning information.

This is no different from the work of Community Planning, and their ongoing efforts to visually display “change areas,” meaning parcels where zoning changes are being considered to keep the surrounding neighborhoods informed and up to date. As the Department updates each Community Plan Area, Community Planners have invested resources in developing and presenting the StoryMaps as a dynamic tool to capture public input, with each Interactive Story Map organizing proposed changes thematically to reflect the goals of the draft Community Plan. 

As planning updates progress, archives of original StoryMaps are available to illustrate how Plans have evolved since the inception of the process, and include revised Draft Land Use Maps, Draft Policy Documents, and more information on the new Zoning Code, as applicable. Planners are leveraging this technology to further demystify the land use process, using technology as a tool to extend community outreach.

Take a look at the active StoryMaps for some of the active Community Plan Areas below:

Harbor Gateway and Wilmington-Harbor City Community Plan Updates

Southwest Valley Community Plans Updates

Boyle Heights Community Plan Update