A combination of nine small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and local planning authorities have been selected by Future Cities Catapult to receive £200,000 to help transform outdated planning systems.
The open to all competition followed a report published by the urban innovation centre of excellence that identified the key challenges facing planning authorities around the UK. Businesses, individuals, entrepreneurs and planning authorities were asked to suggest ideas to create a more data-driven and digitally-enabled planning system.
Around 90 entries were received, demonstrating the clear need for innovation in the planning sector. Proposals submitted included: using data to identify land for housing developments; managing the impact of new developments on school and GP capacity; and using augmented reality to allow citizens to see future developments by holding up their phone or tablet.
“For years we’ve heard how the planning system is broken, and how it hasn’t delivered the number of homes we need or the types of places we want to live in,” said Euan Mills, planning and urban design lead at Future Cities Catapult.
“Our Future of Planning programme focuses primarily on how we plan, rather than what we plan for, and creates critical space to experiment; allowing those involved in the planning system to think how it could be done differently.”
The winners of the award will have 12 weeks to develop prototypes that will help achieve a more transparent, inclusive and certain planning system.
“Big data and digital innovation present an opportunity to create a more integrated, flexible and inclusive planning system,” added Richard Blythe, head of policy and research at the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).
“The RTPI is working closely with Future Cities Catapult to explore this agenda as a member of the project board, and the funding announced today is a major step forward.”
“We look forward to seeing the experimental planning tools and processes developed by the winning applicants, and will continue to support Future Cities Catapult in considering [its] wider application.”
A full list of the winners can be found at the Catapult Future Cities website.