Digital Planning Transformation


Future Cities Catapult, a government supported centre for the advancement of smart cities, have been researching the planning industry and looking for ways to digitalise the whole process to overcome the current flaws of a problematic system. They have identified areas of needed improvement throughout the planning process from pre-application and submission right through to the start of construction and completion. Early this week (5th February 2019) they launched a prototype planning tool to address problems in the post-permission phase of the planning application process. The report that accompanies the release of this prototype tool, Digitising the Planning System Part 3: The Post-Permission Planning Process sets out their findings in brief and gives an overview of how the new tool, PLANtraq, will be used.

The step towards bringing the planning system into the digital age is the first of many with digital tools such as PLANtraq. It is an essential step towards creating a more dynamic and efficient planning system. If tools such as this are to be implemented correctly and effectively the individuals using them also need to bring their thinking into the 21st century. The data being inputted and interpreted will have fundamentally not changed meaning there is still the question around how the planning system is used by individuals within local planning authorities in order to achieve the housing numbers the UK needs. It is essential the individuals within decision making roles of local planning authorities do not diffuse responsibility to the algorithms in the long run and ultimately remain/become competently in control of an integral system of society.

To find out more about the project visit the Future Cities Website here:

Image: Screenshot from Digitising the Planning System report

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