The planning profession in the UK needs to take bolder steps to embrace digital technology to help boost the sector and get more homes built more quickly, it is claimed.
The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and digital planning pioneers Future Cities Catapult (FCC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to build awareness amongst RTPI’s 25,000 members.
It sets out the opportunities of using digital technology, or PlanTech, to enhance their impact and digitise more monotonous tasks, freeing planners to plan.
The RTPI and FCC have also been meeting with the Housing Minister, Kit Malthouse, to explore how digital technology can help fix the broken housing market.
The MOU sets out how the RTPI and FCC will work together to raise awareness of digital tools and approaches in planning, through signposting, guidance, conferences and outreach, including a joint PlanTech conference in 2019 and a new PlanTech award as part of the RTPI annual planning awards.
They will also utilise the RTPIs extensive partnerships with academia, industry and professionals to research, analyse and communicate the key opportunities for PlanTech and embed PlanTech into academic and CPD courses to ensure that new and existing planners are well placed to lead on this agenda.
‘Now more than ever we need planners to be strategic and creative to address the challenges and opportunities the country faces. In our ongoing campaign for the planning function to be better resourced and valued, we must also look at what planners can do themselves to make their job more satisfying and game changing,’ said Victoria Hills, RTPI chief executive.
‘Digital technology, already used by many of our members, has huge potential for the profession. This partnership with Futures Catapult will boost our expertise and vision to drive it forwards,’ she added.
According to Stefan Webb, director of digital planning at FCC, research and development has suggested that a digitally transformed planning system has the potential to radically change the way that planners do their work.
‘In particular we are excited about the opportunities to remove many of the dull and monotonous tasks that take up planners time, and free planners to plan. This new partnership with RTPI will allow the pioneering work Future Cities Catapult have been doing to bridge the digital divide between town planners and digital technologies, to be scaled to RTPI planners in the UK and its network globally,’ he explained.