Smart cities body announces winners of 'digitally enabled planning system' competition

A government-backed centre of excellence in urban innovation has awarded a share of £200,000 to nine small businesses to progress their ideas to create a more 'data-driven and digitally enabled planning system'.

Cities: money awarded to boost planning innovation
Cities: money awarded to boost planning innovation

In a statement today, the Future Cities Catapult, which was established under the previous coalition government in 2013, said that it had received nearly 90 entries from firms hoping to secure a share of the funding, following its launch of the competition last year.

The full list of winners are:

  • HACT/Oxford Consultants for Social Inclusion who are developing a "neighbourhood insight web-tool, aggregating government open-data and other data to neighbourhood planning boundaries".
  • PlaceChangers who are "making it easier for local councils to compile, update, and coordinate their local development land portfolio with other stakeholders".
  • The Behaviouralist which is "applying machine learning and satellite image recognition to identify opportunities for green infrastructure".
  • An unnamed London local authority which is "working on a mapping and analytics tool that brings together housing and social infrastructure data under one spatial platform to represent and test current and future growth scenarios".
  • Toolz which is "creating a custom-made 3D interface that would allow planning officers to assess development proposals within a live 3D model of the city".
  • Wikihouse + the London Borough of Southwark planning division who are "building an online tool to improve and automate aspects of householder planning applications".
  • Linknode Ltd which is "exploring the use of augmented reality to visualise unbuilt development proposals at public consultation".
  • Create Streets which is "working on an online tool permitting users to measure the quality of a place, and gives analysis of correlations between urban form with well being, health, happiness and value".
  • ODI Leeds which is working on two projects: "PDFs for Planners is exploring how commonly used planning documents could update in real time from data in the cloud"; and ‘A clearer plan’ which is "bringing together existing open data in a tool for those that want to submit a planning application or understand the local housing picture".

Euan Mills, planning and urban design lead at Future Cities Catapult, said: "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.

"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.

"We’re excited to work with the winners of our Open Call as they develop and test prototypes to build a faster, more transparent and equitable planning system."

The winning SMEs will receive between £10-20,000 each to develop and demonstrate concepts and prototypes.

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