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19/08/2020

My view on... The digitisation of planning

Digital planning / Shutterstock

Planner Nissa Shahid believes that Covid-19 has proven that the profession must embrace new technologies and innovation

The pandemic, and specifically the need to work remotely, has shown that the digitisation of planning is a clear and pressing priority requiring resourcing and direction.

It has been uplifting to realise that this process is not about ‘replacing the human’, but instead it is about how digital tools can help planners to do their job more effectively such as by modelling developments in real-time on digital platforms, or by opening up engagement channels remotely and therefore capturing previously excluded audiences.

"We must also realise that our concept of place and space is changing, and with it how we plan for a post-pandemic world"

We must also realise that our concept of place and space is changing, and with it how we plan for a post-pandemic world – for example, the technologies and methods being used in planning economic recovery on high streets could be repurposed to plan our cities.

We could also be using more live-data modelling to plan for extreme scenarios such as climate change, or, even better, use real-time data to model how to plan our cities to reduce our carbon footprints.

We are going to see these changes in place and priorities become increasingly evident as we realise that a lot of our work can be done remotely.

As a profession, we need to embrace digital as part of our post-Covid world and we need to make it work for us, not replace us.

Nissa is Senior Urbanist at the Connected Places Catapult. She was talking to the RTPI as part of Wider Insights: The Planning Profession’s Rapid Response to Covid-19. To download Wider Insights Part 2, visit bit.ly/planner0820-widerinsights

Image credit | Shutterstock

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