Transforming Planning Through Digital Innovation
Digital innovation is reshaping the way most industries and businesses function today, including the planning profession. Over the past two years the UK Government has confirmed millions in funding for local authorities to create a “new digital planning system”. The emerging Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill re-confirms this and looks to establish a legal mandate for the digital and data requirements needed to streamline and modernise the planning system.
With this in mind, our Director of Planning Ifti Maniar recently completed a Data Analytics for Management course at the London School of Economics and Political Science. The course covered a broad cross-section of quantitative techniques, from data visualisation to aspects of probability, evidence-based testing forecasting, as well as regression analyses. Data analysis with the use of statistics will enable Ifti and our planning team to better inform our clients’ planning proposals and ultimately give us – and case officers dealing with applications – the confidence to make informed decisions.
In ifti’s opinion, data is the ‘New Gold’ of the digital era. Data analytics is key to the success of any company or enterprise, including planning, where we can gain actionable insights from this data ocean. As Ifti comments: “We live in a data-driven world. The volume of data is exploding from year to year. According to Statista, the total amount of data predicted to be created, captured, copied and consumed globally in 2022 was 97 zettabytes (that’s a figure with 21 zeros before the decimal), a number projected to grow to 181 zettabytes by 2025”.
“As the planning system evolves, it is likely that it will generate more data and have more users. An understanding of how data-driven models can improve decision-making in a fast-paced and uncertain planning world is essential, as well as the ability to use modelling to predict future trends and housing delivery”.
Access to up-to-date data will help us to prepare faster and better planning applications for our clients, enabling local government planners to make informed decisions in a more reliable manner than at present. The soon-to-be-expanded digital planning system will assist in assessing the cumulative impact of developments and create the right balance for much-needed sustainable development.
Here at WWA we plan to be at the forefront of this digital planning revolution.