How can planners and developers use data to smooth out their development plans? The amount of data available is on the increase and savvy developers are using technology tools to help plan their developments. Experts like Dr Billy Hynes of Future Analytics are applying scientific modelling to population trending and housing demand questions. Do we need more 3 bed semi detached houses? (answer - only in certain locations) What will families look like over the next 20 years? (answer - smaller than ever before) What will ageing populations need? (answer - smaller 1 and 2 bedroom units with access and community services).
In addition to this kind of analysis, developers can now use apps to engage with locals on their planning proposals. Rather than waiting for the objectors to line up, planners and developers can ask for feedback on plans in advance. They can then tailor their plans and smooth out the development process. Take a look at Cityswipe and help plan your neighbourhood! Santa Monica City is leading the way but hopefully Dublin and other cities will follow.
One example is an app called “Cityswipe”, which has been referred to as “the Tinder of stakeholder engagement”. The City of Santa Monica in the US is using the app to get public feedback on their new urban plan, “on every aspect from benches and parking to lighting and public art”. “For the time being, it’s fairly basic: a photo of some street art appears with a caption asking: ‘Do you want more of this?’ But by engaging public stakeholders in this familiar way, it’s hoped the planning process will better represent the preferences of the target audience, resulting in better urban experiences and greater local support.”