Urenio Watch Watch: Collective Intelligence

Report: Use of digital and 3D visualization technology in planning for new development

This report, prepared for the Scottish Government, aims to provide insights regarding the potential role of 3D visualisations in the decision-making processes in Scotland.  

Through detailed information and examples this report tries to illustrate possible ways in which digital imagery and 3D visualisations could inform decision-making, and how the associated technology can improve community engagement, understanding and acceptance of development proposals at different stages in the planning process.
Its six main areas of recommendations are related to the following topics:

  • quality and effectiveness of pre-application discussions
  • use of information technology to improve accessibility and allow for more real-time data to inform decisions
  • establishment of shared services by local authorities
  • commitment to early engagement in planning and improved practice
  • empowering communities to bring forward their own local place plans as part of the development plan

Finally, some of the key findings of the report are:

  • Visualisation tools are used throughout the planning process, from eliciting initial ideas from stakeholders, including the public, through to final decisionmaking.
  • Key benefits and challenges differ for different types of stakeholder, but are linked, with overarching concerns over accuracy and reliability of 3D visualisation products.
  • Key benefits for developers are in the efficiency of planning processes, consistency in the basis for decision-making, and scope for imaginative approaches to design. This is similar for decision-makers. For communities, greater input to discussions about proposals is already evident, with a concomitant expectation for the acceptance and impact of 3D materials.
  • Key challenges for all stakeholders are for reliable information throughout the process. Specific challenges for decision-makers are the provision of materials to a known standard, which can be trusted and applied consistently.
  • Increasing the uptake and practice of 3D visualisation tools in the planning process would be aided by: (i) providing examples of effective use of digital imagery and 3D tools in different stages in the planning process; (ii) providing examples of where the use of 3D tools contributes to best practice in principles of public policy and planning; (iii) presentations to CPD events for planners through the RTPI, and articles to journals of professional bodies.

You can read the full report here.