Interactive Digital City Planning: Transform the Development Process

Our Digital City Planning System is accelerating billions of dollars in investment into cities of all sizes. The system is creating ‘super’-city-planners and planning systems that accelerate hundreds of millions to billions of dollars of inward investment as well as great livable, sustainable city outcomes across thousands of applications.

Smart cities and planning managers and directors are leveraging our 3D interactive digital systems in development planning to transform the development process in urban property development applications.

Who is Doing Interactive Digital Planning?

Cities and regions including Perth, Greater Adelaide, Launceston, Canberra, the Sunshine Coast, Penrith, Camden, Melbourne, Darwin and now have high performance interactive digital City Planning Systems deployed and used on a daily basis in the City Planning sector.

Adelaide, Melbourne and Canberra are deployed at the ‘state’ or territory level, covering many local government jurisdictions. These government agencies also tend to use their interactive digital technology for many other purposes, including civil engineering in road and rail infrastructure, inward investment attraction,

Here we have transformed a plethora of data into a millimetre accurate 3D city model that can be utilised right down to street level – walking, cycling and driving wherever you want.

Transforming Development Workflows and Processes

But more important is the workflow transformation of the entire development application process. Here we created the opportunity, adapted to different levels by these agencies, to transform the development planning process from adversarial, secretive, slow and a little painful for all parties – to an open, collaborative approach.

We have especially given the client, the regulator, a lot of power and control with the interactive digital 3d city plan.  Now, the town planners have full visibility of any proposal or change in transparent 3D.

What is the Digital Planning Workflow?

The power of the interactive digital technology allows massing of roads, buildings, bridges, cycle lanes, green spaces and even tram lines to empower and enable discussions before expensive commitments to design drawings.

Once a plan is made, a simple workflow to submit designs in 3D, including the geo-referencing component, is included to allow instant reviews and even optioneering of multiple considerations. 

This allows a mature, transparent and open consideration of the proposal in its context rather than relying on photo-shopped renders from selective angles. Indeed, with the ability to place digital animated people walking, cycling and standing – the client gets a true sense of the space.

Industry-Wide Cultural Transformation

While proponents, or property developers, have been concerned for this empowerment at first, they have soon realised that everyone wants development, they just want good development. In most cases the conversation reverts to ‘how can we make this happen in s way we are all happy with’.

This collaborative approach is transforming cultures and relationships in the traditionally adversarial developer-planner-architect dynamic.

What About Development Permits, Applications and Constructions?

Many regulatory authorities lack integrated project status visibility – for example the volume of permits, proposals, and those under construction.

We have found that this information is often stored in disparate formats (prints, PDFs) and locations (cabinets, hard drives) known to different personnel, increasing corporate risk.

Integrating this information into a millimetre accurate interactive digital city planning system has improved visibility of not just the proposal, but of multiple proposals at different stages of the cycle (submitted, approved, under construction).

Why is Ours Different to other Digital City Models?

Well firstly, having a Digital Model is not enough. That’s just data. You need data in a system that makes this data accessible. Just looking at data is not really that useful – and most data-viewers are either technical, complex back-room digital tools, or so simple as to be useless.

We have heard countless times how bad the other systems are, but clients get locked in. Once planning agency customers use our tools and systems – they always come back.

We provide not just an easy-use interactive system, but an entire workflow, tailored to the city planning and development application process. The user experience of a quality, high-performance system is described in this article on Digital Twin or Digital Zombie?

Our interactive 3D digital city plans are also available in an online cloud based format, allowing highly controlled access to third parties, from proponent architects to local planners themselves – and a local offline format for power users and high level presentations.

We then coach and train the planners and technical support team across time to build the interactive digital planning system to turn your planners into super-planners, being twice as productive, and producing results that are twice as good.

What about Appeals and Mediation?

Firstly, we have found time and again that Appeals have reduced significantly. There is really not a lot to argue about when the facts are presented in accurate, measurable, transparent fashion – from shadows to sightlines across the city – the ‘grey areas’ of ambiguity basically disappear.

We have a lot of experience supporting mediation and legislative reviews, from VCAT to major Environmental Effects Statements in court. Here, our clients, with our without our help, sit directly in the court or tribunal room, with this Interactive Digital City Plan – and show the facts, impartially and professionally.

This means we can all save time, money and effort on arguing when the facts are so prevalent. Thus we can be more productive and go about developing better cities.

What about Development Results?

It is no coincidence that Melbourne, after implementing our interactive digital  3D City Model in 2007, has experienced a significant rise in development activity. Conversations went much faster and development processes were able to be analysed and realised in less time and with greater control. The result is a meaningful contribution to an incredible city in terms of quality of life, as well as economic development – racing ahead to be the largest city in Australia!

Likewise Perth, even despite a slowdown in resources in the last few years, entered a new growth phase.  The City has been able to have high quality and attractive conversations with major hoteliers to attract inward investment and assure these proponents of the quality and voracity of the development process – demonstrated live with their interactive 3D Digital City Plan.

In both instances, hundreds of millions to billions of dollars of investment have been brought forward into the local economy.

What about Other Use Cases – like Roads and Rail?

This is a very good question and one asked by the smartest leaders who can instigate change across governments – no small feat.

We have worked very hard with Melbourne, at the State level, over more than a decade to leverage the interactive digital planning system in the ‘Planning’ system to create cross-agency collaboration into major road and rail planning projects. Now you can see the results if you drive on Melbourne highways – they are incredible quality, best in the nation. Plus the investment and roll-out of rail projects is unforeseen – with 50 level crossings, new regional rail links, a massive new urban Metro and a $50bn Suburban Rail Loop.

Author: Dr Ben Guy. Email Ben here for any questions.


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