The latest technology should be used to improve the lives of those living in devolved combined authorities, a report has concluded.
In its Better Planning: Smart City-Regions study, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) claims that such regions can deploy new tech to ‘tackle complex economic, social and environmental challenges by enabling strategic planning to be done more easily and effectively’.
According to the RTPI, the move towards devolution ‘offers new opportunities for combined authorities to create joined up plans for housing, infrastructure, health and the environment at the scale of city-regions’.
But, the report warns, these high-minded plans won’t be easy to fulfil, as combined authorities will need to create ‘joined up plans for housing, infrastructure, health and the environment at the scale of city-regions’ if they are to be successful.
As examples of fresh approaches to strategic planning already in use on a city-region scale, the institute’s paper cites integrated infrastructure maps used in Greater London and Greater Manchester, which combine data from a range of sources to help planners better understand the impact of development.
The RTPI’s Policy and Networks Manger, James Harris, said: ‘Smart-city initiatives show that big data and new technology can improve the efficiency of infrastructure networks and many aspects of city life. But the benefits can go much further.
‘By applying technological innovation to strategic planning, we can help combined authorities develop plans for cities and their surrounding areas, including towns and rural areas. New types of data can help them tackle a broad range of issues such as growing regional divide, housing, health, and climate change.
‘By combining the smart city agenda with the potential offered by devolution, we can start to create smart city-regions.’
And here’s the paper.