With an ambitious vision for growth and regeneration, city planning has an important role to play in ensuring Belfast is prepared and responsive in the face of rapid change.

Over the past decade, digital technologies have transformed the way that people live, work and play – and yet, over the same period, urban planning tools have remained relatively unchanged.

We have been working with partners to explore the future of planning. We are particularly interested in the potential of digital technologies to support systems that are more responsive to radical change and more centred around the needs of the citizen.

For example, we’ve been working with Wagstaffs to develop a new 3D model of the Belfast that will generate detailed views of development plans. Covering 52 square km, including buildings, road, tree and public space, VuCity Belfast will be accurate to within 15cm and can be layered with rich urban data from many different sources.

We have also been working with Future Cities Catapult, who have a programme on the future of urban planning, to develop a web-based tool to help planners visualise complex data on urban infrastructure capacity and planning constraints.

A beta version of the ‘Growthplanner’ draws on data from various city partners and includes information on electricity supply; water supply; commute times; and travel times.

We want to use the learning from these projects and others to engage with city partners on the future of planning in the city.  If you are interested in taking part in this conversation please get in touch.