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New Plan-Tech Era To Be Unveiled During London Tech Week

A ‘PlanTech’ exhibition featuring the latest innovations in city and town planning is to be unveiled by Future Cities Catapult as part of London Tech Week 2017.

Hot on the heels of FinTech, GovTech and PropTech, ‘PlanTech’ explores how digital innovation, urban data, and user-centred design can improve the UK planning system.

The exhibition will include prototypes from a selection of SMEs and Local Planning Authorities following Future Cities Catapult’s competition to develop new tools and innovations that will transform the planning system.

Attendees of Europe’s largest tech festival can visit the interactive installations between 12-16 June at the UK’s Urban Innovation Centre in Clerkenwell. In addition, Future Cities Catapult have curated a free series of PlanTech lectures and networking events debating and showcasing how technology can improve the planning system.

With cities becoming under more strain than ever before, there’s never been a greater need for efficient and predictive planning. UK cities cover only 8% of the UK’s landmass, but account for 54% of its population, and the UK’s four biggest cities (London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow) are home to almost a quarter (24.3%) of the population.

Nicola Yates, CEO of Future Cities Catapult said:

“In an age of rapid urban growth and expansion, planning is crucial to a city’s competitiveness, as well as its ability to support the wellbeing of its citizens. However, complex language, outdated processes, and political interests make the planning process time-consuming, expensive and obscure to outsiders.

“We started our Future of Planning project to explore ideas and technologies to create a more transparent, data driven and digitally enabled planning system. We’re incredibly excited to be launching this exhibition during London Tech Week and I encourage anyone interested in the the growing PlanTech revolution to come along to our events.”

Stefan Webb, Head of Projects at Future Cities Catapult said:

“The planning system often gets blamed for many of the challenges cities face; lack of affordable housing, poorly designed places and citizens resisting new development.  But the system isn’t broken, it just needs upgrading.

“During London Tech Week, we’ll be showcasing the emerging technologies, innovations and visions that are transforming the way we plan our cities. Visitors can explore the growing momentum of PlanTech and the opportunities it brings to citizens, startups, planning authorities and corporations.”

Chris Brown, CEO of Igloo Regeneration said:

“Over the last 15 years, information communication technologies have fundamentally changed how we live our lives. Yet the planning system is still firmly stuck in the 20th century.

“As a developer, we have to generate an enormous amount of data but most of this has to be dumbed down to fit with an analogue planning system.  The wave of planning technologies that Future Cities Catapult is unveiling demonstrates that PlanTech has huge potential to change the planning industry.”

Since October 2016, Future Cities Catapult have been working with SMEs, planning authorities and the market to explore how digital innovation, urban data, and user-centred design can improve the UK planning system. Through their work they’ve experimented with technologies such as machine learning, augmented reality and the Internet of Things (IoT), to discover how it improve the efficiency of planning and transform how citizens engage with the planning system.


A short film explaining our work in this area is available here.

Future Cities Catapult is featured in the Mayor’s London Tech Week campaign, available to view here.

For more information, supporting materials, or accreditation, please contact Naomi Moore on nmoore@futurecities.catapult.org.uk


Mon 12 Jun (13-14.00): Lunchtime Panel – Digital Citizen Engagement to immersive Co-design

Tues 13 Jun (12.30-13.30): Lunchtime Panel – Can we Measure the Quality of Place?

Wed 14 Jun (12.30-13.30): Lunchtime Panel – Developers in the Age of Big Data and AI

Thurs 15 Jun (18-21.00)PlanTech Exhibition Launch

Fri 16 Jun (09-17.00)PlanTech Innovators Showcase and A beginner’s Introduction to Data Visualisation

About London Tech Week

London Tech Week is a festival of events, taking place across the city and representing the entire technology ecosystem. No other festival of live events brings together as many domestic and international tech specialists and enthusiasts to London for such a variety of networking, social, learning and business opportunities. Since its launch in 2014 London Tech Week has included more than 700 events and has welcomed delegations from around the world. London Tech Week 2017 will be organised by founding partners, KNect365, London & Partners and Tech London Advocates, with support from strategic partners Tech City UK, ExCeL London, DIT and techUK.

More information on can be found https://londontechweek.com/

About Future Cities Catapult                                                      

Future Cities Catapult exists to advance innovation, to grow UK companies, to make cities better. We bring together businesses, universities and city leaders so that they can work with each other to solve the problems that cities face, now and in the future. This means that we catalyse and apply innovations to grow UK business and promote UK exports.

From our Urban Innovation Centre in London, we provide world-class facilities and expertise to support the development of new products and services, as well as opportunities to collaborate with others, test ideas and develop business models.

We help innovators turn ingenious ideas into working prototypes that can be tested in real urban settings. Then, once they’re proven, we help spread them to cities across the world to improve quality of life, strengthen economies and protect the environment.

Follow us on Twitter @futurecitiescat or sign up for our newsletter to keep up to date with our news.

About Catapult centres

The Catapult centres are a network of world-leading centres designed to transform the UK’s capability for innovation in specific areas and help drive future economic growth. The Catapults network has been established by Innovate UK. For more information visit catapult.org.uk

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