open-planning-appThe urban landscape has been a hotbed of innovation around smart cities and the Internet of Things, and there has been no shortage of new technologies emerging in this field over the last few years.  One such has been the Open Planning project, which is a collaboration between the University of Liverpool, Liverpool City Council, Liverpool Vision, Lancaster University and the SMEs Stardotstar and Red Ninja.

The project, which will be presented to the House of Commons on Tuesday 24 November, was chosen as a best practice project by the All-Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group.

It’s designed to allow users to have instant access to all of the latest planning issues and updates in any area of their choosing.  What’s more, the app is open to both commercial and domestic uses.

Professor Koeck said: “It’s most likely that the app would be issued by the local authority, in our case Liverpool City Council, and downloaded from an app store. As you walk through the city you would get notifications about any planning applications ongoing in that area.

“You would then be provided with clear information and a link to the local authority’s planning portal, where all the information about the planning application is already held.

“At the moment, you are relying on an on-street notification – something attached to a lamp-post for example – and the chances are that a lot of people are missing out on this information.

“The advantage of this new approach is that you can pin point an area, say a radius around your home, and if a planning application comes up, whether commercial or domestic, you would be notified and be able to comment.

“It’s a fantastic way to keep informed about what is going on around you in terms of planning, without having to go and find out yourself.”

The app is capable of providing its information in a range of media, including audio and video.  There has already been a prototype developed with Liverpool City Council, and the next stage is to pilot the scheme amongst a larger audience.

The project is a good example of the collaborative potential of The Creative Exchange.  Since its formation four years ago, the group has united 120 academics with 180 industry and public sector partners to work on digital projects to enhance the public space in the UK.