Planning by numbers

| April 23, 2024
Leading planning and geospatial figures are calling for a coordinated approach to digitising and streamlining Australia’s urban planning systems.
The PlanTech Partnership led by FrontierSI with the Planning Institute of Australia, University of NSW and RMIT University has today released two white papers on the transformative role of technology in improving the planning system and fortifying Australia’s path towards a climate-resilient future.
The papers make a strong case for change, coordination, and investment, and well as detailing specific opportunities for using planning to achieve climate resilience in Australia.
Matt Collins, CEO of PIA, said planning technology will play a critical role in achieving climate resilience in Australia but taking full advantage of it requires national coordination.
“Land use planning plays a critical role in tackling major issues facing Australia, including climate resilience, housing affordability, the delivery of major infrastructure programs, and community safety and wellbeing,” he said.
“To make meaningful change in these issues, we need to continue to evolve the planning systems and professionals across Australia, and ensure that technology supports, rather than competes, with these professionals.”
The PlanTech Partnership is now actively seeking new members to help drive true change in housing, environment, and community outcomes through improved planning technology.
Professor Chris Pettit, Director of the City Futures Research Centre at UNSW said the planning sector is undergoing digital transformation using a suite of solutions commonly known as PlanTech.
“PlanTech leverages digital technologies, advanced analytics, and collaboration platforms to revolutionise how urban planners can address pressing issues across Australia. This includes making our cities and regions more climate resilient through better data and technology-assisted planning.”
The two white papers released today cover the barriers and opportunities for a coordinated, national approach to PlanTech to enable system-wide transformation, impacting each of the critical initiatives above. They provide a detailed dive into the opportunities PlanTech offers for both the proactive and defence elements of climate resilience.
Phil Delaney, Deputy CEO at FrontierSI said people often think only of the ability of land use planning to minimise risks in the defence against a changing climate, such as not building houses in riverine or coastal flooding areas.
“However, planning can play just as important a role in proactively enabling a climate-positive future,” he said.
Professor Jago Dodson Director of RMIT University’s Urban Futures Enabling Impact Platform, said the critical opportunities were being missed and that it was time for governments, planners, insurance companies, and technology developers to work and invest together in evolving the planning system into one that best supports Australia’s goals and challenges, underpinned by world-class data and technology.
“Natural disasters are projected to cost Australia $1.2 trillion over the next 40 years. Transforming planning systems to make cities and regions resilient to climate shocks via better data, analysis and platforms can generate huge economic and social dividends.”
“A strong planning system, underpinned and improved by high-quality collaborative research, is the only way to further improve future outcomes in Australia,” he said. “We look forward to working with both the planning and technology sectors to make a real difference.”
More information about the PlanTech Partnership and the two whitepapers can be found at