UK innovation centre offers SMEs £100k to improve UK planning systems



The open call for funding follows a recent report which found that innovation in the planning system is sparse, with few local areas adopting digital and data-driven techniques across the planning process.

The winning SMEs will receive between £10-20K each to develop and demonstrate concepts and prototypes that address the challenges identified by the report:

Data informed planning: to bring together, open up, and visualise existing planning data in one place

Flexible planning: ensuring that planning is adaptable and holistic, taking into account economics, political and technological changes to better forecast impact and spot trends.

Improved user experience of planning applications: to increase transparency and understanding for applicants who are engaging with the system.

Increasing citizen influence: so that citizens are engaged from the start of the project, in setting the vision and objectives rather than at the ‘objections’ stage.

Launched in October, the Future of Planning project aims to build a picture of a faster, more transparent and equitable planning system that delivers the kinds of homes, communities and cities people want. As part of this programme, Future Cities Catapult have convened architects, planners, citizen engagement specialists, academics and developers to form a Sounding Board which is shaping their research, as well as delivering two Innovators Sessions with start ups, SMEs and planning researchers to generate ideas for change.

Future Cities Catapult Head of Projects, Stefan Webb, said: “We’re very excited to be launching the Future of Planning Open Call to support UK SMEs  to build a planning system that works even harder for planners, communities and developers.

“Here at Future Cities Catapult we actively engage high-growth businesses to drive innovation for urban development. If you have ideas on planning systems, how to increase certainty for developers, and how to enable communities to understand and engage with planning, then I encourage you to take part in our Open Call”

The deadline for applications is midnight on 26 January 2017. To find out more visit