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Insights How will technology impact urban planning?

With the population of the UK predicted to grow by 3.2% by 2030, there are new challenges and risks on the horizon that need to be carefully considered and mitigated.

As populations increase, there will undoubtedly be a need to boost efficiency and develop smart living solutions in already densely populated urban areas. This is why urban planning is becoming an increasingly required and sort-after skill both in the public and private sectors.

Explosive growth combined with the already established challenges of populations being concentrated into small areas may seem like a daunting prospect. Yet with huge advances in technology, ambitious urban planning professionals are already applying tech to find smart urban planning solutions.

Read on to discover more about how technology is likely to impact urban planning and help us overcome the challenges posed by increasing populations across the globe.

Technology will boost productivity

Technology is already helping urban planners boost productivity and is likely to continue to do so as populations increase and new needs arise.

Big data analysis offers urban planners an opportunity to overcome major challenges. Firstly, it offers them a detailed insight into the already established populations of urban areas, helping them to simplify essential communication between both parties. This drastically improves the real-time response to issues.

Secondly, big data can be used to create accurate forecasting, offering urban planners valuable insight into potential risk development and allowing for more specific and timely risk mitigation.

Other technologies such as AI can be used in a similar way and can even be paired with big data to make processing data faster and deliver actionable results from its analysis. For example, AI may be used to analyse real-time data on a given urban area to create a digital twin. This twin can then be used to quickly and accurately model changes to that area and assess their impact.

 Professional architect wearing virtual reality headset looking at a virtual city

Technology will improve sustainability

Many governments across the globe have committed to working towards drastically lowering carbon emissions as part of the Paris Agreement . For example, the UK government has set an ambitious target to achieve net-zero emissions in all UK industries by 2050.

It is widely accepted that applying smart engineering and technology will be essential to achieve these ambitious targets.

That is why organisations such as ourselves have placed special importance on driving technological advances through dedicated schemes like the AtkinsRéalis ’s Decarbonomics™ data-driven solution.

This solution sees industry experts apply data to driving carbon reduction across urban planning and building management, focusing on areas such as setting realistic benchmarks, developing ambitious decarbonising roadmaps and ensuring decarbonising solutions are delivered across lifecycles.

Technology will enable smart cities

Smart city planning is seeing public and private organisations reimagine the way we live through the application of new technologies. Not only is this done to drive convenience, but it is also an essential method for making urban areas livable and enjoyable as populations increase.

For example, the Internet of Things (IoT) approach is helping urban planners to connect practically all aspects of urban spaces through the internet. This includes everything from energy distribution and trash collection to decreasing congestion and improving air quality.

By connecting all things in an urban space, urban planners can build a better picture of actions that will improve the overall quality of life. For example, if all vehicles are connected, real-time information on better, less congested routes can be delivered straight to drivers. The same information can also be used by urban planners to identify high congestion areas and find smart solutions.

Explore our urban planning jobs

It is clear that technology will continue to have a growing impact on the way that we plan urban environments. As this exciting space continues to grow, new careers in technology and planning will flourish.

Here at AtkinsRéalis , we have vacancies for several urban development jobs, with fantastic opportunities for those ranging from those just starting out to seasoned urban planning professionals. If you would like to find out more about careers with us, you can sign up for our talent community.

Alternatively, to view our current vacancies, check out our urban planning jobs and cities and development jobs pages. You might just find your next big career move.