Cities must improve technology planning to prevent economic segregation

A report published by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has called upon councils to improve planning in the technology sector to spur growth and prevent incidences where digital benefits are concentrated to particular areas.

The report, entitled 'Planning for the growth of technology and advanced manufacturing', found that the social benefits of growth in the technology and AM sectors were often limited to certain areas and has called on cities to improve planning to ensure growth reaches the whole region.

The Institute maintains that while the Planning Obligations and Community Infrastructure levy has helped, it does not reach far enough.

Richard Blyth, RTPI’s head of policy, said: “City planners are uniquely placed to mediate and bring together the conditions that are attractive to technology and AM firms, such as highly skilled employees who prefer a more social lifestyle and proximity to workplace, broadband connectivity, good transport and physical compactness.”

The report made four recommendations to better capture the social benefits of technology and AM sector growth. It proposed that local authorities should use technology to deliver services; train the local community to meet the needs of the tech sector; collaborate with tech and AM firms in urban regeneration projects; and use firms’ particular skills and resources to address cities’ infrastructural challenges.

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