Town Planning Review

COVID-19 and the rise of digital planning: fast and slow adoption of a digital planning system

Town Planning Review Ahead of print, 1–24.

Abstract

COVID-19 has had a traumatic effect on both the way people live and work in their everyday lives, and the way places function. The rapid transformation of employment practices, including the necessity to stay at home for lockdown periods, has given rise to increased digitisation and technological use to enable people to continue to work and to remain in contact with friends and colleagues. Digital planning, and the enhancement of digital citizen engagement, has been one area that has started to inform local government’s online activity. This is coincidental to the UK government’s interest in transforming planning into a digital and map-based service. This article examines digital planning activity in English local planning authorities since COVID-19 hit the UK, reporting on two interrelated research studies that analysed statements of community involvement and planners’ perceptions of digital planning activity. The article shows that COVID-19 has certainly accelerated the adoption and deployment of digital planning, but it is an activity that has been developing in local planning incrementally for more than two decades.

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Author details

Wilson, Alexander

Tewdwr-Jones, Mark