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London, Vienna, City Hall discussed on Invisible City

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You and mills is an urban designer currently working on advising the mayor of London and his planning team and the design of major redevelopments across across London he truly believes in the power of technology and using technology to plan our cities better. You're about to hear that he he and I don't always agree on the way forward but I think you might enjoy listening to his view and considering his view about the way technology and other planning tools could up end our approach to cities and in turn how we live our lives. This is the second part. Uh of our five part Vienna series listening so I'm thrilled to say I'm here with you in in Vienna and and you and his From London born in Scotland He's traveled the world and he is leading urban futures for the UK and and yesterday we had the opportunity Athey urban futures conference to be on a panel together and We actually didn't get along that well we were. You know I picked on you abate. You picked on me a bit healthy debate. We had it. We had a healthy debate and I thought In the two of us should talk more so thrilled to have you tuning in on our visible city. podcast I'm going to talk to you in about the future of cities and yesterday we were talking really about the future of planning. The name of our session was forget urban planning as you knew it and really the key question was about the planning practice is what planners are doing right. What planners should be doing what the future ought to look like and what I'd like to begin with is just really high level? Oh question around. What is you have a tell us about your job? And then we'll talk a bit more about this question of our cities and what they need to become. Ah thanks very much for having me. So what what. My current job is I'm trying to do is trying to bridge the gap between technology and innovation and the kind of the planning built environment world. I've been a planner and architect and urban designer for about seventeen years now and I know how the built environment and she works or also how it doesn't work and also ways and it's amazing when you actually she look under the Bonnet of what is usually quite a glitzy professional planners and city enthusiasts. We like to think we're SORTA glamorous and it's it's amazing how little reaction stand about cities when we look under the Bonnet and I think one of the ways out of this or one of the ways to bed under center cities to plan better is by using technologies in the tools that we have available to us so this was a big part of our conversation yesterday. You were talking about Really that there's a lot of data that planners planners need to access better and understand better presumably get better outcomes so tell me a little bit about that. What is it what is it? That's missing right now. How in how we think about and how we plan our urban environments? What are we missing out on one of the big issues for housing losing and plans to know how much land there is for housing? How do we know how much land there is available for Development City? I'm not sure how you do it. Well you can fumble but in London we we we add up. The development are sites and we put them into categories. We how so. How do you find individual development sites? How'd you know there's developments is coming camp and so usually developers have got very good intelligence informal intelligence? They've got local agents are scouting and speaking to people. But there's much better ways doing that. We end up if you actually look at the at the the amount of land which is you in the beginning of the year. We predicted to be to come up for redevelopment. Only about one third of that actually does so our prediction of the amount of development land that we have is actually quite far out and and this is the thing that we're we're really pushing for his is. There's a better way of doing this. So let me just pause you there for a minute because I wanna hear your better way of doing it but four are are invisible city podcast listeners. Who might not be planners which is likely the case? I just want to explain a little bit. How this actually does typically happen? And I think what you're going to tell us then is a better a better way to do it but just to make sure the starting point is sort of sort of clear here and it's different in different cities but generally you have a policy policy framework. A lot of people will look at the landscape of a city and say oh. There's two story buildings there should really be three or six or eight or even sixty storey buildings. Why doesn't that exist? In some instances it is because of the policy framework. It's what the policy allows in other. Instances is because of the market. That there is you know what what you see. We have this in a lot of our transit corridors in Toronto the the the policy framework actually allows for eight stories. But what you see in the urban fabric of the city is two stories and that's because we have a market driven approach. We don't require the private sector to build eight stories but we allow them to do that. Now you might say wow well if you can have an eight story building why would you only have a two story building Wolfer a whole variety of reasons reasons. Sometimes it's a property that's been in the family for generations and there's a really good tenant and it makes a profit and the owner of the building. It doesn't really see themselves as a developer. Doesn't want to redevelop that site. So that's kind of in the existing fabric of the city then there's other areas of the city where we create a planning framework as planters. Enders we'll take a certain area will create an area plan and we will identify what we call soft sites we literally XS over buildings and say this isn't the full build out of the site. This is the you know it might be. It's a gas station or its brownfields site. And then we estimate based on a variety of performance criteria Korea. What ought to be the best built for on that site? And that's how we and then we can say okay. Within a certain geography you can accommodate x x number of additional housing units in X. number of additional employment units and that would be an area planning approach to anticipating what what might be possible again the enabling peace. We're not redeveloping. We and I'm assuming we're talking about a private sector driven development process. We're not talking about Singapore Singapore which is something completely different but in your city London in my city in New York this is generally how we figure out what might be accommodated in in terms of upcoming development. Although we can't anticipate the time line because that's room by the market exactly but then we do. Have we do have to plan. Based on this housing capacity Patty based on the likely population our policies are structured around housing capacity and the likelihood of different types of developments. Coming forward now this. This is the key word the likelihood of different types of coming forward. And how do we work that likelihood out today we kind of guests to be honest. I think as a planet having been working when I wanted to the planner at a City Hall and London we had kind of an algorithm we had a big acceler spreadsheets to try and work out. What is the likelihood different? Bits of land would come forward now if you think about other. How'd you deal with that? How successful was that so no very successful? In fact a we're kind of it was plus or minus thirty percent margin of error. The margin of error and understanding housing capacity in cities is plus minus thirty percent which which is a big margin of error when you have to plan transport you having to make decisions on on density you have to make decisions on building height and Cetera but we never talk about that margin of error because we do have a very robust quasi-judicial system where we show are working out and are working out make sense best best we can do with the current tools in the in the current at practice. An and that's the number that we come up with but there's much better ways of doing this now. Okay so I still so Wanna get to the better ways but before we do that and I recognized that. I'm a total policy nerd Nike go very very deep in this. For everyone's sake. I'm not going to do that however I'm.

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