PlanTechNZ is a Special Interest Group within the New Zealand Planning Institute. It comprises planners who are passionate about the role of emerging technologies in the future of planning practice.

PlanTechNZ aims to bring planning and resource management practitioners together to make the most of these new technologies in the planning profession, and to achieve better outcomes for our communities and the environment.

PlanTechNZ seeks to complement the strategic direction of the NZPI by providing a forum for planners with an interest in the role of emerging technologies in planning to engage and explore these opportunities. This group equips the NZPI to respond to the issues and challenges which arise from the changes resulting from these technologies. Our FAQ page explains a little more about PlanTech, emerging technologies and how this round of technological innovation differs from earlier initiatives such as e-planning.

Membership of PlanTechNZ is open to all NZPI planners, you definitely do not need to be skilled with technology to take part and contribute to the important work we will be doing.

An important part of our purpose is to provide a space for planners to engage with each other around adopting and exploring new technologies. Our events will include workshops and discussion groups around a range of "planning and technology"-related topics.

PlanTech is any new technology designed for undertaking urban or environmental planning tasks and which is based on currently emerging technologies. PlanTech is an umbrella term, similar to GovTech, CivicTech or PropTech, for any new technology designed for our specific sector and which is based on one or more of the recent technological innovations. These emerging technologies centre on data-centric processes and which are, or will be, powered by artificial intelligence. These emerging technologies include VR/AR/MR, Internet of Things, digital twins, blockchain.

PlanTechNZ is a special interest group within the New Zealand Planning Institute to enable the planning profession to respond to emerging technology and to take up the opportunities it presents.

The use of this term for the group creates a linkage to similar initiatives in the UK and Australian planning sectors. This term is not used in the USA as it is considered a part of CivicTech.

E-planning is about making planning documents accessible via electronic means and allowing people to participate in the planning system via electronic means rather than paper. PlanTech is much more than this as it represents a new way of doing things rather than digitisation of an old system. Emerging technologies are changing how citizens relate to governments, organisations and businesses. This disrupts traditional processes and practices and offers exciting new possibilities. Using new technologies we can transform the planning process and make it more insightful, user-centric, transparent and responsive.

  1. Emerging technologies are disrupting all aspects of how our world operates - the social, economic, political, cultural and environmental realms.
  2. Emerging technologies are re-shaping how the public interact with governments, businesses and organisations; and the planning system and profession will need to adapt.
  3. Emerging technologies provide significant opportunities to improve how our cities and environments are planned and managed.
  4. Planners need to upskill to be in the best possible position to respond to the opportunities and challenges these emerging technologies are producing.
  5. The planning profession will need to work with new collaborators to realise the full benefits of emerging technology, for example technology providers, digital experts, data analysts, chief digital officers.
  6. Planners have valuable skills to contribute to this digital transformation and it is important for the planning profession to bring its professional knowledge, technical skill and ethical practice to assist those developing these new tools.
  1. The NZPI is supporting its members by having a group focused on how planning can adapt to changes arising from emerging technologies.
  2. The planning profession supports new technologies which offer new solutions to how we manage our cities, rural areas and environments.
  3. The planning profession has a complex knowledge base and skillset related to managing cities and the environment, running public processes and considering the interrelatedness of decisions. These competencies are vital to ensuring robust, ethical and well-designed software and therefore planning professionals should be involved in the design processes for these technologies to help achieve quality outcomes.

If you are curious about what the future holds for our profession and/or want to be part of adapting planning to the future then please join us!

Join us