I have being thinking a lot lately about the great advances in technology, and the benefits these should allow us. Then thinking of one, planning permission, and it being a token gesture, as from my own experience people rarely look at the compulsory notices on building sites, and the notices in papers merely a formality. And from the experiences I have had with the council when asking to see proposals, was as if I was putting them out of their way. Of course this is not always the case, but you must agree there is little encouragement for people to take a real interest in the surroundings. Now with the widespread use of the Internet, Planning permission applications could be posted on councils web sites. As more and more designers are going digital with ACAD drawings and images such as PhotoShop, it seem easier to keep these formats on the web, not printed out and put in a drawer, accessibility. Technology today offer endless opportunities, CAD models transferred to VRML, creating on-line 3d models, would allows people to have a better idea of what is being proposed both visually and spatially, making looking at line plans (A lot of which you would have to be an Architect to understand) and 2d images of rendered facades almost archaic. This would allow people to better understand what is going on around them an encouraging them to take an interest.
Imagine Discussion lists on proposals which would allow people it concernes to discuss the development and others to hear there views, educating, informing and criticising, just like us on the on this siteâ€¦â€¦â€¦ why not ?
a) How many developers would want people to be able to discuss and understand their development on a website. Imagine, it could become a breeding ground for discontent and be the incubator for community focus groups trying to stop development. And wouldn't that be a bad thing
b) As many firms still do their drawings in CAD, as 3D walkthroughs are still expensive and completely unfeasible for all but the largest developments, we would still be faced with the "I don't understand the drawings " syndrome. Even as an experienced plan reader, it still takes me a few minutes to get my head around drawings and that's when I have the drawings in my hands.
I definitely think it's an idea for the future. Building developers should however embrace this idea now as its a good way to defuse arguments and rumours about a development by being open from the start of the planning process. Placing all of the design details online would be a start. As it's normally the bigger developments that cause all the grief, creating walkthroughs etc would be worth it in terms of PR and reduced legal fees.
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I like the idea though of the Soviet era Moscow idea on putting newspapers on noticeboards for the proletariat to read.
i.e. as a developer, the full drawings would have to be displayed at eye height on boards on the proposed site, with elevations, measurements etc.
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