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RTPI Scotland Annual Conference 2023

Delivering a Digital Future for Planning 5 October 2023 Dundee

RTPI Scotland holds an annual conference which looks at topical issues in planning. This year’s RTPI Scotland Annual Conference was held at Malmaison Hotel, Dundee.

Digital planning is becoming an increasingly important tool for planning in Scotland. Transforming Places Together: Scotland's Digital Strategy for Planning sets out the Scottish Government's vision to deliver a digitally transformed planning system including missions to unlock the value of planning data, deliver an end-to-end digital planning experience, create the conditions for digital to flourish, use digital tools to drive collaboration and engagement, and embed a culture of digital innovation.

But what does this look like and what does it mean for planners? This conference explored this through looking at the potential of digital planning and asking how we can make the most of it. It also examined the challenges, opportunities and barriers and include a Digital Lab to give hands on interaction of emerging digital tools and resources.

Welcome and Introduction - Kirsty Macari, Convenor, RTPI Scotland

Transforming Planning - Liz Pringle, Head of Digital Planning, Scottish Government

The Potential of Digital Planning

  • Delivering and end-to-end digital planning system - Euan Mills, Urban Designer and Co-founder of Blocktype
  • Unlocking the value of planning data - Alasdair Rae, Founder, Automatic Knowledge

How can we make the most of digital planning? Challenges, Opportunities and Barriers. Panel discussion facilitated by Pamela Clifford, Senior Vice Convenor, RTPI Scotland

  • Christina Cox, Chief Planning Officer, South Ayrshire Council
  • Alastair Parvin, CEO, Open Systems Lab
  • Fiona Simpson, Chief Planner, Scottish Government

Young Planners as Disrupters and Champions

Facilitated by Kirsty Macari, Convenor, RTPI Scotland

  • Sarah Purves, Scottish Young Planner of the Year
  • James Hewitt, Vice Chair, Scottish Young Planners' Network
  • Ross McFarlane, Student, Dundee University

How do we embed digital planning? Skills, innovation and ways of working. Panel discussion facilitated by Laura Robertson, Junior Vice Convenor, RTPI Scotland

  • Aaron Doidge, Senior Planning Consultant, Stantec
  • Scott Dalgarno, Development Plans Manager, The Highland Council
  • Ian Aikman, Chair of HOPS and Chief Planning Officer, Scottish Borders Council
  • Euan Mills, Scottish Government, Digital Planning Team

The Digital Lab

Mission 1 (Data): - Tom Sharples, Data Scientist, Scottish Government and Mission 5 (Innovation): Ian Gilzean, Head of Digital Place and Innovation, Scottish Government, Paul Dodd, Scottish Futures Trust.

Mission 2 (Digital Services): 

  • Dave Hall, Service Design & Delivery Lead, Scottish Government
  • Brodie Shepherd, Product Owner (Smart Apps)
  • Will Hensman, Improvement Scotland
  • Fiona Young, Cap Gemini

Mission 3 (Ways of Working):

Chaired and supported by Susie Stirling and Derek Cahill (Digital Innovation and Place), Scottish Government

  • Kirsty Holder, Digital Programme Manager, RTPI Scotland
  • Cory Hughes, Strategic Design Director, Perago (Wales) Ltd

This session will look at digital skills and tools being developed to support planners to develop their skills including a Good Practice Portal, Digital Skills Diagnostic tool and Digital Handbook.

Mission 4 (People and Place):

Chaired by Liz Pringle, Head of Digital Planning, Scottish Government

Examples of planning authorities' work, including:

  • Aberdeenshire online consultation - Ailsa Anderson, Team Leader (Planning Information and Delivery), Aberdeenshire Council
  • 20 minute neighbourhood mapping - Joshua Doyle, Placemaking Coordinator, West Dunbartonshire Council
  • Stewarton, East Ayrshire - Daniel McKendry, Principal Landscape Architect, A&DS
  • Placebuilder - David McAllister, Planning Aid Scotland


  • Address from Kirsty Macari, Convenor, RTPI Scotland 
  • Welcome from Peter Noad, Convenor, RTPI Scotland East of Scotland Chapter