thurs 27 may 2021


Plantech: Digital Dimensions of Planning 

Exponential improvements to digital technology are changing to the day to day work of urban planners in all sectors of the industry. As our economies and interactions with people and places evolve so too is the practice of planning. The difficulty is whilst people, places and expectations of planners are evolving too often planners have been absent in the discussions shaping these emerging digital world.

This needs to change. Planners must become advocates for and co-designers in the digital infrastructure needed in order to achieve the best outcomes for communities. In this session you will hear from two planners, that although from opposite sides of the Tasman Sea, are both working hard to bridge the planning-technology gap. As chair of the PIA PlanTech working group Claire has led the development of a new framework designed to guide the profession through this period of digital disruption, a collaborative effort involving generous contributions from local and international experts including Sean, the City Innovation Lead for Wellington City Council in New Zealand. Together Claire and Sean will outline this framework and demonstrate how the principles contained within can made real in practice using stories from the ground-breaking work currently underway in Wellington.



Sean Audain

Wellington City Council, New Zealand

Sean is City Innovation lead at Wellington City Council in New Zealand. Sean’s qualifications are  in urban planning and he leads the development of Wellington’s smart city capabilities, exploring how Open Data, the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Data Visualisation, GIS and Virtual Reality can help Council understand the city, better talk with citizens and make better decisions. Sean has had a long standing interest in helping create long-term, sustainable innovation cultures which can deliver better local government, and improved urban planning systems. Sean’s work has been recognised with a number of national and international awards and continues help Wellington lead in a range of fields from Urban Planning to Civil Defence.

Claire Daniel MPIA


Claire is an urban planner, programmer and spatial data scientist with broad professional experience in local government and consulting. Claire sees an urgent need for urban planners to get to grips with how technology can be used to do better planning and has recently commenced a PhD at the City Futures Research Centre, UNSW in order to devote her full attention to this cause. In addition to her research Claire is Chair of the Planning Institute of Australia PlanTech Working Group and a founding member of the Smart Cities Council ANZ Emerging Innovators.