Civic Innovation Challenge

The Civic Innovation Challenge (CIC) is an annual challenge set by the Mayor of London around key challenges facing the Capital.  This short video summarises the challenge.

“As one of the world’s leading technology hubs, we need to be bold and think big, to experiment and try things out that have not been done elsewhere. I see London’s future as a global ‘test-bed city’ for civic innovation, where the best ideas are developed, amplified and scaled.”

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

This year ‘democratising planning’ was highlighted as a challenge for Londoners as it has been highlighted that 45% of the UK’s population are unable to read a plan.  As a result, residents can often end up objecting to a development they would have been happy to support if they had been better able to understand the development proposed.

To answer the CIC set by the Mayor of London this year, our partner SME, 3D Repo, is developing an open-source 3D planning tool to assist residents to understand development proposals and improve the user-experience and therefore the opportunity to participate in the planning process.

PlanBase is an open-source 3D planning portal where residents and planners alike can easily review planning proposals and comment on them where it matters most. Through data and smart technology, PlanBase democratises the planning process to help drive participation and engagement across all groups of people.

Through our continuous engagement with Greater London Authority (GLA), the CIC partners as well as our own research with residents and multiple planning professionals, we have identified and addressed the biggest barriers to participation during community engagement are as follows:

  • A lack of proper understanding of the proposals by often poorly informed yet information-overloaded public;
  • The inability to reach across all groups of people;
  • The helpless feeling of not being listened to leading towards opposition;
  • The need for a narrative.

This is where PlanBase comes in. Based on the award-winning 3D Repo Digital Construction Platform in the cloud:, PlanBase provides an easy-to-use, visual narrative where users can instantly provide feedback on specific topics.

Via a web browser, users are taken on a 3D journey through a virtual planning application and given the opportunity to explore newly proposed construction and infrastructure projects that may affect them. PlanBase removes the need for residents to email responses back and for planners to collate and analyse them manually.

The main features of PlanBase are, user-friendly, open-sourced, stand-alone as well as embeddable, and Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry ready.


Local Communities

  • Better understanding of the planning proposals and the impact not only from the finished buildings but also construction;
  • Ability to comment on very specific areas and topics throughout the entire project lifecycle;
  • Understanding of the wider narrative within the context of the whole city including public transport.

GLA and Local Councils

  • Improved engagement with local communities (novelty factor of 3D online);
  • Better analysis and data mining including the ability to preview 4D construction schedules;
  • Fulfilment of the National Digital Twin Programme requirement by the Treasury and the Centre for Digital Built Britain.


  • Better explanation and communication of proposals;
  • Digital collection and processing of feedback from the planning authority and the local community;
  • Faster iteration of changes.


PlanBase utilises existing power and scalability of the 3D Repo cloud that was originally developed for collaboration in the AEC industry. We’ve stripped back the engineering complexity from our BIM platform to deliver a clean a simple to use interface that anyone can engage with, zooming in and out of different 3D views from city-wide proposals all the way down to street/pedestrian level matters.

City Scale

Users can view City wide proposals, such as road and rail changes, increases in bicycle and pedestrian rights of way and long-term master planning.

Area Scale

For large scale development schemes, users will be able to see the landscape during the different phases of development. Understand the impact to the local area and feedback on the impact to them as a resident.

Street Scale

Zooming down to street view can allow users to review buildings and infrastructure planning from a human point of view, reviewing walking routes, sight lines and building architecture that will impact their everyday life.

Visit AccuCities to read more about PlanBase.

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