Planning as visual service design

The Norwegian planning system is characterized by a low amount of visual information, and a lot of technical drawings, perspective drawings and digital renders that can easily distort the reader’s interpretation of a proposal. At the same time, we lack good tools to provide good prospects in planning phases prior to design, including the preparation of the area plan and plan strategy for the municipality.

This thesis looks at different visualization technologies that have been tested to a varying extent in the context of physical planning, and consider how these methods can be integrated into the planning system to improve the flow of information between different actors. This is seen in context of service design which is a specialist field that focuses on developing good and intuitive services by including service users, along with design principles, to create customized processes with intuitive and effective interactions for different users.

The thesis uses the municipality of Ås as a case to look more closely at the planning processes for the municipal plan strategy, the municipal area plan and area regulation for Ås central area. Analysis from the case, along with theory that breaks down planning and technology, provides a good basis for gaining a holistic impression of how systems in Norwegian area planning are built up. The results show that we have access to the technologies required to improve the flow of information in planning processes, but that we need to make better arrangements for compatibility through a comprehensive preparation of services using visualization technologies as props in the form of interactions. If we try to integrate technologies without having a comprehensive system for good workflow in place, we risk making processes less effective by just adding more joints that require their own projects and organization without necessarily producing good communication.

Published 29. March 2021 - 21:45 - Updated 29. March 2021 - 21:46