Working paper: Potential and challenges of digitisation in planning practice

The pandemic has shown that the continuation of life during the pandemic requires robust digital public services throughout the Member States and the use of advanced technologies to enhance public services. Public access to plan data is part of these services.

For the investment period 2021–27, the European Commission has proposed two specific policy objectives that prioritise digital investments:

  • a smarter Europe, through innovation, digitisation, economic transformation and supporting small and medium-sized businesses;
  • a more connected Europe, with digital networks.

Other policy objectives also include digital investments, in particular, the take-up of digital solutions:

  • a greener, carbon-free Europe;
  • a more social Europe;
  • a Europe closer to citizens.

Across Europe, municipalities, regions and countries have started digitising plan data. This digitisation process, defined throughout this paper as the transformation of data from an analogue format to a digital format, has reached different stages, depending on, among other things, the amount of resources allocated to it, when it started and the level of competence in spatial planning of the public authorities involved.

This working paper is based on results from the ESPON DIGIPLAN targeted analysis. The research team, led by the University of Copenhagen under the guidance and steering of the stakeholders from Denmark, Norway and Switzerland and the ESPON EGTC, explored the development and state of digital plans and plan data in several European countries. ESPON DIGIPLAN is the first research of its kind, and the topic of inquiry was broad from the beginning.

This paper addresses:

  • digitalisation and planning practice;
  • drivers of digitisation of plan data;
  • the state of digitisation in Europe;
  • access and users’ involvement;
  • recommendations for policy and practice.

Contact us and let’s talk digitalization: Piera Petruzzi ([email protected]) and Christian Fertner ([email protected])


2022.01.11_ESPON Working Paper Digitisation.pdf

  • Acrobat Document | 1.19MB

Working Paper Digitisation_SLOVAK.pdf

  • Acrobat Document | 1.19MB