Digitalizing Planning Culture: A Change Towards Information Model-Based Planning, Case Finland

Pilvi Nummi*, Aija Staffans, Otso Helenius

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractScientificpeer-review


Digitalization is expected to bring significant benefits to the land use planning and contribute to sustainability by enabling more intelligent impact assessment of plans. In Finland, a change towards information model-based planning is driven by national development programs. During 2020 a nationally interoperable information model for master and detail plans was developed. The information model consists of a conceptual data model, terminologies and harmonized code lists (e.g. zoning regulations).

The aim of this study is to shed light on the digital transformation in Finnish planning culture by analysing planners’ opinions on information model-based planning. The research data consists of two questionnaires carried out during the development of the national information model.

The empirical results show large differences in the attitudes against and for digitalization and reveal discrepancies between planning practices and digitalization. Planners raise concerns about the burden of change (e.g. skills, workload) and fear that digitalization will have a negative impact on the quality of plans (by e.g. restricting the freedom of expression in regulations). On the other hand, there are expectations for more efficient planning practices and smart analysis and planning tools.

A concept of Digitalizing Planning Culture will be presented as a framework for analysing the ongoing systemic change in urban planning. We argue that to understand the impact of the digital transformation, attention must be paid, inter alia, to the usefulness and usability of the tools, changes in the role of planners, the structure of planning processes and the valuation of information in planning.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2022
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
EventInternational Conference on Urban E-Planning - Online, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 7 Apr 202212 Apr 2022
Conference number: 6


ConferenceInternational Conference on Urban E-Planning
Abbreviated titleIJEPR
Internet address


  • urban planning
  • digitalization
  • planning culture
  • Information Model
  • plan data


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