Welcome to our current project. We will be unveiling the MVP of our expansive new project Skyline at CivTech 7 Demo Day Live Stream, on 08 Feb 2023. Here, our founders give some insight into how we created Skyline, what it is for, the problems it solves and how it might be used going forward.
What are we doing?
We received funding as part of CivTech’s accelerator grant scheme which allowed us to propose an innovative solution to a complex challenge for those planning, investing in and developing urban spaces.
As discussed in our recent blog here — Skyline is our response to the CivTech Challenge 7.13, sponsored by Scottish Borders Council and South of Scotland Enterprise:
How can we use technology to better understand the issues facing our town centres, and be a catalyst for revitalisation?
This month we are showcasing our MVP: Skyline, pitching it to stakeholders in the public, private and third sectors. We will demonstrate exactly how far our solution to CivTech’s challenge can go — for wider-scale use and commercialisation.
What is Skyline?
Skyline is an evolving web application that:
- Streamlines baseline assessments for planning applications
- Unlocks investment for local place improvements
- Enables complex scenario testing
- Facilitates dialogue between communities and local planning teams
- Provides a transparent, replicable assessment process
Skyline is built on Diagonal’s geospatial analysis engine, Bedrock. This allows planners and those making investment decisions about city spaces to utilise datasets from multiple data sources, in a spatial context, and with temporal dimensionality (like transit schedules), to understand and visualise changes and impacts.
Bedrock will be open source, and available to anyone working in the space. Skyline will be a SaaS product that planning teams, investment agencies, and developers will be able to use within their planning processes. We will also provide bespoke support for clients with specific and intricate challenges, to extend Skyline’s scope to answer even the most complex or sensitive questions.
What are our aims?
As a steward-owned business, we put purpose over profit — and our work is designed to have a positive social impact. Our aim is to support the best and most socially useful plans by making data and evidence easy to access and interpret. We believe that transparent, reproducible data analysis needs to go hand-in-hand with evidence-based decision making.
Skyline was built for the 7.13 CivTech challenge to answer the complex question of how to revitalise town centres. Town centre decline is a multidimensional challenge. The holistic approach taken to address town centre vibrancy is applicable and scalable to place-based investment decisions for city high streets, urban neighbourhoods and rural communities.
Why is Skyline needed now?
The problem with the current approach to place-based investment decisions is that planners divert time to gathering and organising data, rather than exploring the consequences of proposed schemes’ investments.
Skyline will allow them to look closely at the impact of their investment and actions across multiple datasets.
Collecting relevant data, and analysing it in a relevant way, takes time and can be automated. Effective and useful scenario planning also relies on the baseline data, but it cannot be automated in the same way as baseline assessments — those making planning decisions or deciding how and whether to invest in urban spaces need to customise scenarios (changing land-uses or repurposing vacant buildings).
This can be unapproachable to non-technical audiences. Skyline is designed to have a user-friendly, intuitive interface that encourages experimentation and innovation, and works to allow planners and investors to visualise how changes to an environment play out over time. Additionally it lets them consider a huge variety of datasets — from demographic information to environmental considerations — fast.
Want to know more?
We can’t wait to start introducing Skyline to our friends, colleagues and peers. If you’d like to get involved, collaborate, or find out more, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up here for updates.