Digitalisation of planning processes for land usage

Logo Kanton Aargau
Utilisation plan for municipal areas

Based on the Federal Spatial Planning Act, municipalities in the Canton of Argovia must prepare a comprehensive usage plan for their municipal area. The Department of Spatial Development (ARE), part of the Department of construction, transportation and environment of Canton Argovia, reviews and approves these plans in a multi-stage process. The procedure starts with submitting the necessary planning documents by the municipalities and usually takes several years until approval. Until now, the submission took place on paper or electronic media.

In 2022, ARE tendered the project “ePlanung” as part of “SmartAargau”, an initiative for digital transformation and modernizing the cantonal administration. The project aimed to transfer the planning procedure onto a digital platform to perform most of the process online. At the same time, the whole process should become more transparent to the municipalities and all other involved parties.

Our approach
The team at the canton already worked out new processes and workflows during a pre-project. Thus, the Karakun team started learning about construction law and spatial planning using detailed user stories in the first project phase. In addition to interviews with municipalities and planning offices, we also conducted workshops with the subject matter experts of the ARE team to understand their processes.

The results from this research phase and the analysis of the work processes showed that the workflows in the background are very complex and diverse. But the user should have a simple interface which guides him in his tasks. Using mockups, wireframes, and paper prototypes, we created a first impression of the application and the workflow that was refined during further feedback sessions.

Collaboration & Design
Both the canton and we wanted to include the user as early as possible in the project. Thus, we worked with a pre-selected focus group consisting of municipalities to get early feedback and work on suggestions for improvement.

At the same time as working with the customer and the users, we also had a close exchange with the development team. Together, we optimized the SCRUM-Process so that the User Experience Design had a firm place within our agile ceremonies. In the last phase of the project, our focus was creating the visual design based on the style guide recommendations of the canton.

The application looks impressive. Some municipalities will work with the application and test it in advance. After one year of development, the canton receives an up-to-date online application that will guide their municipalities to submit all relevant documents and information for their usage plans. The canton and all involved specialist units can give feedback and inform the municipality about the latest state of the proceedings.

Due to the structured, close and professional collaboration with the canton Argovia, Karakun delivers a product supporting municipalities and the canton in their daily business that simplifies the entire planning process.

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