For us to become an innovative economy, the way we plan to use our land must also be innovative. We need more thorough, future-oriented economic development planning. That planning needs to be coordinated at the municipal, regional, and national level. Political decisions should be concentrated in debating the land use plan. Zoning and permitting need to be separate. Zoning needs to be handled by experts. Permitting needs to be managed by highly professional administrators.
Finland faced many of the same problems we do now. Digitization helped. Digital modelling (BIM) helps estimate environmental impact, traffic flow, energy use, schooling requirements, as well as reducing the workload and time needed for permitting. BIM helps move decisions about a city's future from opinion to an algorithm-based examination of how communities can develop economically, socially, and environmentally.
Our new Finnish mentors left us with one other innovative idea: the Finnish national government negotiates agreements with cities which send cities more funding in exchange for achieving national development goals. This seems a very pragmatic approach to weave the many municipalities of the present into the Country for the Future.
Thank you for the idea exchange.