Community data platform uses GIS to improve urban planning

Yeme Tech graphic - improving urban planning
Yeme Tech’s platform will create more engaged communities by helping councils and developers to identify facilities that residents actually need

Bradford-based Yeme Tech has created a community data platform (CDP) to help planners and developers instantly identify social infrastructure, facilities and community spaces that are missing from neighbourhoods.

Yeme Tech founder and chief executive Amir Hussain is deputy chair of housing regeneration and place at West Yorkshire Combined Authority. He believes the CDP will improve urban planning, creating happier and more engaged neighbourhoods by empowering councils and developers to identify facilities and events that residents actually need and will frequent.

Yeme Tech plans to take this approach global after signing a partnership deal with GIS specialist Esri UK. Esri UK’s customers include HS2, the Environment Agency, Ordnance Survey, and more than 200 local authorities in England and Wales.

Instead of imposing top-down solutions on neighbourhoods, the platform is layered with granular insights about communities to help planners and developers cultivate and manage long-term relationships with the people who have the largest stake in the success of a neighbourhood: the local residents.

Hussain said the platform not only measures community resources – such as schools, shops, green space, libraries and cultural assets – but also local stakeholders, local events and the activities of local groups.

This gives a far more holistic view of the social as well as economic health of communities, he argued. The CDP can cross-reference this data with demographic information to better judge whether local needs are being satisfied and whether there are any gaps in provision.

This enables planners and developers to make sure new property and social interventions deliver inclusive growth for marginalised and hard-to-reach community groups. It also helps to create more integrated and fulfilling places for everyone. 

Social value reporting

With social value increasing in importance, the platform’s ESG social reporting index helps developers, investors and others to target and evidence social uplift around their assets or sites.

Hussain said: “Society has changed beyond all recognition over the past 30 years. The failure of places to keep pace with change is understandable. This means towns and cities have lost track of the needs and wants of local people. This leads to places losing their sense of identity, while loneliness, exclusion and community fragmentation are having profound impacts on health and wellbeing.

“The death of retail and the high street offers councils and developers a bold opportunity to reinvent their neighbourhoods by strengthening existing social and community assets and strengthening relationships with local stakeholders.

“It can be very complex and time-consuming to regenerate our towns and cities to adapt to meet the current and future needs and wants of their citizens.

“Our CDP provides granular local detail in real-time to strip away the complexity and enable planners and developers to work with local communities to deliver successful urban planning that provides the facilities and social infrastructure that people need and want.”

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