Lately, there’s been lots of buzz about the role of AI in nearly every industry. When it comes to land use approvals and permitting, many have assumed that our processes in Canada are too complex and nuanced for AI to be able to make a tangible difference…
…But I’ve already seen firsthand that that’s not the case.
Lately, I’ve had the pleasure of working with municipalities to streamline and digitize their permitting processes, in order that we might speed up approvals and unlock much-needed housing supply.
What I’ve learned is that, yes—if we think of AI trying to do the job of permitting the way it’s been done in recent years, then it’s hard to imagine technology piercing through the complex and arduous process.
But if we shift our mindset to leverage AI as a tool that can speed along the process by taking care of the low-hanging fruit—we unlock a whole new realm of possibilities.
What do I mean by this? Let’s say a municipality has bylaws in place that outline stock plans for multiplex developments.
Will these stock plans align with every single property that comes through? Of course not. But an applicant with an easy site, who wants a speedy, clean application process could design something in compliance with these plans.
AI could check for basic compliance and either:
> Send the project on through for final approval by a human.
> Identify the red-flag compliance issues and send the application back to the applicant for further work —without this application ever having to lay in a pile on someone’s desk.
And this isn’t the only use for AI by far. Any time we have tight, well-defined zoning bylaws, we have an opportunity for artificial intelligence to take some work off our municipal officials’ plates and speed things along for applicants…
…Which means we can get some projects across the line and under development more quickly, creating more housing in a fraction of the time… & freeing up precious staff resources for more complex sites.
Questions about how your municipality might be able to improve permitting processes with AI? Curious about how to mitigate aesthetic design choices and architectural variety when using stock plans and AI?
As always, my inbox is wide open for conversation on this fascinating subject. DM or add a comment below with your thoughts!
To a future full of new possibilities,
PS – Please register here for the November 2nd panel on AI & the Housing Crisis offered by ULI BC