UK's largest housing association adopts innovative software for site assessment

Image showing how quickly different options generated by SiteSolve can be viewed in context.

The UK’s largest housing association, Clarion Housing, has partnered with leading smart city and planning platform, VU.CITY, to use its innovative technology to help assess potential sites for new housing and community facilities across the country.

Clarion will be using SiteSolve, which was conceived and designed by the computational design team at engineering giant, Ramboll, and is exclusively interoperable with VU.CITY, bringing together engineering and technical acumen to address real-world problems.

A major blocker for development is often understanding the potential of sites and what can be delivered. However, SiteSolve will allow Clarion to understand the viability of various sites before acquisition – providing the ability to perform hundreds, and even thousands, of detailed capacity studies at once.

Dave Lee, director of digital design and offsite manufacture at Clarion Housing Group, said: “At Clarion, we are constantly advancing our digital capabilities to achieve a higher quality product for our residents.

"Using VU.CITY and SiteSolve will allow us to create fast and reliable feasibility studies based on more robust information, meaning our early decisions are more informed.

"This new partnership puts us at the cutting edge of digital design, not only for a housing association but in the entire construction industry.”

Jamie Holmes, CEO of VU.CITY and SiteSolve said: “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Clarion and the use of VU.CITY and SiteSolve to plan their national portfolio.

"They are the first to be pioneering the use of this cutting-edge technology and real-time data to help de-risk projects from the start and allow the team to make better decisions, faster and enable the delivery of much-needed homes across the country.”


The software enables users to rapidly generate, draw, edit and analyse plans to understand the potential of different strategies and schemes for a site, allowing possible design impacts to be evaluated and mitigated in real-time, saving hours of speculative work and design time.

Having the SiteSolve tool work interoperably with the VU.CITY platform, which includes digital twins of 26 UK and international cities modelled to 15 cm accuracy, will allow Clarion’s development team to see proposed schemes in their surrounding context, aiding early stage feasibility studies.

VU.CITY has weather, daylight and sunlight features, as well as data such as listed buildings and conservation areas, that will enable Clarion to see the real-time impacts of a scheme.

VU.CITY will provide 3D visualisations of buildings with the ability to tweak heights, number and use of units, as well as the ability to understand key views.

Importantly, it will save Clarion significant costs throughout the planning process by allowing the company to assess the suitability of sites from the start using accurate data that also includes consented and under construction schemes so that proposals can be seen in the most up-to-date context.

The pioneering technology will make the design and decision-making process for a planning application more efficient and streamlined by helping to communicate key benefits and considerations to stakeholders in a visually engaging and accessible way.

VU.CITY and SiteSolve were appointed by Clarion Housing following an extensive competitive process, successfully beating other leading generative design tools as a result of the digital platform’s technical and commercial advantage across the market.

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