During the design process of new urban environments, there are a number of decisions which have to be made involving many stakeholders. The energy or heat network is one of these decisions for which many and sometimes conflicting interests or preferences have to be taken into account. To seek alignment and comprehension between these stakeholders, a partnership between a Dutch energy provider, municipality and software developer have resulted in an Open Data based visualisation tool.
By using their tool, known as HEAT, a 3D visualisation is created by which the consequences of certain energy decisions are shown. The visualisation is based on economical and technical data models, taking into account a broad number of variables. By directly presenting the results of certain decisions a dialogue is created between the stakeholders, which aims to enhance the mutual understanding for the standpoints of different stakeholders. It is expected that this facilitated form of negotiation could lead to a 10% to 20% reduction of investment costs. The developer of the software is expecting Open Data to play an increasing role in urban planning and urges local authorities to publish more data to further detail visualisations.