Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning


City and Regional Planning


William Riggs


As advances in web and mobile technologies have rapidly changed the world of businesses, they have also begun to fundamentally change the way local governments understand and interact with their communities. In an effort to evaluate the use of online and mobile technology for government work, this thesis examines the use of mobile technology as a vehicle for local government practice, specifically looking at the field of urban planning. These opportunities have been broadened with the introduction of Internet-enabled mobile devices, as location-based information is used to increase awareness of user activity, movements and behaviors in real-time conditions and specific contexts (Kwak et al., 2010). This paper (1) explores how mobile technology is currently influencing planning practices, (2) defines a taxonomy for current mobile applications, and (3) hypothesizes how these technologies will influence the future of the planning profession. Findings from a survey of local planning agencies about their interactions with web and mobile technologies demonstrate that although many planners own a smartphone or tablet and are aware of existing mobile potential, they are not entirely dependent on those devices for work purposes. Currently, many planners take advantage of basic productivity software (email, word processing, search engines, online forms, etc.), but do not utilize planning specific mobile applications to support their work. Despite pressure from citizens, elected officials, and younger staff members to integrate more interactive technologies in planning work, there are often numerous barriers to implementing mobile technologies, especially for agencies in smaller jurisdictions.