Jacqueline Churchill

Visualizing the future with the help of AI

Jacqueline Churchill, Planner I, 509.625.6986

Thursday, December 14, 2023 at 4:16 p.m.

Visualizing the future with the help of AI

Updated January 18, 2024

The City’s Planning Services Department tried something different on Oct. 26 during the public open house for its Centers and Corridors Study.

To gain insight into the public’s vision for the future, the open house featured an activity with a new and infamous technology – Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Using Bing Image Creator, a free online program, City staff helped attendees type in a prompt or string of words describing their ideas. Then, the AI technology running Bing Image Creator used the prompt to generate unique, customized images.

The technology was used in addition to the tried-and-true methods of dot maps, sticky notes, and graphs.

AI has been making waves in the media and, although the fate of the technology is yet to be decided on a larger scale, the open house seemed like a good opportunity to test it.

Participants had fun developing the images and seeing if the generator could accurately depict their ideas based on the prompt. Some attempts were more successful than others. One gentleman specifically wished for a streetscape without scooters, only to have his image show multiple scooters in the middle of the street.

However, the exercise helped everyone start thinking in new ways about where we want to go as a community in our Centers and Corridors. As we get ready to update the Comprehensive Plan, now is the time to think about the next 20 years. Do we want everyone to be able to walk to a grocery store? Do we want everyone to have access to attainable housing? Do we want flying cars? The answers to these questions, both the serious and the silly, can help tell us how we can support Centers and Corridors to serve your needs and vision for the future.

The City is conducting a study of the Centers and Corridors growth strategy before the 2026 Periodic Update of the City’s Comprehensive Plan. The current Comprehensive Plan adopted a strategy of directing growth to mixed-use transit-rich environments known as Centers and Corridors. The City is now evaluating potential updates to this strategy, with recommendations expected to be available by May 2024. More information about the study can found at the Centers and Corridors project page. If you have questions, email centersandcorridors@spokanecity.org.

There’s still time to create your own image! Go to Bing Image Creator, generate an image, and email it to us at centersandcorridors@spokanecity.org. We’ll add your image to our collection.

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