Beyond the Public Meeting: Building a Field-Based Participatory GIS for Land Use Planning in Monongalia County, West Virginia
Timothy L. Hawthorne (West Virginia University, USA), Michael Dougherty (West Virginia University, USA), Gregory Elmes (West Virginia University, USA), Christopher Fletcher (Monongalia County Planning Department, USA), Brent McCusker (West Virginia University, USA), Marta Pinto (Catholic University of Portugal, Portugal) and Daniel Weiner (West Virginia University, USA)
Copyright: © 2006
This chapter describes how community-based qualitative information about local land use is being incorporated into a Participatory Geographic Information System (PGIS) for the Cheat Lake Planning District of Monongalia County, West Virginia. The research demonstrates how PGIS can be an effective methodology for promoting community input into land use planning and for augmenting spatial decision-making for “smart growth.” The Cheat Lake PGIS is field-based and provides residents with an opportunity to discuss and map their priority land use issues and to identify land use hotspots in a way that is not typically possible in a general public meeting. This project also provides a useful example of the integration of academic PGIS research with an emerging county planning infrastructure and related set of regulations. This is achieved through multimedia representation of local knowledge with formal spatial information; for example, traditional GIS raster and vector data, community narratives, mental maps, GPS transect walks, geo-referenced photos, and sound. The Cheat Lake PGIS pilot project also offers important lessons for participatory land use planning.