E-Planning

E-Planning

C. N. Silva (University of Lisbon, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2007 |Pages: 5
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-789-8.ch106
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Abstract

E-planning is the e-government concept applied to urban and regional planning. It is the widespread use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), especially the Internet, in the planning system. A planning portal is the access point in the Internet, frequently in the context of a public digital city project. E-planning allows the municipality to carry out a new set of activities or to implement traditional procedures in a new form, due to geographical information systems, computer aided design and database systems, among other tools mentioned, for example, in Mohamed, Meng, and Abdullah (2003), Budthimedhee, Li, and George (2002), Campagna and Deplano (2004), and Harrison and Haklay (2002). E-planning corresponds, therefore, to the passage from a paper-based urban management system to one based primarily on electronic means of information and communication. But it must be seen as more than a simple transfer to a computer system of the traditional paper based routines (Mohamed et al., 2003; Parsol, 2004), requiring also the re-engineering of procedures, the development of a fully integrated ICT back office and, as Harrison et al. (2002) suggest, changes in the nature of the planning process itself. The aims of e-planning, such as more generally all the other components of e-government (for example, OECD, 2003; Pascual, 2003), are to provide better public services, more efficiently, with lower costs and, at the same time, to do that through more participative, transparent and more accountable decision-making processes. In its more basic level, the e-planning system only offers information and is, therefore, easier to implement. In its more advanced versions, where all or most of the planning services are delivered electronically, its implementation and daily management is not only a more complex task but it also involves more investment, as Couclelis (2004) notes for digital cities. According to the standards of e-Europe, the European Union (EU) initiative for the information society (CEC, 2000, 2002), the availability of public services online can be measured in relation to a framework of four levels of e-government maturity (CEC, 2004). Applying this scheme to the planning sector, we can consider that the first level—information—consists only in the publication of digital information through the Internet, with few or no capacities to interact. In the second level of maturity—interaction—users of the system can communicate directly with the planning department by electronic mail (one-way interaction); it is possible to download planning applications, for example. In the third level—transaction—users and the planning department communicate electronically with each other (two-way interaction); it is possible to process planning applications and to authenticate them. In the fourth level—integration—there is a full electronic handling of all planning functions.

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