How to Support Strategic Decisions in Territorial Transformation Processes

How to Support Strategic Decisions in Territorial Transformation Processes

Marta Bottero (Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning, Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy), Valentina Ferretti (Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning, Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy) and Giulio Mondini (Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning, Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/IJAEIS.2015100103
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Abstract

Territorial transformations can be regarded as a multifaceted concept which includes socio-economic, ecological, technical, political and ethical perspectives. Decision problems in the domain of territorial transformations represent “weak” or unstructured problems since they are characterized by multiple actors, many and often conflicting values and views, a wealth of possible outcomes and high uncertainty. This paper addresses decision problems in the context of urban and territorial planning projects using the Multi Attribute Value Theory (MAVT), a particular kind of Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis method and it provides an application on a real case located in the city of Torino (Italy).
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Introduction

Problems related to territorial planning and environmental decision-making are intrinsically complex because they involve multiple attributes which are defined by subjective elements (Marttunen and Hamalainen, 1995).

Projects, plans and programmes are subject to specific evaluation procedures, which aim at assessing the overall sustainability of the proposed solutions. In this context, mention can be made to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), which are defined at the European level by the Directives 2014/52/EC and 2001/42/EC, respectively. Both EIA and SEA over time have increasingly considered not only the environmental effects of plans and projects, but also social and economic effects. In this context, it has been noticed that neither an economic reductionism nor an ecological one is possible (Munda, 2005). Since in general, economic sustainability has an ecological cost and ecological sustainability has an economic cost, an integrative evaluation framework is needed for tackling sustainability issues properly.

When speaking about sustainability in territorial planning, decision making requires consideration of trade-offs between many objectives: factors that range from the reduction of soil consumption to the optimization of the use of environmental resources, from the promotion of economic activities to the requalification of downgraded urban areas, from the endorsement of energy efficiency to the rationalization of transport systems.

To help addressing these problems, the use of Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) (Roy & Bouyssou, 1993; Figueira et al., 2005) has gained attention in the last years.

This paper considers the problem of sustainability assessment in territorial planning projects using the Multi Attribute Value Theory (MAVT) (Keeney & Raiffa, 1976), a particular kind of MCDA method.

Starting from a real case concerning the transformation of an urban area in the city of Torino (Italy), the aim of the paper is to explore the contribution of MAVT for planning decision making processes. In the application, several alternative projects are evaluated on the basis of different criteria and attributes, such availability of services, urban regeneration, acoustic emissions, land consumption and so on. In the result of this approach a ranking of sustainable alternative solutions is provided.

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