Planning Online: A Community-Based Interactive Decision-Making Model

Planning Online: A Community-Based Interactive Decision-Making Model

Tan Yigitcanlar (Queensland University of Technology, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-929-3.ch002
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The first use of computing technologies and the development of land use models in order to support decision-making processes in urban planning date back to as early as mid 20th century. The main thrust of computing applications in urban planning is their contribution to sound decision-making and planning practices. During the last couple of decades many new computing tools and technologies, including geospatial technologies, are designed to enhance planners’ capability in dealing with complex urban environments and planning for prosperous and healthy communities. This chapter, therefore, examines the role of information technologies, particularly internet-based geographic information systems, as decision support systems to aid public participatory planning. The chapter discusses challenges and opportunities for the use of internet-based mapping application and tools in collaborative decision-making, and introduces a prototype internet-based geographic information system that is developed to integrate public-oriented interactive decision mechanisms into urban planning practice. This system, referred as the ‘Community-based Internet GIS’ model, incorporates advanced information technologies, distance learning, sustainable urban development principles and community involvement techniques in decision-making processes, and piloted in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan.
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Planning is a future oriented activity, strongly conditioned by the past and present. As Friedmann (1987:38) highlights, it links “scientific and technical knowledge to actions in the public domain”. Ideally, it proceeds via public discourse between all groups and individuals interested in and affected by urban development and management activities pursued by the public and/or private sectors. In practice, such “comprehensive sharing of information and decision-making is rarely found” (Nedovic-Budic, 2000:81). Planners have always sought tools to establish the missing piece of planning (public participation) in order to enhance the analytical, problem solving, and decision-making capabilities of the planning mechanism. And now new technologies are promising opportunities in improving the efficiency of planning and two way communication between planners and the public (Al-Kodmany, 2007). Throughout the last century, urban and regional planning has been subject to a rapid technological change. Advancement of information technology especially that of the internet has urged the development of network-based support systems (wired or wireless) such as GIS, facility management and automated mapping (AM/FM), Internet GIS, virtual reality (VR) and various types of groupware. As Batty (1996) predicted these tools are now contributing to the automation of the planning process, reduction of the planning time, and increase in the opportunity for public participation in urban planning.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Location-Based Service: A service provided to the subscriber based on their current geographic location. This position can be known by user entry or a global positioning system receiver. Most often the term implies the use of a radiolocation function built into the cell network or handset that uses triangulation between the known geographic coordinates of the base stations through which the communication takes place.

Decision Support Systems: A class of computerized information systems that support decision making activities.

Planning Support Systems: Interactive computer-based systems designed to help decision-makers process data and models to identify and solve complex problems in large scale urban environment and make decisions.

Web-Based Public Participatory GIS: An online application of GIS that is used for increasing public access to information and active participation in the decision-making process and is an important improvement over existing public and decision-maker power relationships.

Geographical Information System: A system for managing spatial data and associated attributes. It is a computer system capable of integrating, storing, editing, analyzing, and displaying geographically-referenced information.

Online Environmental Information System: A web-based system for making environmental information transparent and instantaneously accessible to the public.

Public Participatory GIS: A GIS technology that is used by members of the public, both as individuals and grass-root groups for participation in the public processes (i.e. data collection, mapping, analysis and decision-making) affecting their lives.

Environmental Information System: An extended geographic information system that serves as a tool to capture, save and present spatial, time-related and content-specific data and at the same time to describe the condition of the environment in terms of negative impacts and risks.

Web-Based GIS: Also known as ‘Internet GIS’; is a new technology that is used to display and analyze spatial data on the internet. It combines the advantages of both internet and GIS. It offers public a new means to access spatial information without owning expensive GIS software.

Interactive Internet Map Server: An online mapping utility which enables users who may not be familiar with GIS to view and interact with online GIS.

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