Toward Sustainable Development in Cities: A Case for New Spatial Decision Support Methods in Urban Planning
Paper in proceedings, 2010
In the current environment of rapid global change the role of sustainable development in cities become even more important. In addition to the traditional concerns of combating sprawl, congestion, and pollution we also need to rethink our carbon footprints and the settlement impacts of a contracting global economy that is sure to change the very paradigm in which we plan.
If traditional methods (and their underlying assumptions) are becoming increasingly suspect, it is clear we need not only to consider new ways to define the problems we face but also seek better ways to solve them. This includes the infrastructure of cities. Manuel Castells‟ ''network society'' (Re: M. Castells: The Information Age, Oxford 1998) suggests that the world is no longer hierarchically organized or territorially arranged, but functions on a new ''borderless'' network of economy and society. This reality has not been fully brought down to the city scale in terms of how day-to-day planning is undertaken.
A city‟s network of connections and interactions is particular to its range of activities for a given population, location and land-use profile. Traditional development models continue to struggle with capturing how that particular environment will react to changes. Planners must not only consider community characteristics, environmental impacts, but also consider spatial behavior itself (Re: Reginald G. Golledge, Robert J. Stimson: Spatial Behavior, New York 1997).
It is fair to say that for sustainable development we need new management and planning tools to better define appropriate measures and policies. Despite best efforts many transport and land use policies implemented at the local level have not helped to improve conditions.
Land use and transport are two essential ingredients of urban sustainability and policy making, any decision taken in one area directly impacts the other. Current work on sustainable mobility suggests a need for new management and planning tools to define appropriate measures and policies. Such tools generally consist of analytical frameworks, mathematical models and economic evaluation constructs. In many instances, the resulting transport and land use policies that have been implemented at the local level have not helped to improve conditions. There are also examples where they have failed to maintain existing levels of sustainability.
The point here is that traditional planning methods will need to change to keep up with profound changes in the culture and economy of cities. Possible alternatives are not so far away. (Re: Ian Bracken: Urban Planning Methods, 2007). One such area of potential help is threshold analysis.
The purpose of this paper is to underscore the increasing need for policy makers to understand that a relevant decision making process requires a support of proper methods of urban research and coordinated strategic actions. Introducing the new methodology policies will keep policies “under review” and help them remain relevant to changing circumstances.
transport and land use models
spatial decission support methods