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This research project should help clarify how planning and policy affect land change. The key challenge is that planning is context-sensitive while land-change modelling aims for generality. The overall aim of is thus to bridge these distinct paradigms and develop a scientific basis for adequately integrating regional spatial policies into land-change modelling.
Urban regions are undergoing a highly dynamic global process of land change. Planning and governance have a long tradition in urban as a means to guiding spatial development. However, a realistic model of the contribution of planning and policy to land change is still lacking, and planning is therefore only rudimentarily considered in land-change science. This project should help clarify how panning and policy affects land change. The key challenge is that planning is context-sensitive while land-change modelling aims for generality. The overall aim is to bridge these distinct paradigms and develop a scientific basis for adequately integrating regional spatial policies into land-change modelling. The first objective is to develop a theoretical model with the following core concepts: (1) spatial concepts as contained in strategic spatial plans, (2) key elements of governance efficiency, and (3) supra-regional development trajectories. The second objective is to assess the applicability of the theoretical framework by operationalizing the model and subsequently testing it and its operationalization in the urban regions of Zurich, Bucharest, and Austin, Texas. Different social science and natural science methods are applied and new methods developed. Indicators will be developed to quantify spatial concept, neighborhood configurations, and land use in order to “translate” the information contained in spatial strategy diagrams into pixel maps. Qualitative and quantitative case-studies of European urban regions will be compared to identify key elements of governance efficiency and randomness in supra-regional development trajectories. Standardized questionnaires will be developed for efficient data collection as will protocols for indicator calculations. These tools will operationalize the theoretical model so that it can be systematically applied in land-change modelling. The project draws on recent advances in the fields of regional governance, spatial strategic planning, and spatial analysis. The envisaged results are expected to clarify the impact planning can have in urban regions and lead to more realistic applications of planning intentions and plan implementation in land-change models. These models should consequently improve and are expected to become truly useful for decision-making and support politicians in their quest to guide change in sustainable directions.
GLP Methods: Decision Making, GIS, Modelling, Qualitative social science methods (interviews, observations, document review, surveys), Remote Sensing, Spatial Analysis