Improving planning support the use of planning support systems in spatial planning
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Improving Planning Support The use of planning support systems in spatial planning. Guido Vonk, Henk Ottens, Stan Geertman, Paul Schot Geo-Information – Environmental Sciences Utrecht University [email protected] Contents. Introduction Theoretical approach Methods Results

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Improving planning support the use of planning support systems in spatial planning

Improving Planning SupportThe use of planning support systems in spatial planning

Guido Vonk, Henk Ottens, Stan Geertman, Paul Schot

Geo-Information – Environmental Sciences

Utrecht University

[email protected]


Contents

Contents

  • Introduction

  • Theoretical approach

  • Methods

  • Results

    • Instrumental quality approach

    • User acceptance approach

    • Diffusion approach

  • Interpretation

  • Conclusions

  • Recommendations


What is spatial planning

What is spatial planning?

  • Planning is the activity that connects knowledge to action in the public domain” (Friedman, 1987)

  • Spatial planning concerns issues of land use

  • Many kinds of knowledge

    (tacit, explicit, experience, formal, informal etc.)

  • Mix of content, process, context

analysis

action


Planning and complexity

Planning and complexity

  • Planning is very complex

    • multi objective and multi dimensional (Hall, 1975)

    • amount and diversity of information

    • political and power related aspects (Forester, 1989)

    • organize communication with stakeholders

  • Demand for support!

    (e.g. Van Rooy et al, 2004; Dammers et al, 2004, Stillwell et al, 1999)


Planning support systems

Planning Support Systems

  • Geo-information technology based instruments;

  • For storage and retrieval, visualization, communication, analysis and/or modelling of planning information;

  • Usually within a software package with a shared user interface

  • Dedicated to support those involved in planning to handle the complexity of their planning tasks

  • Examples:Environment Explorer, UrbanSim, CommunityViz, Index, Maptalk


Problem

Problem

  • Ample supply of PSS

  • But PSS are in general not widely used in spatial planning practice

  • While planners do demand support to handle complexity of planning

PSS

Planning Practice


Why pss for support

Why PSS for support?

  • Common motive: belief in technology and rationality

  • Common objection: policy process too dynamic for technology, society too complex for rationalization

    Better motives for PSS:

  • Human cognitive capabilities are limited (e.g. Simon, 1958)

  • Empirical studies show an important role for rational analytical methods in policy in general (e.g. Amara et al, 2004)

  • Many communicative planning processes fail due to problems with knowledge handling (e.g. In ‘t Veld, 2001)

  • PSS support communicative and rational aspects of planning


Research aim

Research Aim:

  • To find explanations for the relatively small degree of application of PSS in spatial planning practice

  • Based upon this, make suggestions that could enhance application, assuming that the use of PSS could improve spatial planning


Theoretical approaches to the problem

PSS

PSS

Planningspraktijk

Planningpractice

Instrument

Instrument

Communicatie

Gebruikers

Communication

User

benadering

benadering

benadering

approach

approach

approach

quality

kwaliteit

diffusie

diffusion

acceptatie

acceptance

Theoretical approaches to the problem


Research questions

Research questions

  • Which instrumental quality related factors hamper practical application of PSS in spatial planning practice?

  • Which factors explain the limited acceptance of PSS in spatial planning practice?

  • Which factors explain the limited diffusion of PSS in spatial planning practice?


Methods

Methods

  • Worldwide Web-based Surveys among experts

    • 90, resp. 30 respondents

  • Interviews and survey among intended users

    • 43 Planners, geo-info specialists, executives of provinces

  • Literature survey for system developer views

    • 58 PSS involved


Instrument approach quality

PSS

PSS

Planningpractice

Planningspraktijk

Instrument

Instrument

Communicatie

Gebruikers

Communication

User

benadering

benadering

benadering

approach

approach

approach

kwaliteit

quality

diffusie

diffusion

acceptance

acceptatie

Instrument approach: quality

Which instrumental quality related factors hamper practical application of PSS in spatial planning practice?


Theoreti cal specification of the instrument approach

fit?

fit?

Planning task

PSS-technology

User

Theoretical specificationof the instrument approach

Instrument quality: Task-technology-user fit

(Goodhue&Thompson, 1995)


Improving planning support the use of planning support systems in spatial planning

PSS

Planning practice

Results

PSS in general applied infrequently because:

  • Instrument quality of PSS needs improvement:

    • Supply does not match demand (advanced vs simple)

    • Usefulness and Userfriendliness of advanced systems now insufficient


User approach acceptance

PSS

PSS

Planningpractice

Planningspraktijk

Instrument

Instrument

Communicatie

Gebruikers

Communication

User

benadering

benadering

benadering

approach

approach

approach

kwaliteit

quality

diffusie

diffusion

acceptance

acceptatie

User approach: acceptance

Which factors explain the limited acceptance of PSS in spatial planning practice?


Theoreti cal specification user approach

Awareness

Consideration

acceptance process

Evaluation

Decision

Usage

Theoreticalspecification user approach

Technology Acceptance Model

(Davis, 1986; Frambach&Schillewaert, 2002; Rogers, 2005)

  • Acceptance

  • Influence factors

  • Properties of:

  • Instrument

  • User

  • Organisation

  • Social environment

  • Externalenvironment

  • Facilitation


Improving planning support the use of planning support systems in spatial planning

PSS

Planning practice

Results

PSS in general applied infrequently because:

  • Acceptanceof PSS in planning practice is limited:

    • Many different factors hinder acceptance

    • Little awareness of the existence and potential of PSS

    • Little experience with application of PSS

    • Little intention to start using PSS


Communication approach diffusion

PSS

PSS

Planningspraktijk

Planningpractice

Instrument

Instrument

Communicatie

Gebruikers

Communication

User

benadering

benadering

benadering

approach

approach

approach

quality

kwaliteit

diffusie

diffusion

acceptatie

acceptance

Communication approach: diffusion


Theoretical specification communication approach crossan et al 1996

Theoretical specification communication approach (Crossan et al, 1996)


Improving planning support the use of planning support systems in spatial planning

PSS

Planning practice

Results

PSS in general applied infrequently because:

  • Diffusionof PSS hampered:

    • PSS are difficultly taken up by planning organizations

    • Bottom-up diffusionof PSS is most promising but often blocked

    • Miscommunication GI-specialists - planners

    • Mainly management supported strategies, fear of ICT investments


Interpretation refinement of the problem

InterpretationRefinement of the problem


Interpretation pss usage model

InterpretationPSS usage model


Conclusions

Conclusions

  • Differences in degree of PSS usage:

    • Informing PSS are rather widely used

    • Communicating PSS are less widely used

    • Analyzing PSS are hardly used

  • Primary causes for less widespread usage are:

    • lack of experience

    • lack of awareness of existence and potential

    • lack of instrumental quality

  • Secundary causes for less widespread usage are:

    • hampered acceptance

    • hampered diffusion


Recommendations

Recommendations

Usage recommendations:

  • More attention is needed for the application environment instead of technology drive

  • The application environment should incorporate characteristics of the learning organization

    Development recommendations:

  • Incremental development of PSS, expanding from applications that are already used

  • Dedication to planning tasks and users e.g. through flexible toolboxes

  • Enhanced communication and cooperation with users in PSS development

    Research recommendations:

  • Study best-practices of PSS usage

  • Study benefits of PSS usage

  • Develop a planning model for PSS supported planning


Discussion

Discussion


Why pss ii

Why PSS II

  • Empirical studies show that rational analytical methods do have an important role in policy in general (Amara et al., 2004; Caplan, 1979; Merry, 1995). Rational analytical knowledge can provide explanations with quality and permanence.

  • Experiences show that many communicative planning processes suffer from:

    • excessive use of power;

    • uncritical use of experience knowledge;

    • insufficient attention for planning as a learning process;

    • insufficient use of scientific knowledge;

      often leading to ineffective plans, strong criticism towards governments and demands for more evidence-based policies


Why pss iii

Why PSS III

  • Communicative planning methods tend to overestimate human cognitive capabilities to handle societal complexity ad hoc in communicative processes. Most people can only deal with only three or four variables at a time, through only one or two iterations. To compensate, decision makers typically assume simple cause/effect relationships, rather than multiple interactions; simple and independent systems instead of strongly interlinked systems; and no time delays in the system (De Geus, 1988; Lyons, 2005).


Methods1

Methods

  • Developer perspectives  literature survey

    • 58 systems

    • Scored on intended planning task, information function, user

    • Main sources: Brail&Klosterman 2001, Geertman&Stillwell 2004

  • User perspectives  group interviews & quick scan

    • 43 employees of 12 Dutch regional planning organizations

    • 12 interviews with 2-4 interviewees, 1½ hr per interview

    • Planners, geo-info specialists, executives

  • Expert perspectives  worldwide web-survey

    • 90, resp. 30 respondents

    • Open questions and closed questions

    • On the current status of PSS technology, its potential and on bottlenecks blocking the potential from being achieved


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