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Web-based GIS for collaborative planning and public participation: An application to the strategic planning of wind farm sites

Simão, Ana, Densham, Paul J., Haklay, Mordechai
Journal of environmental management 2009 v.90 no.6 pp. 2027-2040
geographic information systems, decision support systems, citizen participation, wind power, case studies, decision making, England
Spatial planning typically involves multiple stakeholders. To any specific planning problem, stakeholders often bring different levels of knowledge about the components of the problem and make assumptions, reflecting their individual experiences, that yield conflicting views about desirable planning outcomes. Consequently, stakeholders need to learn about the likely outcomes that result from their stated preferences; this learning can be supported through enhanced access to information, increased public participation in spatial decision-making and support for distributed collaboration amongst planners, stakeholders and the public. This paper presents a conceptual system framework for web-based GIS that supports public participation in collaborative planning. The framework combines an information area, a Multi-Criteria Spatial Decision Support System (MC-SDSS) and an argumentation map to support distributed and asynchronous collaboration in spatial planning. After analysing the novel aspects of this framework, the paper describes its implementation, as a proof of concept, in a system for Web-based Participatory Wind Energy Planning (WePWEP). Details are provided on the specific implementation of each of WePWEP's four tiers, including technical and structural aspects. Throughout the paper, particular emphasis is placed on the need to support user learning throughout the planning process.