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September 16th, 2008
Second Annual URISA Student Paper Competition Winners Announced

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PR — URISA is pleased to announce the results of its Second Annual Student Paper Competition.

First Place
Arjen Koekoek, Wageningen University – The Netherlands
ABSTRACT: The increasing complexity of spatial planning issues and pressure from citizens to take part in designing and deciding on spatial plans result in a need for improved methods to aid communication between governmental actors and citizens. These developments put high demands on participatory Planning Support Systems (PSS); instruments that can aid planners in doing their planning tasks. By using the accessibility of the internet, e-participation offers opportunities as a PSS. Although many advantages are attributed to participatory PSS, its use in the planning practice remains marginal until now. It is argued here that this is partly caused by the lack of empirical studies that demonstrate potential benefits and problems when applying PSS.

This paper provides guidelines for organizations that contemplate on using a participatory PSS. In order to do so, a framework is developed, identifying obstacles that could block effective participation in a PSS. Three planning processes are evaluated to investigate the importance of these obstacles. It is demonstrated that, although e-participation has potential as PSS, the lack of political will blocks effective participation and a more profound link between the citizen input and the decision-making is needed.

Second Place
Claire Brill, Clark University – Massachusetts
Using GIS to Contrast Perceived Versus Preferred Priorities for Brownfield Redevelopment in Worcester, MA
ABSTRACT: This paper compares the perceived priorities of decision-makers with the stated desires of stakeholders concerning brownfield redevelopment in the City of Worcester, MA.  Redeveloping brownfields left over from Worcester’s industrial past is held as a critical strategy for the future of this city in central Massachusetts.  However, the goals of this strategy vary across stakeholder groups.  Key informants were surveyed regarding their perceptions of brownfield redevelopment.  An inventory of Worcester brownfields was created from Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection records.  A multicriteria evaluation was carried out through Geographic Information Systems.  This study found that while economic development and job creation are the apparent focus for one set of influential decision-makers, protection of natural resources and public health are important to another group of stakeholders.  The outcomes for each end- use objective were examined to determine whether the goals for each could be met while focusing on only one redevelopment strategy.  Results reveal the land parcels that satisfy the objectives for only one group, both groups, or neither group.  Previously redeveloped sites were evaluated based on the same criteria to determine the extent to which existing and preferred priorities had been satisfied with these revitalization efforts.  The results show that focusing on perceived priorities will not accomplish preferred objectives for brownfield redevelopment in Worcester.

Third Place
U. W. Tang, University of Macau, Macau (PR China)
ABSTRACT: The method and accuracy of data capture dominate the spatial distribution of urban air pollution. Due to limited budget, installation space, and labor resources, permanent or temporary air pollution monitoring sites are very scattered. Air quality assessment of a city based on scattered monitoring sites may be incorrect because non-homogeneous distribution of air quality is neglected. Therefore, a number of model systems have been developed to estimate urban air quality at unsampled sites.
In this paper, representative air quality model systems, their data captures and their applications are reviewed, which show that the input/output spatial data are commonly stored in regular grids with resolutions of 1-2 km, regardless of the complexity of urban form. Recently, a model system which can estimate air quality (and noise) in front of individual buildings along both sides of the road is developed. Compared with the grid-based approach with spatial resolutions of 1-2 km, the present building-based approach can predict the complex spatial variation of traffic emission, urban geometry, dispersion and air (noise) pollution. The results show that the building-based approach may open an innovated methodology in data mining of urban spatial data for environmental assessment.

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