New Technologies & Planning

New Tech. & Planning - Goals

The GOAL: improve the communication and the knowledge between AESOP members on what is the state of the art, the methodologies and the practice of New Technologies in Planning.

The topics of New Tech. in Planning:
- New Technologies and Planning (Spatial & A-Spatial)
- The University and the Courses taught on New Tech.
- The Research at AESOP member schools
- Research Labs
- The New Technologies and the Practice of Planning
- The Information and Communications Technology

1. OVERVIEW:

The information technology revolution is producing multiple impacts on society. A key issue is the availability and role of information (spatial and a-spatial) and the importance of spatial analysis for the well being of society, the economy and the environment.

The development of computer technologies has dramatically changed the possibilities of analysis and communication with maps and other types of spatial data and is critical in urban and environmental analysis and management. City leaders and planners recognise the importance of this kind of information infrastructure for instance in urban economic development and in the well being of its citizens.

The acknowledgement that the solution for the majority of the existing problems requires some sort of consideration of geographic distribution spanned the use and applications of spatial planning. For instance, in what concerns Geographic Information Systems, initially used for informing decision makers of probably outcomes of alternative courses of action (i.e. scenarios), or more locational analysis (i.e. optimal site selection), and land development policy (i.e. determining appropriate land use for various sites); today its application spans to interactive visioning of different approaches and multi-functional decision support tools that incorporate multi-criteria methods of evaluation, and multiple participants in the decision-making process. New Technologies and Planning have therefore the potential to introduce more transparency and participation.

Major spatial data technologies, such as remote sensing (RS), geographic information systems (GIS), and global positioning systems (GPS) promoted a rapid increase and availability of information. The capabilities to collect, evaluate, distributing, manipulating, process, comprehend, and visualising different types of spatial data allows to extend the use of spatial data for instance in real-time applications (i.e. ITS).

At the university level, the programs are paralleling these dynamics, and some programs include courses on New Technologies and Planning, in order to strengthen the skills and methods of its future professionals. In order to perform this labs need to be set and the “configuration” of courses is reframed, to include a more practical component. By itself, research labs play an important role at the university, and planning technologies need to follow, and be a part of, the development of the major trends of innovation.

An analysis of the AESOP yearbook reveals, a fragment number of courses throughout the schools and a lack of identity that would conglomerate these courses under a common umbrella (thematic group of AESOP “new technologies in planning”).

I think by having this thematic group we would be increasing the identity and cohesion of the planning schools (aggregating under this theme a common body of courses on planning and new technologies) and we would be simultaneously increasing the capacity of placing planning schools on the job market. Finally I think we would increase the chances of presenting more knowledge on these subjects and its elated fields.

2. WHAT IS THE GROUP AIMING TO DO ?

The goal: improve the communication and the knowledge between AESOP members on what is the state of the art, the methodologies and the practice of New Technologies in Planning.

The topics of New Tech. In Planning:

  • A – New Technologies and Planning (Spatial & A-Spatial)
  • B – The University and the Courses taught on New Tech.
  • C – The Research at AESOP member schools
  • D - Research Labs
  • E –The New Technologies and the Practice of Planning
  • F- The Information and Communications Technology

The Scales (from local, regional, global), and the analysis (spatial and a-spatial)

The aims:  [just some examples, more will be added resulting from this year AESOP and from the opinions of the members]

  • A – New Technologies and Planning (Spatial & A-Spatial)

-  evaluate and present the methods of spatial planning

-  present main achievements of New Tech. contributing to the theory of planning

  • B – The University and the Courses taught on New Tech.

-  evaluate the state of the art of the AESOP schools on the subject of New. Tech.

-  evaluate the status regarding the Bologna specifications

-  evaluate the requirements for the European Infrastructures (i.e. European Information Infrastructure)

  • C – The Research at AESOP member schools

-  evaluate the state of the art of the AESOP schools on the subject of New. Tech.

  • D - Research Labs

- identify the labs at each member school that their subject of research

  • E –The New Technologies and the Practice of Planning

- what is the case-base component at each course

-  what is the degree of relationship with public and private companies

-  importance given to contracted private research

  • F- The Information and Communications Technology

- what is the ICT value for the university, courses and labs

-  elements to start ICT at the University

 

3. WHAT TOPICS WILL IT BE DISCUSSING, AND IN WHAT FORMAT ?

New Technologies and Planning (Spatial & A-Spatial)

Contributions to the history and theory, methods and the substantive area of New Technologies and Planning:

Some of the subjects that will be highlighted:

·         Spatial Decision Support Systems

·         Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis

·         Modelling and Simulation

·         Multimedia and Virtual Reality

·         WebGIS

·         Digital Libraries

·         Legal Issues

·         The Future of Spatial Information Technology

·         Future investment in spatial information technologies (both human and financial)

·         Public Participation and Information Technologies

·         Implementing and Managing GIS

·         Application areas and case studies

·         Information and Communications Technologies (ICT)

 

The Research Subjects on New Tech.  among AESOP member school

From this subject we will develop initiatives to evaluate (i.e. though survey, small discussion group, or roundtable):

-Who is teaching and researching on New Technologies and Planning at AESOP and in Europe?

-What are the main subject areas of New Technologies and Planning at each Aesop Conferece?

-Evaluate major concerns (1): Bologna and its need the methods and substantive area of New Tech. and Planning ?

-Evaluate major concerns (2): The European Infrastructure (i.e. Planning and data requirements and standards)?

The University Courses on New Tech.

An analysis of the AESOP yearbook reveals that few planning schools take spatial analysis as a primary course, fewer have the subject New Technologies approached, and when they do it is just on the GIS perspective. None seem to take an integrated approach to planning support systems or similar subjects, and none seem to have courses that assess the impacts on new technologies on the territory.

It seems to be fairly reasonable to suggest a first meeting at this AESOP conference, at least with the schools that already perform some sort of spatial analysis, but open to all schools. The goal would be to evaluate the state of new technologies (i.e. spatial analysis courses) and the main options taken by the schools (i.e. why is it that the option was taken to not create a course on New Tech. Or on spatial analysis?;. The second goal would be to start a discussion on the interest of having courses on new technologies in planning (i.e. what are the opportunities and resources, what would be the structure).

The New Technologies and the Practice of Planning

Further steps of this thematic group would include the importance of promotion/advertisement of the planning schools that perform spatial analysis to the private and public sector, as a way to increase students probably of finding a job (the new tech. job sector is increasing and permanently looking for new people).

It would be also important to establish close contact between practitioners and the researchers in order to have university research labs answering to some of the daily needs of practitioners. All of this would imply setting up strategies and common actions among different the schools.

The Research Labs

The mote of spatial planning and information technologies is in the basis of a set of “dialogues” about research labs and spatial planning. Six major subjects are given by us to the invited speakers prior to the conference, to be detailed at their talks. Afterwards, discussion will be open between those at the conference centre and those that remotely participate at the session.

This session will take aprox. one hour, each invited speaker will be granted with a 10 minutes presentation of their own ideas about the main subjects. Afterwards the discussion will be open to the public.

The main subjects (still to be discussed):

·         How do research labs position themselves at the information age (structure, major subjects of research, timing of projects…)?;

·         The importance of channelling information from the lab to the classroom and to the citizen;

·         The dualism public and private funding, and national policy agendas for research;

·         Networking, consortiums and other type of activities;

·         The spatial component of the research;

·         What are the major barriers to research.

 

The Information and Communications Technology

The information technology revolution is having multiple impacts on society.  Another aspect of the impact of ICT on planning which has been less developed relates to the spatial effects resulting from particular choices of high-tech industry location, changes in "space-time" scales (eg. teleworking, logistics etc.) or new technopark/clean room centres' design.

As a decision-making tool, the development of computer technologies has dramatically enhanced methods of analysis and communication with maps and other types of spatial data and is critical in urban and environmental analysis and management. City leaders and planners recognise the importance of this kind of information infrastructure for instance in urban economic development and in the well being of its citizens

New forms of Information and Communication Technology change not only the decision-making process but bring new issues to light. These are for example linked to the location of associated activities, including “high-tech” production or supply of urban services. New practices, new urban lifestyles and new locational issues for hi-tech production activities have thus emerged.

Some  aspects of the information ad communications technology are:

  • The use of ICT in urban design and use of urban places (traffic information, CCTV, Info-entertainment, wi-fi, GSM masts, urban and natural landscape protection…),

  • the "time-space" effects produced by ICT networks and connected/disconnected areas (teleworking and telecottages, telecommuting, automated and 24/7 services…),

  • the evolution of the “hi-tech spaces” (science/techno parks, mediacities, micro-nano Research and Development and production sites…).