Operational research in spatial planning

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The need to develop new methods supporting spatial planning is nowadays one of major challenges of modern urban planning. Discourse on new ways of urban management gains new meaning and is in fact a discussion about the contemporary urban planners skills and tools. The paper presents new solutions which could provide a support for coordinated, rational, and transparent decision making under conditions of risk and uncertainty. MCDA is a is a sub-discipline of operational research and was developed in 1960s in the business sector. MCDA is used in the situation of having multiple, usually conflicting, criteria and therefore has a potential for implementation in spatial planning. Some examples of using the MCDA methods for the purpose of urban management are offered. General evaluation of the proposed approach is conducted in order to identify strengths and weaknesses that could be addressed in further research. So far, it seems that bringing together economics, operational research, ICT, and applying them in the field of urban studies, could improve city policy making and urban management. It seems fair to say that urban planners might have no other choice but to look far outside their own academic discipline in search of new tools; therefore, the paper encourages a discussion on whether methods derived from operational research could be incorporated into spatial decision making process.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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