Analysis of the Relation between Spatial Structure and the Sustainable Development Level: A Case Study from Mashhad, Iran

Proceedings of the Eighth International Space Syntax Symposium, Santiago, PUC, 2012


“This research aims to study the relation between spatial structure and sustainable development level with the case of Mashhad, a city at the north‐east of Iran. The literature suggests that there is a positive relation between socio‐economic processes and the spatial form in a city, thus in order to comprehend socio‐economic processes, understanding the spatial form of the city is essential. Also the socio‐economic relations in different parts of a city can indicate sustainable development level of the areas by which the development indicators could be assessed.  In order to study this relation, 136 neighbourhoods in Mashhad have been examined in which space syntax is used to study the spatial structure of the city and factor analysis is used to identify sustainable development level. In this study 20 indicators in different subjects including social, economic, physical, environmental, and welfare are combined and are considered in the analysis as the indicator of the quality development.

Mashhad socio‐economic condition

Mashhad socio‐economic condition (Farnahad, 2009)

“The results suggest that there is a positive correlation between local integration and integration r‐r with the changes in sustainable development level; however, this is not the case for global integration. Thus, one of the main reasons for having inequality in socio‐economic conditions in different parts of the city could be a heterogeneous spatial structure in the city.”

Minimizing Transportation Costs with Location-Allocation Analysis: An Application to Recycling

URISA2011 URISA Student Competition, Student Paper Awards–Third Place Paper

Laura Reading

“Ecomaine, a regional non-profit waste management company in Portland, Maine, sought to reduce transportation costs to member communities that transport recycling in 30 square yard collection roll-off containers (known as “silver bullets”) to the Ecomaine recycling facility. This study objective was to minimize transportation costs by identifying the minimum number of consolidation locations to serve all silver bullets in fewer than twenty miles and the minimum number of locations to serve all silver bullets in fewer than thirty miles using the location-allocation analysis tool in GIS.

Left, Scenario 1, five facilities serve all silver bullets in fewer than 32 km; right, Scenario 2, three facilities serve all silver bullets in fewer than 48 km. One consolidation location is not shown in either Scenario because it is an outlier.

Left, Scenario 1, five facilities serve all silver bullets in fewer than 32 km; right, Scenario 2, three facilities serve all silver bullets in fewer than 48 km. One consolidation location is not shown in either Scenario because it is an outlier.

“The economic benefits of using the new consolidation locations were calculated by determining the net cost savings based on the reduction in distance traveled. The environmental benefits were also calculated by determining the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions based on the reduction in distance traveled.”

Web-based GIS Approaches to Enhance Public Participation in Wind Farm Planning

Transactions in GIS, April 2011, Volume 15, Issue 2

Robert Berry, Gary Higgs, Richard Fry, and Mitch Langford

“Planning information pertaining to the potential visual impacts of proposed construction developments is particularly important in the case of wind farm planning, given the high levels of concern amongst members of the public regarding the perceived negative visual impacts of wind turbines on the landscape. Previous research has highlighted the shortcomings associated with traditional visualization techniques used to assess these impacts, and also the means by which such information is then disseminated to the wider public during the consultation stages of the wind farm planning process. This research is concerned with examining the potential of Web-based mapping and digital landscape visualization techniques for addressing some of these shortcomings. This article reports the findings of a Web-based survey study designed to evaluate the potential of online GIS-based approaches for improving the effectiveness and dissemination of wind farm visualizations and enhancing public participation in the wind farm planning process. Results from the survey study add to the research literature by demonstrating how innovative Web-based approaches have real potential for augmenting existing methods of information provision and public participation in the planning process. The findings of this study are also potentially transferrable to other landscape planning scenarios.”

Using Decision Tree to Develop a Soil Ecological Quality Assessment System for Planning Sustainable Construction

Expert Systems with Applications: An International Journal, Volume 38 Issue 5, May 2011

Joonhong Park, Dongwon Ki, Kangsuk Kim, Suk Jun Lee, Dong Ha Kim, Kyong Joo Oh

“Soil ecology is the foundation of the entire biosphere and plays a significant role in global ecosystems. Soil ecology is important in the decision-making aspects of mega-construction projects. Despite its significance, soil ecological quality is not normally included in environmental impact assessments for sustainable development. This study develops and presents a new expert system to assess soil microbial diversity as an indicator of soil ecology quality using decision tree (DT) algorithms and GIS (geographic information system)-based spatial analysis. Our modeling results show that forward and backward DT models provide development-oriented and conservation-oriented information maps. To resolve potential conflicts by the different model predictions, a new mapping approach was developed for identifying strict conservation and potential development areas. These results suggest that the newly developed soil ecological quality assessment system can be used for planning mega-construction projects.”

Call for Participation: Geographic Information Science for Livable and Sustainable Communities

Research and Policy Workshop

o5-o6 May 2011, Keck Center of the National Academies, Washington DC

Transportation plays a vital role in the livability and sustainability of communities. Recent policy initiatives by the US Department of Transportation, Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency attempt to improve community livability and sustainability. Th e success of these initiatives depends on the ability to conceptualize, measure and analyze livability and sustainability when evaluating transportation policies, plans and projects.

Geographic information science, technologies and data can facilitate better understanding of livability and sustainability, and help guide the development of transportation systems that create more livable and sustainable communities. Geo-spatial technologies allow the collection of high-resolution data on the dynamics of transportation and communities, as well as the physical environment in which they are embedded. New spatial analytical and geo-spatial knowledge discovery techniques allow deeper insights into these unprecedented data and the development of location-based services off er new opportunities for engagement between communities and individuals. Leveraging these scientific and technological breakthroughs requires dialogue between scientists and policy makers to coordinate interest and efforts.

This workshop will bring together leading scientists concerned with geo-spatial technologies, transportation and communities, and policy leaders concerned with shaping livable and sustainable communities. The intent is an exchange of world-views and formulation of an agenda to advance an integrated research and policy agenda.

Call for Participation
Registration is free but available space is limited. Interested participants should provide a one-page statement of interest and a current CV or resume to one of the organizers (see below) by 22 March 2011. Only digital submissions (in PDF format) will be accepted.

Organizers and Contacts
Transportation Research Board Committee on Geographic Information Science and Applications (ABJ60): Harvey J. Miller, University of Utah.; University Consortium for Geographic Information Science: Timothy Nyerges, University of Washington:

US Federal Highway Administration. Additional support by the DIGIT Lab

Prioritizing Preferable Locations for Increasing Urban Tree Canopy in New York City

Cities and the Environment, 3(1), 2010

Locke, Dexter; Grove, J. Morgan; Lu, Jacqueline W.T.; Troy, Austin; O’Neil-Dunne, Jarlath P.M.; Beck, Brian.

“This paper presents a set of Geographic Information System (GIS) methods for identifying and prioritizing tree planting sites in urban environments. It uses an analytical approach created by a University of Vermont service-learning class called “GIS Analysis of New York City’s Ecology” that was designed to provide research support to the MillionTreesNYC tree planting campaign. These methods prioritize tree planting sites based on need (whether or not trees can help address specific issues in the community) and suitability (biophysical constraints and planting partners? existing programmatic goals). Criteria for suitability and need were based on input from three New York City tree-planting organizations. Customized spatial analysis tools and maps were created to show where each organization may contribute to increasing urban tree canopy (UTC) while also achieving their own programmatic goals. These methods and associated custom tools can help decision-makers optimize urban forestry investments with respect to biophysical and socioeconomic outcomes in a clear and accountable manner. Additionally, the framework described here may be used in other cities, can track spatial characteristics of urban ecosystems over time, and may enable further tool development for collaborative decision-making in urban natural resource management.”

Classification of European Biomass Potential for Bioenergy Using Terrestrial and Earth Observations

The CEUBIOM project is funded by the European Commission under the Framework Programme 7

“With the advent of Earth Observation (EO) techniques in natural sciences, an increasing interest has been documented by experts for using these approaches in order to estimate the potential of biomass production for specific areas.

“The combined use of EO-derived data with in-situ measurements based on common agricultural and forestry survey practices can be a powerful tool for assessing biomass potential.

“The ambition of CEUBIOM project is to develop a Platform and a self-sustained e-service that will directly assist and train professionals from the EO, agricultural and EO/biomass sectors about the new, common and harmonised applications of EO and a better understanding of each other’s requirements.”

Dynamics and Sustainability of Urban Agriculture: Examples from Sub-Saharan Africa

Sustainability Science, Volume 5, Number 1, 2010, 69-78

Pay Drechsel and Stefan Dongus

Urban agriculture can have many different expressions, varying from backyard gardening to poultry and livestock farming. This article focuses on crop production on larger open spaces in cities of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and investigates the sustainability and dynamics of this type of land use, which is common on undeveloped plots particularly in lowlands, such as in inland valleys, or along urban streams or drains. An adapted version of the Framework for Evaluating Sustainable Land Management (FESLM) developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) was used to assess the sustainability of urban agriculture. As an example for dynamics, the spatio-temporal changes of open-space agriculture in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, are analyzed for the period from 1992 to 2005, and compared with data from other cities. Crop production on urban open spaces appears as a market-driven, highly productive and profitable phenomenon. However, it is often constrained by tenure insecurity and non-agricultural land demands. Also, the common use of polluted water limits the official support of irrigated urban farming. However, despite these constraints, the phenomenon of urban farming appears persistent and resilient to its changing environment, although individual farmers might have to shift to other sites when their plots are needed for construction. Open-space vegetable production in urban areas is a dynamic, viable and largely sustainable livelihood strategy, especially for poor urban dwellers. Spatio-temporal analysis shows that it is not a short-lived or transitional phenomenon—probably as long as it can maintain its comparative market advantage. However, its informal nature and resulting lack of political recognition need to be addressed.”

Managing Tricky Decentralised Competencies: Case Study of a Participatory Modelling Experiment on Land Use in the Lake Guiers Area in Northern Senegal

Sustainability Science, Volume 4, Number 2, 2009, 243-261

Grégoire Leclerc, Alassane Bah, Bruno Barbier, Laurence Boutinot, Aurélie Botta, William’s Daré, Ibrahima Diop Gaye, Christine Fourage, Géraud Magrin and Mame Arame Soumare, et al.

“We describe an action-research project whose objective was to help stakeholders at different organisational levels achieve sustainable land management by developing mediation models and tools. We chose to test a specific approach called companion modelling in the framework of a multidisciplinary research partnership and a formal local partnership (a ‘users committee’) involving an array of stakeholders at different organisational levels. The study area covers 10,000 km2 of agro-pastoral land around Lake Guiers in northern Senegal. We conducted studies to update the knowledge base of the area and organised six field workshops that clearly revealed three important tool functions to support decision-making on land use at different scales, i.e. understanding maps, monitoring and evaluating land tenure, and foreseeing changes in land use. We found that a toolbox approach was the best way to implement the three functions and overcome the constraints faced by the research team and those linked to the timing of the project. Therefore, we produced five simple complementary tools aimed at various users: a farm-level optimisation model (for researchers and technical services), a database for land allocations and a discussion tool to assess the impact of land allocation decisions (for the rural council), a paper atlas (for local players) and a regional land use change simulation model (for regional and national planners). Participants were able to work with paper maps, to interpret computer-generated simulations of land use change and understand the strengths and limitations of each. Self-assessment of the research process emphasised the importance of the context and the critical role played by social capital at both the research and the field level, which, in turn, emphasised the need for major improvements in the design and implementation of a quality process for participatory modelling. It turns out that action-research may be an effective way to undertake sustainability science.”

Structuring Sustainability Science

Sustainability Science, Published Online 23 August 2010

Anne Jerneck, Lennart Olsson, Barry Ness, Stefan Anderberg, Matthias Baier, Eric Clark, Thomas Hickler, Alf Hornborg, Annica Kronsell and Eva Lövbrand, et al.

“It is urgent in science and society to address climate change and other sustainability challenges such as biodiversity loss, deforestation, depletion of marine fish stocks, global ill-health, land degradation, land use change and water scarcity. Sustainability science (SS) is an attempt to bridge the natural and social sciences for seeking creative solutions to these complex challenges. In this article, we propose a research agenda that advances the methodological and theoretical understanding of what SS can be, how it can be pursued and what it can contribute. The key focus is on knowledge structuring. For that purpose, we designed a generic research platform organised as a three-dimensional matrix comprising three components: core themes (scientific understanding, sustainability goals, sustainability pathways); cross-cutting critical and problem-solving approaches; and any combination of the sustainability challenges above. As an example, we insert four sustainability challenges into the matrix (biodiversity loss, climate change, land use changes, water scarcity). Based on the matrix with the four challenges, we discuss three issues for advancing theory and methodology in SS: how new synergies across natural and social sciences can be created; how integrated theories for understanding and responding to complex sustainability issues can be developed; and how theories and concepts in economics, gender studies, geography, political science and sociology can be applied in SS. The generic research platform serves to structure and create new knowledge in SS and is a tool for exploring any set of sustainability challenges. The combined critical and problem-solving approach is essential.”