Urbanization suitability maps: a dynamic spatial decision support system for sustainable land use
Abstract. Recent developments in land consumption assessment identify the need to implement integrated evaluation approaches, with particular attention to the development of multidimensional tools for guiding and managing sustainable land use. Land use policy decisions are implemented mostly through spatial planning and its related zoning. This involves trade-offs between many sectorial interests and conflicting challenges seeking win-win solutions. In order to identify a decision-making process for land use allocation, this paper proposes a methodological approach for developing a Dynamic Spatial Decision Support System (DSDSS), denominated Integrated Spatial Assessment (ISA), supported by Geographical Information Systems (GIS) combined with the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). Through empirical investigation in an operative case study, an integrated evaluation approach implemented in a DSDSS helps produce "urbanization suitability maps" in which spatial analysis combined with multi-criteria evaluation methods proved to be useful for both facing the main issues relating to land consumption as well as minimizing environmental impacts of spatial planning.