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James K. Lein

Department of Geography
Ohio University
















Preface ix

1 The Nature of Planning 1

Common Themes and Common Problems 1
The Concept of Planning 4
The Process of Planning 5
Problem Denition and Expressing Needs 6
Adopting a Systems View of Planning 15
Planning as Decision-Making 18
Propelling Issues in Planning 19
Summary 21
Focusing Questions 22
2 Dening the Environmental Approach 23
The Nature of Environmental Planning 23
Philosophical Antecedents 25
Ecologys Niche 27
Guiding Ecological Principles 29
The Environmental Planning Process 32
Integrative Environmental Planning 36
Building Toward Sustainability 39
Summary 43
Focusing Questions 43
3 Making Plans 44
A Conceptual View 44
Plan Formulation 50
The Role of the Community 53
Developing Environmental Plans 57
Plan Implementation 62
Plan Evaluation 65
Summary 66
Focusing Questions 66
4 Natural Factors in Environmental Planning 68
The Relevance of Environmental Information 68
The Role of Natural Factors in Planning 69

Assessing the Physical Environment 71

Geologic Controls 72
Geomorphic Controls 74
Topographic Controls 76
Soil Considerations in Planning 78
Climatic and Hydrologic Considerations 81
Biotic and Ecological Considerations 84
Natural Hazard Considerations 89
Physical Systems and Design 90
Summary 91
Focusing Questions 92
5 Landscape Inventory and Analysis 93
Regional Landscape Inventory and Monitoring 93
Land Evaluation and Analysis 98
Methods of Landscape Assessment 100
Land Capability Analysis 101
Developmental Suitability Analysis 104
Extensions Based on Articial Intelligence 111
Carrying-Capacity Analysis 112
Summary 114
Focusing Questions 114
6 Natural Hazard Assessment 115
Dening Hazards and Risk 115
A Typology of Hazard 118
Hazard, Risk, and Uncertainty 131
Hazard Analysis and Assessment 135
Planning with Hazards and Risk 136
Summary 139
Focusing Questions 139
7 Environmental Modeling and Simulation 140
Models and Modeling 140
The Simulation Process 143
Prediction and Scenario Projection 145
Computer Modeling Methods 148
Summary 159
Focusing Questions 159
8 The Decision Support Perspective 160
The Role of Information Technology 160
From Data to Information 161
Planning and Decision Support 162
Decisioning and Geographic Information Systems 162
GIS Design for Environmental Decision Support 167
GIS-guided Planning Support 172
The Question of Error 177
Managing GIS Projects 178
Beyond Conventional GIS 181

Summary 182
Focusing Questions 183
9 Ethics, Conict, and Environmental Planning 184
Ethics and Choices 184
Toward an Environmental Planning Ethic 187
Contemporary Environmental Thought 191
Linking Thought to Planning Practice 195
Summary 197
Focusing Questions 197
10 The Impact of Change 198
Environmental Impact Assessment 198
The Method of EIA 201
EIA and NEPA 203
Impact Identication and Screening Techniques 204
Impact Forecasting 206
Growth-inducing Impacts 207
Cumulative Impact Assessment 208
Time and the Long Term 210
The Environmental Performance Assessment 210
The Continuing Challenge 212
Summary 213
Focusing Questions 214

References 215
Index 222

Many elds contribute to the study and practice voted too much discussion to one subject and not
of environmental planning and the contents of enough to another. Fortunately, the eld of envi-
courses on the subject typically reect this diver- ronmental planning is large enough to support
sity. While some may view this as a type of bias others contributions, and I hope this book will
where one instructors background and training sustain interest in environmental planning and
suggests the only path the topic may follow, encourage others to produce treatments on this
diversity suggests richness and reects the truly topic as well.
multidisciplinary nature of environmental plan- I look upon this text as an introduction to
ning and problem-solving. I do not believe that the eld that links the process of planning to
there is a single best approach to this subject the the landscape and presents the need to know
topic is as dynamic as the landscape on which information that will ensure that environmental
planning is practiced. Although environmental concerns remain part of the planning process.
planning enjoys a 30-year history as a formal I have also connected planning to the technologies
course of study, it remains an evolving subject that that support the analytic and integrative aspects
changes as our awareness and understanding of of the subject. Through the inclusion of GIS and
the environment grows. I do not pretend to have computer modeling, it is my aim to close the gap
all the answers in this book, nor do I wish to pro- between these technologies and their applica-
vide the nal word on the topic. Rather, I set out to tion in order to help the student recognize that
write this book with the ambitious goals of placing these methods have merit and that they comple-
environmental planning into a more contempo- ment the activities of the environmental planner.
rary context and differentiating the environ- The audience of this book can be as varied as the
mental approach to planning from subjects such subject itself. While this text was written primarily
as resource management, environmental engine- to reach undergraduates majoring in geography,
ering, and landscape analysis. In this book, my environmental studies, and regional planning,
principal aim was to bring together a selection of I hope that the material will also be of interest to
pertinent themes and topics that support my graduate students specializing in environmental
approach to environmental planning. One of the planning and management, and environmental
greatest challenges, I soon discovered, was the professionals as well.
enormity of the task of synthesizing and integrat- Finally, while I may have been the person that
ing a disparate collection of material that forms put these words onto the page, there were many
the foundation to the subject. Out of necessity, I others who helped me along in this process. First,
became very selective, identifying the approach I need to recognize the support and patience of
I considered important to the student, then in- my family my wife Christine, and my daughters
cluding only that material I considered germane. Adriana and Elena: none of this would have been
In reading this text others may nd that I have de- possible without you, and I would never have
x P R E FA C E

embarked upon this project had it not been kept telling me to stick with it even though there
for your motivating inuences. Next, I wish to were times when chucking it all and selling T-shirts
thank those that reviewed earlier drafts of this by the beach seemed like a better prospect.
work. Your comments were helpful and I know
this book is better because of them. Finally, Id like James Lein
to thank that little voice in the back of my head that Athens, Ohio
Integrated Environmental Planning
James K. Lein
Copyright 2003 by Blackwell Publishing

The Nature of Planning

Each of us engages in the process of planning, Common themes and

whether it is in the context of our next vacation, common problems
our eventual retirement, or the selection of courses
for our next academic term. Planning has been ob- To begin our exploration of environmental plan-
served to be a fundamental human activity, and ning we can examine a few hypothetical situations
suggests an important strategy that helps us that help place the problem of planning and its
consider possible outcomes before we commit role in society in its proper context. Above all,
to a specic course of action (Catanese & Snyder, these examples remind us that the environment in
1988). Yet the concept of planning and the intellec- which planning takes place is complicated by the
tual tools that we apply in our daily lives are sub- numerous voices, issues, and opinions that must
stantively different from how the environmental be addressed as alternatives and recommenda-
professional practices planning. When applied to tions for the future are expressed.
the environment, planning is concerned with the
problem of reconciling environmental function-
If you build it, they will drive, then what?
ing to broadly dened stakeholders, each with
diverse and often conicting interests. The goals In this rst example, a land developer approaches
of planning when placed into this arena and the ofcials in a small community with a proposal to
means to achieve them can be highly uncertain, construct a regional mall. The community sees
and the results of most environmental plans can this proposal as an important opportunity to
be realized only after long periods of time have increase employment and to encourage economic
passed. In this chapter we will set out on our development. The necessary permits are granted
exploration of environmental planning by look- and construction begins. Once the project is
ing rst at the intellectual tools that drive it. completed and the mall opens, the single road
From here we can examine what it means to plan leading to the new facility quickly becomes con-
and how we can organize our thinking to focus gested with trafc and the need to widen this
our recommendations about the future in the way major artery to accommodate the activity generat-
that is most productive. Throughout this intro- ed by the mall is quickly recognized. Widening the
duction to the nature of planning, emphasis is road, however would require businesses along
given to the idea that planning is problem-driven, one side of the street to lose valuable land that is
information dependent, and never an absolute or presently used for parking and product display.
perfect answer. On the opposite side of the street, road widening
would mean that a row of 15 regionally signicant

trees would need to be removed. The trees are is an intense demand for single-family housing
considered by many in the community to be in the region and the land area in question is ex-
aesthetically pleasing, and indicative of the rural tremely attractive, accessible, and well suited for
small-town atmosphere that is a source of pride the types and densities of development proposed.
in the community. Construction of homes in this area would satisfy
In the absence of any road improvements, local demand, enhance the community tax base,
neighborhoods paralleling the main mall access and reduce land market pressures that have al-
road have noticed a steady increase in trafc as ready begun to elevate rents and house prices in
shoppers explore shortcuts to avoid trafc snarls the region. Being somewhat isolated, the area is
and delays. The increased trafc elevates noise served only by a single two-lane road that tra-
levels and introduces serious safety concerns for verses over a sequence of small ridge tops and
residents in the affected areas. Residents of these passes by a series of houses dispersed in this his-
neighborhoods would like to see the mall access torically rural area. Present residents are con-
road improved to alleviate the trafc, noise, and cerned that the addition of more homes would
safety problems. Businesses along the access increase vehicle trips and increase trafc along
street would also like a wider street, but not if it this narrow corridor. This would lead to noise and
means losing front footage they need for off-street safety problems and alter the atmosphere of this
parking. Residents of the community who travel quiet rural setting. Others in the region are con-
along the street leading to the mall would also like cerned over the loss of a valuable amenity re-
a wider road since it would reduce travel time and source that by itself provides important habitat
congestion, but many would hate to see the tree- functions for deer and other animals living in the
lined street destroyed. A save our local environ- region. Others are worried that new development
ment group opposes any plan to widen the road cannot be accommodated by the existing water
on the grounds that it would encourage more traf- and sewage system and that inadequate water
c, and the loss of historically signicant trees pressure may degrade the ow of re hydrants in
would degrade the sense of place in the com- the area and present a very real risk to public safe-
munity. They advocate greater funding for alter- ty. In the absence of a clear plan, the objectives and
native forms of transportation and press civic needs of the community cannot be adequately bal-
leaders to consider more sustainable forms of anced by the equally important need to maintain
land development. the viability of the larger environmental system.
As decision-makers weigh options for the
future, if a mechanism had been in place that
Down by the sea
would have foretold the possibility of these con-
sequences, a more appropriate decision could Finally, there is the example of the community lo-
have been made that would have avoided some, cated in a coastal area popularized by summer va-
if not all, of the problems that are now more dif- cation cottages, and where recreation and tourism
cult to resolve. have traditionally supported the local economy.
To maintain the rural setting and atmosphere,
building densities were kept purposely low and
Homes on the range
the dispersed pattern of settlement required most
Across the river, residents of a hillside housing de- homes to use septic systems to treat domestic
velopment are concerned by a proposal to expand waste water. Over time, growth pressures coupled
their subdivision. This neighborhood, comprised with urban encroachment emanating from the
primarily of upper-middle income professionals, large urban center only 40 miles away have trans-
is isolated in a wooded area, quiet, surrounded by formed this community to an ex-urban settlement
habitat native to the region. Residents in this area well within the commuter shed of the rapidly
enjoy the proximity to open space and use this growing metropolitan region to the north. Popu-
area as a local recreation resource. However, there lation now resides here year round, and because of
T H E N AT U R E O F P L A N N I N G 3

the widespread use of septic systems, coupled we recognize that change is underscored by an ele-
with the communitys location on predominantly ment of uncertainty. In this context uncertainty
sandy soils with a water table close to the surface, points to the unknown and often the unknowable.
serious water quality problems have become re- It also suggests to us that change, the processes
cognized. Cultural eutrophication and overload- it denes, and the events that materialize are al-
ing is common in the marshlands and estuaries ways subject to our ignorance. The next theme
along the coast and this has adversely impacted is choice. Although the presence of choice may
wetland functioning and altered habitat. Resi- not always be obvious, those consequences result
dents now complain of the bad smell, algae from a given alternative: a possible arrangement
growth, and other nuisances, while environmen- of things that contributed to the events which
tal groups ask for growth controls and demand ended with the reality we see. Of course we may
steps be taken to mitigate the adverse impact not always know that ahead of time, so we often
development is having on the coastal region. wait for events to unfold. Whats more, we may be
uncertain as to which alternative is the best choice
Each of these illustrative vignettes introduces sev- and how events may be connected as they drive us
eral common themes that focus our attention on toward change. However, in most cases no one
the nature of planning and problems that encour- wants to wait for the end to be realized. Wed all
age an environmental approach. This environ- like to know in advance what the possible out-
mental response to planning recognizes the need comes might be, or at least be given a hint as to
to achieve a balance between human require- what we might expect. This universal human
ments to exploit the landscape to satisfy societal quality introduces the nal theme that motivates
wants, with the equally important need to main- planning: risk. Risk explains the possibility of
tain and enhance environmental quality. Thus, being wrong and what being wrong may mean in
unlike community planning, urban planning, or human and environmental terms. Although risk
its variants, environmental planning is uniquely can be dened more precisely later in this text, for
concerned with understanding the connection be- the moment we can think of risk as the proverbial
tween human landscape and the ecological and fork in the road where we have to decide which
physical processes that directly and indirectly sus- path to take, and learn to understand the implica-
tain our existence. By employing this understand- tions of the wrong choice and accept the poor
ing in the design of plans and policies, better plans alternative and the adverse consequence that
can be developed and more sustainable human may follow.
patterns can be crafted. A set of common ideals or In each of the illustrative examples presented
themes helps project that understanding. above human beings introduced or suggested a
The rst major theme underscored in the vi- change. From that change an outcome was pro-
gnettes introduced above is that of change. As duced, an alternative was selected, an element of
a theme, change reminds us that the world we risk could be identied, contrasting perspectives
inhabit is dynamic and that we (humans) are al- were shown, and each ended with an uncertain
ways responding to or encouraging change in our reality. Those realities invite more opportunities
world. This change may be purposeful or inadver- to affect change, consider a set of alternative ac-
tent; nonetheless it is a process that we live within, tions, deliberate over uncertainty, and make judg-
and a process that directs us as we attempt to di- ments about risk. For most of us, none of the
rect it. The second theme is that of consequence. outcomes presented in our illustrative scenarios
Consequence describes the culmination of a se- are desirable. In the rst example we are left with a
quence of events that represent a pattern or reality street that cannot be widened since it will compro-
that we must confront. It points to the fact that mise local businesses on one side, and a line of his-
processes produce events and events take on a torically signicant trees on the other. In the
form and become real. The third theme is uncer- meantime, neighborhoods suffer the consequence
tainty. As events and decisions reshape our world, of increased trafc and possible risks to safety.

Wouldnt it have been easier to have seen these served for hiking or off-road vehicle use? How do
consequences well before we introduced this we decide? What if we are wrong? Therefore, we
change, looked critically at all the factors in- can rene our denition to describe planning as a
volved, and considered the implications of method for reconciling choice under conditions of
choice? risk and uncertainty. However, regardless of de-
In the second example we are asked to decide nition, a central element of planning is the desire
between the need for housing for people and the to direct change in order to produce a benecial
loss of habitat for deer. In addition we are required consequence at some point in the future. In this
to consider the value of land for its aesthetic use sense we can think of planning as a vision.
and realize its value for that purpose, while For example, in a small town faced with the pres-
also evaluating the importance of meeting basic sure to grow and develop, planning becomes the
human needs. In this hypothetical example, wed means by which this community sees itself and ex-
like to know what the alternatives are, how well presses how it wants to appear in the future. This
they meet the human need for affordable housing future orientation is a critical aspect of what plan-
while also protecting important habitat qualities ning means, although it can be a perspective that
for functioning, sustainable environment. Can we is easily forgotten when reactive thinking domi-
acquire that information to guide us to make the nates public-policy making agendas. Because
appropriate choice? planning takes place along a time continuum, it is
Again, in our nal example we are dealing with more than simply a skill, it is a future-oriented
change and the external forces that introduce ef- activity that contains its own unique formalisms
fects that we dont always see. Here, we are asked and directives.
to examine the connections between human- From this simple denition, the scope of what
driven processes of change and how they interact planning is and what it means begins to take
with those of the environment. We are also re- shape. Here we may introduce several pragmatic
quired to look at the cumulative effects of change considerations to extend our denition. First is the
and how they create a reality that would be realization that planning as an activity is moti-
difcult to see one person and one transforma- vated by specic goals and objectives. This idea
tion at a time. Above all, this example, as do the suggests that when one undertakes the intent to
others, suggests the importance of seeing the plan, one necessarily denes a course of action. As
future or at least directing the future toward a such the plan describes a type of decision-making
compatible state. It is this future orientation and where goals and objectives are used to help select
the need to be proactive that embodies the concept among alternative solutions. The implication,
of planning. based on the above, is that planning is purposeful
and denes a continuing process that helps orga-
nize our thinking. Above all, as Barlowe (1972) re-
The concept of planning minds us, planning is the opposite of improvising.
Thus we can consider the activity of planning
The concept of planning is difcult to dene in as a form of proactive decision-making where the
precise terms. Perhaps at its most fundamental risks and uncertainties of the future are mini-
level planning can be described as a universal skill mized and a course of action or program takes
that involves the consideration of outcomes form that facilitates the wise allocation of im-
before a choice is made among alternatives (Feldt, portant and potentially scarce resources. Recent
1988). To illustrate this idea, consider the desire of events surrounding the California energy crisis
Anytown, USA, to preserve open space for recre- illustrate how unanticipated events and the cu-
ational uses. Open space and recreation are fairly mulative effects of poor planning can leave
well understood ideas, but the decision of which few options and force policy-makers into a reac-
lands to preserve as open and for what recreation- tive posture. By minimizing risk and uncertainty,
al uses is not a simple matter. Should lands be pre- planning supports the belief that the future can be
T H E N AT U R E O F P L A N N I N G 5

Alternatives 3 Evaluation of alternative courses of action.

Risk 4 Recommendation of a course of action.
A general planning procedure is typically com-
Change prised of a number of stages or phases executed
Planning systematically over a specic time schedule. Al-
though there is a tendency to conceptualize the
activity of planning as a clearly dened linear
Objectives Choice sequence, in actuality the stages are not always
followed in a rigid sequential fashion and nor
should they always be. Rather the process may
Fig. 1.1 The features of the planning problem. evolve iteratively with considerable elaboration
and renement along the pathway to the solution.
One convenient way to examine the process of
controlled, albeit in a limited and selective way, so planning is through the lens of rationality. The
that societies vision can be realized (Fig. 1.1). fundamental stages of the rational approach to
As Levy (1997) asserts, the need for planning in planning include:
this context simplies to two basic words, inter- 1 Identication of the problem and determi-
connectedness and complexity. If the earth were nation of need.
sparsely populated and the technologies we lived 2 Collection and analysis of data.
by simple, there would be little need for planning 3 Development of goal and objectives.
(Levy, 1997). The observed fact, however, is that 4 Classication and diagnosis of the problem
planet earth is not sparsely populated and our and surrounding issues.
technologies are sufciently complex that without 5 Identication of alternative solutions.
consideration for the future and the wise manage- 6 Analysis of alternatives.
ment of resources an orderly progression of soci- 7 Evaluation and recommendation of actions.
ety cannot be assumed. A reasonable person may 8 Development of an implementation
argue that as society commits itself to a more in- program.
tensive use of the earths surface, planning be- 9 Surveillance, monitoring and evaluation of
comes a necessity. However, there are differential the outcome.
levels and degrees to which the concept of plan- This nine-step process is illustrated in Fig. 1.2 and
ning is applied and practiced which contributes to presents the logical ow of tasks together with
many of the problems society confronts. There- several non-linear elements that suggest places
fore, through planning we can prioritize the goals along the sequence of phases where review and re-
and needs of a community and manage scarcity nement may be encouraged. According to this
with improved efciency. For that reason it be- rational approach to planning, each phase in the
comes convenient to conceptualize the question process consists of numerous substeps that vary
of why we plan as the process which evolves to in detail in relation to the nature of the problem.
guide us toward the future. Real-life planning decisions do not always fol-
low the rational approach (Leung, 1989). Several
reasons can be offered to explain why. First is the
The process of planning realization that many planning decisions are reac-
tive in nature and have a much shorter time hori-
Planning is both a logical process and a method- zon and scale than long-range planning enjoys.
ology that denes a series of components that Secondly, there is often a lack of resources that
direct our attention toward four interrelated frustrates attempts to create carefully articulated,
activities: systematic methodologies. Lastly, the structure of
1 Establishment of goals and objectives. the rational approach may not t with the nature
2 Collection and analysis of information. of the planning problem under consideration. All

Identify the problem and

determine needs

Data collection
and analysis

Develop goals
and objectives

Classify and diagnose


Identify alternative


Evaluate and make


Develop an implementation

Survey and monitor

outcomes Fig. 1.2 The general process of

too frequently, the complexity, interconnected- ment of goals and objectives, the identication
ness, and uncertainty that surround planning con- and analysis of alternatives, the collection of data,
tribute to the development of problems that are and the implementation of a program or course of
poorly structured or wicked. Such problems action. By connecting these analytic components
often keep transforming themselves or contain of the planning process to the substantive issues
elements that are not well understood. In these that motivate us to take action, an outline to direct
situations the qualities of the problem suggest that planning can be developed. That procedural out-
a rigid adherence to a particular mode of thinking line and its salient characteristics are examined
or analysis may be unrealistic and undesirable. below.
However, when viewed as a process, plan-
ning, while methodical, must remain sensitive to
changing needs and circumstances as dictated by Problem denition and
the problem (Leung, 1989). In this context, regard- expressing needs
less of complexity, the availability of resources,
and time pressures, planning always involves the Formulation of the right planning problem is the
careful denition of the problem, the develop- pivotal beginning place in the process of planning
T H E N AT U R E O F P L A N N I N G 7

(George, 1994). Problem formulation begins with numerous reasons to explain planning failures,
the awareness of need, where need may be ex- solving the wrong problem is a surprisingly com-
pressed in very specic terms, such as the need to mon factor (George, 1994). Solving the wrong
widen a road to accommodate increased trafc, or problem is similar in concept to a Type III error in
can be articulated in a much broader sense, such statistical hypothesis testing. In statistics, a Type
as a communitys need to enhance environmental III error explains the situation where the hypothe-
quality or preserve open space. Needs, however, sis tested has little relevance to the phenomenon
can beveryelusiveanddifculttoexpress,particu- under investigation. Therefore, when attempting
larly in situations where community aspirations to determine whether the right problem has been
conict. Therefore, identifying the problem may identied, it becomes important to recognize the
mean more than simply problem-solving, but also fact that problems, in the abstract, are not real enti-
problem avoidance. In practice, planning is most ties, but mental constructs. They explain or repre-
frequently used to address perceived problems sent an unsatisfactory reality that is subjective and
and to ensure that these problems do not occur in does not exist outside the perceptions and concep-
the future (Leung, 1989). However, the question tualizations of the individuals confronting them
to consider when dening the problem involves (Smith, 1989). This point noted, problems are, in
careful consideration of the distinction between a essence, the products of thought acting on envi-
problem and the right problem. This is not un- ronments that characterize elements of prob-
like the situation encountered in areas such as lematic situations that have been abstracted by
northeastern Ohio that are experiencing the loss of analysis. The fact that a hillside poses a landslide
agricultural land. Its not that farms are disap- threat is only problematic if we wish to subject that
pearing, its that annexation and land-tax policies hillside to some form of human use. Likewise, an
encourage homes to appear instead. earthquake fault trending under a valley presents
While it may seem an oversimplication, a a problem only if its presence is unsatisfactory to
problem when viewed through the lens of plan- the goal of developing that valley for high-density
ning denes the difference between expectation urban uses. Thus, before continuing along this line
(farmland) and reality (suburbanization), and of reasoning, a distinction must be drawn between
those expectations and the reality perceived are the problem, explained as a mental construct, and
often heavily value laden. Consequently, prob- a problematic situation, which is an external reali-
lems tend to be identied by reference to an expec- ty. With respect to the planning process, problem-
tation or goal. Expectations may be as basic as a atic situations are the targets of identication, and
road that is free of trafc congestion, a develop- from those situations problems are dened. Prob-
ment proposal that will not adversely affect lematic situations can be arranged along a con-
wetland functioning, or a housing stock that is tinuum that can be used to show how they may
affordable to middle income groups. Expressions be approached and which solution strategies are
of a problem may be based entirely on a des- most appropriate when considering their inu-
cription of symptoms, the outgrowth of previous ence (Fig. 1.3). At the low end of this continuum
studies that have discovered an issue that requires are problematic situations that are puzzle-like
action, or an idealistic afrmation of community and comparatively well dened (the need for ad-
values voiced under specic conditions or circum- ditional parking spaces in a downtown shopping
stances. In each of these instance we must ascer- district). When confronted with problem situa-
tain whether the problem is the right problem. tions of this type, goals can be clearly prescribed
George (1994) notes that problem-solving is a and solution strategies can be derived that will
ubiquitous human endeavor found in different yield satisfactory results. At the opposite extreme
facets of everyday life as well as in crisis situa- lie the messy situations that are characterized
tions. Planning is also a vital problem-solving en- by highly interrelated problems that interact with
deavor; unfortunately, planning problems are not one another and tend to be difcult to decompose
always solved successfully. While there may be into more tractable descriptions (locating a site for

Problematic out, the description of the habitat will not ade-

Well-defined Messy situations quately reect the real situation.
Puzzle-like Highly interrelated
Difficult to decompose
Successful problem denition rests with how
problems are formulated. Through careful prob-
lem formulation the attempt is made to:
1 Conceptualize the problematic situation
Uniq forming an image of what is involved.
2 Arrive at a representation of the problematic
on situation trying to explain what that
Comm image looks like.
Fig. 1.3 The problem continuum.
3 Form a basis for generating solutions
looking for all the possible alternatives that
might address the problem.
the perpetual storage of low-level radioactive 4 Develop a means to evaluate alternatives
waste). Messy situations have numerous goals dening a way to make a choice.
that often conict, and this often makes it impos- Problem formulation begins with a mental rep-
sible to determine whether a satisfactory solu- resentation of the problem. However, due to the
tion has been found. Between these two extremes complexity and high degree of interrelatedness
lie problematic situations that are commonly that may surround the problem, specialized prob-
referred to as wicked (Churchman, 1967). Al- lem formulation methods are frequently used to
though such problematic situations may not help structure and promote a systematic approach
involve conicting goals, they typically cannot be to the representation and manipulation of per-
conceptualized in a unique fashion, and therefore tinent information. These methods specify how
tend not to have well-specied solutions. images of the problem are created, how infor-
The importance of drawing these distinctions mation pertaining to the problem is examined and
when examining the nature of problematic situa- organized, and how that information is analyzed.
tions arises from the fact that the more complex a Although formulation methods will differ based
problem situation is, the more ways it can be rep- on how they emphasize the representation and
resented. To the planner, this suggests that prob- manipulation of information, most fall into one
lem denition involves both perception (seeing) of two general categories: formulation tools and
and conceptualization (thinking). Therefore, how formulation procedures (George, 1994). In either
a problem is perceived and conceptualized will case, formulation methods tend to be more heuris-
inuence how it is represented; yet the strategies tic (based on judgment and rules of thumb) than
used to address the many possible expressions a algorithmic and function to promote componen-
problem may take may not address the real situ- tial rather than marginal analysis. Examples of
ation, since a representation can be incorrect, common formulation tools and procedures are
incomplete, or inappropriate. Put simply, an listed in Table 1.1. In general, formulation tools
incorrect representation of a problem does not re- provide a systematic way of representing infor-
cognize any of the elements that constitute the mation, whereas problem formulation proce-
problematic situation; an incomplete representa- dures guide the process of manipulating that
tion misses several elements; and an inappropri- information to help clarify the problem. Ideally,
ate representation ignores features salient to those these tools or procedures when carefully applied
affected by the situations (George, 1994). For ex- should improve the likelihood of making deci-
ample, in a plan to encourage the reintroduction of sions that address complete and appropriate rep-
native plants into an urbanizing watershed, criti- resentations of the problem.
cal soil or microclimatic variables may have been Today, geographic information systems have
omitted from the model. Consequently, because become an important formulation tool where
important elements of the environment were left facets of the problem can be visualized and sub-
T H E N AT U R E O F P L A N N I N G 9

Table 1.1 Selected problem formulation tools common some larger desired accomplishment (outcome).
to planning. For example, a waterfront community may have
Tool Description expressed a goal to improve public access to the
ocean shore. Apolicy to encourage the purchase of
Problem diagram Arrows used to indicate the direction
and nature of causal relationships
public right of ways may be an objective that will
between elements of the problem. help realize the larger goal. Consequently, goals
tend to be general in nature and expressed in
Decision graph Decision areas are linked and
grouped to indicate problem focus. broad terms. Therefore, we can consider goals to
represent broad brush denitions of conditions
Interaction matrices Nature and intensity of the
interaction among factors,
that a community would like to realize though
constraints, alternatives are may never fully attain. Simple examples of goals
displayed. expressed in a plan might include statements per-
Q-methodology Factors are uncovered through taining to:
statistical analysis of problem An enjoyable and safe environment.
elements. A well-balanced urban/environmental
Delphi technique Grouped judgment is aggregated to system.
form consensus. Preserving unique habitats.
Assumption analysis Important and uncertain Providing maximum access to open space.
assumptions are identied, debated, Five common types of goals expressed in plans
and resolved. have been summarized by Kaiser et al. (1995).
These include:
jected to analytical operations that yield possible 1) Legacy goals: are left over from previously
alternatives and solutions to a given problem. adopted and currently followed policies. Devel-
oping legacy goals begins with an inventory of the
goals expressed in current plans. In some in-
Developing goals and objectives
stances they may be inferred from patterns of past
If we can characterize planning and the process of decisions or from an earlier stage in the current
designing a vision of the future, then to realize round of advanced planning. Using legacy goals
that vision we need goals and objectives to help as a starting point recognizes that a community
focus our efforts and direct our actions. In general, has a history of discourse that denes its values.
planning goals reect the ideological positions 2) Mandated goals: dene requirements
and social values of those involved in the process. found in state or federal policy or from the judicial
Goals can be an afrmation of an ideal or a re- systems interpretation of statutory authority and
sponse to a problem, but in either case they are constitutional rights. Such goals should be intro-
subjective and may change with time or circum- duced into the communitys goal-setting process
stance. Within the planning process, goals provide to clarify directives that are important to the suc-
direction rst for plan-making and then later in cess of the plan.
the process for evaluation and decision-making 3) Generic goals: describe ideals suggested by
(Kaiser et al., 1995). In general, goal-setting in- current thought and theory. Generic goals address
volves three interrelated activities: matters of public interest on issues related to envi-
1 Identifying present and future problems. ronmental quality, equity, quality of life, economic
2 Determining community aspirations. efciency, and health and safety. Goals of this type
3 Identifying strategic issues and priorities. may be viewed as an alternative source of commu-
In the context of these three activities, a goal repre- nity goals intended to support good practice and
sents an end toward which planning efforts are broader societal values.
directed, while an objective is an intermediate 4) Community needs: explain goals derived
condition achieved along the pathway toward from forecasts of population, economic, and envi-

ronmental changes that require an appropriate 1 Ranking goals to prioritize their importance
response. Since planning is future oriented, and provide a means to spot conict.
forecasting is an integral part of the process. 2 Explicitly stating relationships between
Translating forecasted changes in demand for goals and objectives.
housing, water supply, facilities, and waste dis- 3 Selecting the most salient few objectives for a
posal into needs allows future considerations to goal.
be balanced against other goals expressed within 4 Examining the relationship between goals,
the community. Translating change into an ex- their purpose, ends, and the means by which
pression of need involves the application of they can be pursued.
standards and a comparison of those standards Each of these steps require information and a
against the projected future to be accommodated. means to analyze data.
Deviations from the standard help direct goals to
meet desirable service requirements.
Data collection
5) Community aspirations: characterize
wants developed out of a participatory goal- With an understanding of the problem and a clear
setting process. The goals articulated by voices expression of the motivating goals and objectives,
of the community dene concerns and priorities the next phase in the planning process requires the
that help focus and crystallize issues, problems, collection and synthesis of data specic to the
and desires as the community perceives them. goals. Data, information, and intelligence are es-
Such goals help the planner gain a sense of sential for good planning. The question is what
what the public nd important and what they type of information and how much data is needed
see as their real needs. to produce it? Although there is no simple answer
to this question, data collection and analysis
Objectives tend to be much more specic when actively direct our need to learn more about a
compared to goals, and prescribe steps that when given problem, its root causes, and to better
followed produce attainable results. Expressed in understand the alternatives that may provide a
concrete terms, the objective points to particular solution. In essence, data supplies planning intel-
actions that can be implemented which, if fol- ligence. It represents essential strategic decision
lowed, will produce a result related to the larger support information that illuminates the prob-
goal. These results can be measured or evaluated lematic situation. The central problem in the data
in relation to how successful they have been at collection question, however, is that data is useless
bringing about an observable outcome. For exam- unless it can become information. Information in
ple, a community may recognize that existing this regard describes a level of knowledge needed
landll capacity is low; therefore, to conserve to solve a problem. Thus planning information
capacity and extend the life expectancy of the should be able to answer in an accurate and timely
existing landll, a series of objectives may be fashion critical questions concerning:
proposed: The nature of change.
Expand community recycling to include The pattern of opportunity and constraint.
local business by a given date. The important mitigating circumstances
Reduce the use of nonrecyclable products in active in the planning area.
local fast-food establishments by 30%. In this sense the data collected should be able to
Develop capacity to accept a wider array of provide the information needed in order to faci-
materials by 20% at local recycling centers. litate the analysis of social, environmental, eco-
Once goals and objectives have been estab- nomic, and scal ramications of change, and to
lished, they need to be examined and articulated compare trends to historic, current, and projected
in a form that allows the planning process to gain patterns (Kaiser et al., 1995).
focus on their content. Making goals more than In environmental planning there are stan-
simple good intentions begins by dard items of data that have traditionally been
T H E N AT U R E O F P L A N N I N G 11

Table 1.2 Information and data applied in planning documents, reports, or statistical tabulations
analysis. assembled by local, state, or federal agencies.
Natural environment Social/demographic factors Depending on the nature of the problem, there
Slope Population characteristics are many types of data and collection procedures
Topography Income patterns that can be employed, and care should be taken
Climate Economic indicators to ensure that the appropriate methods of data
Vegetation Employment patterns
collection are used.
Governmental factors
Natural hazard
Jurisdictional boundaries
Wildlife habitat
Land development regulations Identifying and selecting alternatives
Zoning regulations
Air quality Any goal or objective can be achieved in more than
Tax rates
Water quality
Annexation policies one way. Identifying and examining alternatives
Transportation characteristics is an essential part of the planning process. Con-
Built environment
Trip generation patterns sideration of the alternative solutions to a given
Land use
Trafc volumes problem is important for several reasons. First, it
Road systems
Road capacities suggests options that encourage debate and dis-
Water supply systems
Modal characteristics
Housing stock cussion regarding a given solution, its relative
Viewsheds Indicator conditions effectiveness, feasibility, and compatibility. Sec-
Historic structures/sites Land ownership patterns
ondly, alternatives provide a basing point for rais-
Employment centers Carrying capacities
Growth patterns ing questions about planning strategies, and the
Public facilities disposition of the motivating goals and objectives.
Decline patterns
Neighborhood characteristics Lastly, alternatives assist in the process of setting
Fire protection
Environmental quality trends priorities in response to need. Unfortunately, the
Police protection
Libraries importance of generating alternatives has become
Churches a neglected dimension in recent planning theory
Park and recreation (Bayne, 1995).
Healthcare facilities
For any given problem a number of alterna-
tives can generally be devised to meet a particular
objective, and any one (or a combination of sever-
considered essential to the process (Leung, 1989). al) of these may be more appropriate than the orig-
A selection of data items commonly employed in inal idea under the given set of circumstances.
environmental planning are summarized in The issue confronting this phase of the planning
Table 1.2. While they may not be indispensable, process involves compiling a comprehensive list-
appropriateness and relevance to the problem de- ing of feasible alternatives. Developing that list
termines if and when they become useful. In gen- places a premium on our understanding of the
eral, data availability, scope, and format impart problem and the goals, and on our creativity. Cre-
the greatest inuence on data collection efforts, ativity and thought are perhaps the two most
and data gaps may be common for a variety of critical inuences when it comes to the task of
reasons. conceptualizing alternatives. We have all heard
The planning information base typically in- the expression that there is more than one way to
cludes a mix of primary and secondary sources. skin a cat, but has anyone ever been told what
Primary source material describes data collected those ways are? While much of the planning liter-
from an original source. This may include sur- ature concentrates discussion on how alternatives
veys, air photos, satellite images, or data collected are selected, evaluated, and compared, how plan-
in the eld. Secondary sources dene data that has ners come up with alternatives initially remains
been collected and obtained by other parties and primarily an exercise in conceptual block-busting
made available for use. Examples of secondary (Adams, 1974). Although a generic method cannot
source data include census information and other be offered, several techniques can be described

that can create an atmosphere for thinking and Table 1.3 Strategies and methods used to evaluate
exploration: alternatives.
Brainstorming describes a group problem- Method Description
solving technique that relies on creating an
Matrix methods Conducting a pair-wise comparison
atmosphere of suspended judgment to of alternatives against operational
encourage the articulation of ideas free of goals or anticipated benets.
censoring. In a brainstorming session partic-
Linear programming Quantitative evaluation of
ipants are asked to list ideas without concern alternatives against a set of criteria
for internal evaluation. variables to establish best t
Synectics another group problem-solving relationship or optimal benet.
technique fostering ideation, however un- Judgment trees Evaluation of causal interaction
like brainstorming, some evaluation is between alternatives and anticipated
permitted. According to this technique, the or desired outcomes based on using
problem is examined and restated to ensure judgment or subjective probabilities
to derive best solution.
that it is understood. Next, analogy and
metaphor are used to allow participants to Scenario analysis Placing alternatives into a description
of a desired future state and
explore the problem in new ways. Finally,
evaluating either qualitatively or
options are expressed that lead the group quantitatively how selection of a
toward a solution. given alternative may inuence the
Backcasting denes a method for exploring future.
the implications of alternative development, Simulation Developing and using a model to
the directions they move in, and the values explore the relative impact or success
that underly them (Robinson, 1988). Al- of an alternative and evaluating the
though not strictly a form of ideation, to un- what if ramications of a given
dertake backcasting analysis, future goals
and objectives are used to create a scenario of
the future. This scenario is then evaluated in
terms of its physical and socioeconomic fea- The analysis of alternatives denes the general
sibility. Iteration of the scenario is usually process of determining the effects or impacts
required to resolve inconsistencies and to of each against a goal or objective in question.
mitigate adverse economic, social, and envi- This phase of the planning process cannot pro-
ronmental impacts that are revealed during ceed, however, without the choice of criteria
the analysis. for making evaluations. Alternatives are typically
These examples suggest that alternatives emerge evaluated both qualitatively and quantitatively
from creative thinking, an understanding of the and assessed in relation to their physical, social,
problem, and a willingness to explore solutions economic, scal, environmental, and aesthetic im-
that may challenge conventional norms. plications on the planning area. A wide assort-
With a tangible set of alternatives listed, focus ment of tools and techniques has been devised to
shifts from development to the question of selec- assist with alternative analysis and selection.
tion. During the process of developing alterna- A sample of common approaches to the issue
tives, little regard was given to the question of of selecting alternatives is presented in Table 1.3.
evaluation. However, when a set of alternatives The methods identied in Table 1.3 focus on
must be analyzed and decided upon, greater two major evaluation tasks: forecasting and com-
emphasis is placed on concepts like feasibility, parison. Forecasting the impacts associated with a
reasonableness, and the constraints surrounding given alternative can be accomplished in one of
each as judgment points help to narrow down three ways: (1) extrapolation the extension of a
the number of possibilities to a more appropriate trend logically into the future based on past
list. behaviors; (2) modeling the creation of a represen-
T H E N AT U R E O F P L A N N I N G 13

tation of the situation that can be examined; (3) methods of comparison include matrix methods,
intuition the application of judgment and exper- scaling techniques, and programming designs.
ience. The principal features of these approaches Matrix methods a matrix describes a two-
have been reviewed by Sawicki (1988). dimensional system of rows and columns
Extrapolation trend extrapolation is based that allows pair-wise comparisons of alter-
on the empirical examination of some phe- natives against evaluative criteria. Because
nomena with respect to measurements of its two-dimensional structure, a matrix
taken across time. Forecasting through the provides a tabular format that simplies
projection of trends is a frequently used ones ability to visualize the interactions be-
method of exploring future conditions. tween alternatives. Within the cells of the
As a technique it may include the use of matrix, symbols or scores can be assigned to
moving averages, linear regression, curvi- identify critical relationships and possible
linear regression, or envelope curves to t a conicts that can be associated with a given
line to the data points that summarize the alternative. The matrix can then be used to
important trend. An excellent discussion of rst identify effects by systematically check-
trend extrapolation can be found in Hill ing each alternative against the criteria set,
(1978). and secondly to ascertain the relative impor-
Modeling a model is simply a representa- tance or signicance of the effect. Should an
tion of an object, system, or concept in a form impact become evident, a score is placed
different from the entity itself. All decisions in the corresponding cell. Although scoring
are made on the basis of some type of implies numerical measurement, in actuali-
model, whether a formal computer repre- ty scores suggest subjectively derived evalu-
sentation written in a programming lan- ations that are employed to express or rate
guage or a simple idea of how we think the relative attractiveness of an alternative in
something works or behaves. Models pro- pseudo-quantitative terms.
vide a means to simplify complex problems. Scaling techniques scaling or rating meth-
Approaches to use of models in a planning ods are based on the assumption that an
context have been discussed by Gordon attractive score (S) can be derived for a set of
(1985) and Lein (1997). (i)alternatives using the general relationship
Intuitive forecasting implies the use of ex-
Si = Skinij
pert judgment and experience to forecast the
possible outcome of an alternative action. where Si equals the total value of scores for
The use of judgment and informal heuristic alternative (i), ki explains the weight placed
reasoning is a type of knowledge acquisition on criteria (j) and nij denes the relative value
process where the analyst queries a group of achieved by criteria (j) for alternative (i).
experts to illicit a causal process related to an This fundamental relationship has been
alternative. Perhaps the most widely prac- extended to create a range of multicriteria,
ticed form of intuitive forecasting is the Del- multi-objective decision aides that are useful
phi method. This approach is described in in situations where more than one criterion
detail by Linstone and Turoff (1975). Lein is needed to asses the attractiveness of an al-
(1993b) has examined other forms of formal- ternative solution. Perhaps the best-known
izing judgment for application in environ- and most widely adapted of these was intro-
mental forecasting as well. duced by Saaty (1977). The main objective of
Comparison methods describe a family of multicriteria scaling techniques are: (1) to
techniques designed to facilitate the ranking identify choice alternatives satisfying the
of alternatives or to provide relative measures of objectives in relation to the problem, and (2)
attractiveness that can be used to prioritize and to reduce and order the set of feasible choices
select among alternatives. Commonly used to the most preferred alternative.

Programming designs programming de- context, synthesis is concerned with the degree to
signs apply mathematical or statistical pro- which elements of the problem and solutions t
cedures to select the optimal allocation of into a framework for action. It takes creative think-
resources needed in order to achieve the de- ing and critical evaluation to create this frame-
sired goal with a minimum of cost. Pro- work and to ensure that the plan will encourage
gramming designs require identifying a set good decisions. The questions of creative thinking
of decision variables, criteria for choosing and critical evaluation draw attention to the plan
the best (optimal) values of the decision itself and how this plan relates to the future.
variables, and a set of constraints or operat- A plan may be conceptualized in a number of
ing rules that govern the procedure. These ways. In one sense we may think of a plan as a
terms are expressed in the form of linear blueprint for the future. As such, the plan be-
equations or linear inequalities written as comes a detailed documentation of the envi-
functional relationships of the decision ronmental characteristics, community features,
variables. problems, goals, objectives, recommendations,
Regardless of approach taken to formulate and and programs germane to design of a desired
select alternatives, there are four basic principles future state of the community. Viewed in this
that guide the process (Sawicki, 1988): manner, the plan becomes a statement of policies
1 Conclusions drawn about each alternative that explain what the community wants to
should be displayed in a way that is simple achieve relative to its environment (physical,
and transparent. social, economic, aesthetic) and a physical docu-
2 Techniques used for selecting alternatives ment with specic language to illustrate, educate,
must be capable of handling multiple crite- and direct the design of this future.
ria, and the advantages/disadvantages and Although the technical content of a plan can
trade-offs made visible. vary, certain elements are commonly included:
3 Consideration must be given to nonquanti- Introduction and background to the plan.
able criteria and methods to include these Statement of purpose.
criteria should be utilized where possible to Description and documentation of the plan-
accommodate their evaluation. ning area.
4 Methodologies should lend themselves to a Elements of the plan.
decision and display the attributes of each Statement of ndings.
alternative to allow consideration of all rele- Recommendations and evaluation.
vant factors and permit compromise when Implementation strategies.
that becomes necessary to reach a decision. Implementation has been described as one of the
more difcult phases of planning. A major reason
for this is that implementation moves us from the
Synthesis and implementation
science of planning to the political realities in
The nal phase of the planning process described which planning operates. Since implementation
in this chapter is an amalgam of elements needed identies the actual carrying-out of the plan and
to make planning work. A major concern in plan- its recommendations, implementation must en-
ning is that all too often the process becomes the able the outcome. This enabling aspect of plan-
central focus and the plan becomes a document ning may require bringing together the necessary
that resides on a shelf with little hope of becoming legal instruments, policy mandates, or building
realized.Withgoalsandobjectivescarefully articu- existing law and programs into the plan as part of
lated, data collected and analyzed, the problem its implementation. This suggests that plan imple-
well dened, and a set of alternatives selected, the mentation may proceed in either of two ways. One
plan begins to take shape, not just as a document, way calls simply for the adoption of the plan, let-
but as a well-integrated idea. Integration implies ting its policy recommendations become trans-
synthesis with an eye toward the future. In this lated into design and policy actions. Taking this
T H E N AT U R E O F P L A N N I N G 15

approach may create conict and uncertainty. latedness and interdependence introduces the
Consequently, the plan may be adopted as a pilot concept of a system and the methods of systems
program or demonstration project prior to full analysis (Chadwick, 1974; Feldt, 1988).
implementation. By so doing, the implementing The concept of a system has been used in a wide
agency has the time needed to acquire experience range of contexts. In some instances, its meaning
with the program, monitor its effectiveness, and may be implicit in how it is being used. However,
adjust the program where necessary prior to because it is a concept that is so widely applied, a
widescale adoption. formal denition will help connect us to the plan-
A similar strategy may call for a phased imple- ning problem. A system may be dened in several
mentation where certain elements or recommen- ways (Lein, 1997). Perhaps the most fundamental
dations of the plan are adopted according to a explanation of the concept characterizes a system
timing schedule. Phased implementation may be as a set of objects together with relationships be-
appropriate when the plan requires specic leg- tween the objects and their attributes (Hall &
islative action, or to give those affected by some Fagen, 1959). Put another way, a system is nothing
aspect of the plan critical time to prepare. In either more that a set of interrelated elements together
case, implementation requires a program that ad- with relations between the elements and among
equately addresses the issues which may hinder theirstates that function in a complementary man-
realization of the plan. With a sound implementa- ner. What is important about these denitions
tion program the number of obstacles encoun- is that we can extend the concept beyond the idea
tered can be kept to a minimum. However, new of a physical entity and describe a system as a per-
problems will arise that will require repeating or spective and a subject of inquiry. Considered in
revising earlier phases of the planning process. this way, a system becomes a model that repre-
Recently, Talen (1996) has reviewed the imple- sents a way of thinking about how things are
mentation problem and offered a typology for connected and how they work, whether we are
plan evaluation, yet the planning process and all talking about space stations or planning areas. A
the elements that it embodies are complex. Keep- system also becomes a way to organize the com-
ing all the features of the plan and all of the factors plexity of observed reality and somehow manage
that need to be included requires a management or control that complexity. In addition, the system
strategy. In the following section systems analysis concept encourages a functional view of the real
is examined as one possible strategy the environ- world and helps us recognize that there are pur-
mental planner can call upon to help organize the poseful connections that bind elements of a prob-
intricacies of the problem. lem together into a coherent structure. One need
not be an automotive engineer to understand how
an automobiles cooling system works. When a
Adopting a systems view of car overheats and stops running, we can under-
planning stand the problem by a basic model of the cars
cooling system. Similarly, we can appreciate the
Planning is a complex task simply because the relationships that make up the planning area by
subject matter involved is multitemporal, multi- casting them into this same systems frame-
variate, and multidimensional. To make the work. So watershed and neighborhood can
planning process work requires not just an become systems and we can examine what they
organizational framework of tasks or phases, but are made up of, how they work, and, more impor-
a construct that integrates elements of the prob- tantly, how they change.
lem into a synoptic view (the big picture) that From the planners perspective, perhaps the
facilitates understanding, guides analysis, and most important quality of systems thinking is that
supports prediction. One useful construct for it directs our attention to the whole and fosters
organizing the complexity of the problem in a identication of cause and effect processes. This
manner that enhances understanding of interre- concern for process may lead to prediction and the

representation of events that make a possible fu- Homeostatic systems systems that strive to
ture discernible. Although prediction may not be maintain balance.
the goal, the system model lends itself to analysis Continuous systems systems that display
and simulation. Therefore, the value of dening behaviors uninterrupted over time.
and analyzing systems is that they enable the Discrete systems systems where change
structure and behavior of complex interrelation- occurs in nite time intervals.
ships to be explored (Bennet & Chorely, 1978). Stochastic systems systems whose behaviors
Consider the example of land use. Using the sys- are inuenced by an element of randomness
tem concept, the relationships between types of or chance.
uses, their location, arrangements and juxtaposi- Deterministic systems systems where future
tions can be placed into a model that allow for states are dependent upon direct functional
some understanding of the patterns visible on the links to past states.
landscape. With this model, the complexities of These representations provide a focus in the sys-
how residential uses support commercial areas, tem design process that leads to the formulation of
and the mix of uses needed to maintain economic a model. As Lein (1997) notes, through the appli-
efciency and serve a given level of population cation of these system concepts and the formu-
can be examined. In a similar vein, the system lation of a process-oriented system design, the
concept can be used to explain the interaction be- complexity which surrounds a planning problem
tween urban processes and the environment, and can be reduced to an ordered and structured set of
depends only on how that interaction is dened. objects that helps us see. Producing this model
Denition in this regard is the key. Because a plan- depends on the success to which the system has
ning problem may be complex, there is a natural been dened. To the planner this involves four
reaction to isolate parts of the problem and explain critical steps:
how each of these parts operate under simplied 1 Specifying the variables to use in the system.
conditions. For this simplication to work, these 2 Stating the hypothetical relationships that
isolated pieces of reality must maintain connec- dene variables comprising the system.
tion with the real-world. To maintain this connec- 3 Developing a simple explanation of the sys-
tion a method is needed. This is the method of tem and its structure.
systems analysis (Huggett, 1980). 4 Testing and rening the system model.
As an analytic device, a system can be dened Adopting a systems view of planning compli-
at varying levels of resolution and detail (Lein, ments the planning process outlined previously in
1997). One type of system we can identify is the several ways. Both require recognition and deni-
abstract system. With an abstract system, the tion of the problem, a set of goals and objectives;
elements comprising its structure are concepts and once the model has been developed it must
whose components have connecting relationships also be implemented. Ageneral outline explaining
based on certain assumptions. A second type of the steps followed when performing a systems
system is referred to as a concrete system, where at analysis is given in Fig. 1.4. As suggested by the
least two dening elements are actual objects. illustration, systems analysis begins with the criti-
When we apply systems methods in planning, we cal step of identifying the components that will
are also interested in how to represent change and dene the system.
capture the dynamic nature of the problem using Dening the system and possible subsystem
the system design. To conceptualize and capture components is based upon several presumptions
process, the list of system types can be expanded regarding relationships that will organize and
to include other relevant forms. These include: connect elements together. It is also typically as-
Static systems systems whose states are held sumed that a meaningful structure can be hypoth-
in equilibrium conditions. esized that separates the system from the real
Dynamic systems systems whose states vary world. Taking these ideas and applying them to
over time. planning we will note that systems will possess
T H E N AT U R E O F P L A N N I N G 17

tem is composed of elements, systems are
recognition bounded into an environment space. This
environment is a set of elements and their
Problem relevant properties that are not part of the
system but can inuence its state. Therefore,
a system environment consists of all vari-
Identification of
goals and objectives ables that can affect its state. State variables
outside the system as bounded are termed
exogenous variables, while those within the
System system are called endogenous.
System interaction a system that is dened
in such a way that no interaction takes place
Selection of
system variables with elements not contained within it (com-
pletely self-contained) explains a closed
Initial system
system. Conversly, a system which displays
design interaction with its environment is an open
Evaluation of System event characterizes change in
system model one or more properties of the system. This
change will occur over a period of time with
Implementation a specic duration.
of results

Systems, change, and feedback

Fig. 1.4 The general method of systems analysis.
Among the more useful aspect of systems analysis
is that it offers a perspective from which the plan-
two important features that must be identied ner can study change. Because planning has been
and described in order to produce something described as a future-oriented activity, projecting,
meaningful: (1) A functional or process structure predicting, and responding to the changing status
that characterizes some denition of a ow and (2) of the planning area is of fundamental interest to
a morphological structure that denes a spatial the planner. In planning we are constantly asked
(geographic) arrangement. These two features to explain change, describe the processes that
help direct our inquiry and assist us in adding drive it, identify its consequences, and predict the
specics to the model that make its representation behavior of systems subjected to change. When
more useful. Specics draws attention to the de- examining change our attention is directed to-
tails of our design and the requirements that the ward dynamic systems and their characteristics.
features embedded in the system provide a dy- Since change may be said to manifest as a devia-
namic view of the problem. Several key attributes tion in system state, it can be observed by noting
assist us in developing this type of representation. the disposition of the systems state variables.
Among the more relevant to the application of sys- Through careful observation cause and effect
tems methods in planning are: relationships can be categorized in one of three
System state the state of a system at a principal ways:
given point in time is the set of properties 1 Reaction a system event that is determinis-
it described (i.e. number, size, age, color, tically caused by another event.
mass). The system state is dened by the 2 Response a system event produced by an-
value these variables have at that instant other system or environmental stimulus.
in time. 3 Behavior a system change that initiates
System environment because every sys- other events.

Another important concept when system External forcings the inuence of an exter-
methods are applied in planning is that of feed- nal variable on one or more components of
back. Regardless of type, any system operating in the system.
the environment exhibits a degree of sensitivity to Inputs and outputs the nature of ow into
the manner by which its dening components are and from the system that gives rise to its
connected and arranged. Loosely dened, feed- behavior.
back explains the return of information as input to
the system. This cycle of returned information acts
directly on the performance of the system and its Planning as decision-making
structure. Feedback can assume two basic forms:
(1) positive feedback characterizing a devia- Up to this point in this chapter we have explored
tion-amplifying process that inuences a change the concept of planning, the basic features of the
in state and functions to maintain that change, and planning process, and the role of systems methods
(2) negative feedback characterizing a devia- as an organizing perspective that can guide us
tion-dampening process that retards the effects through the planning problem. Throughout, we
of change in the system. have suggested that planning is essentially a type
of decision-making with the plan standing as the
primary decision focus. In this section the nature
Specifying the design
of decision-making and its connection to the plan-
With the fundamental features of systems analysis ning problem is examined.
understood, a basic design of the problem as a sys- Decision-making has been dened as a process
tem can be produced. For the systems approach to by which a person, group, or organization identi-
work, however, we must have a hypothesis or es a choice or judgment to be made, gathers and
process around which design can focus. This nu- evaluates information about alternatives, and se-
cleus of our system can be a very general idea or a lects from among those alternatives. These famil-
specic relationship where representation in sys- iar steps paint the process of decision-making
tem form will enhance understanding. To achieve as a stream of thoughts and behaviors that also
this important goal the design qualities need to be include elements of risk and uncertainty (Lein,
arrived at so that a function model of the problem 1997). The decision, in this context, unfolds
may be realized. The critical factors inuencing through the combination of learning, understand-
the design on a system are: ing, information processing, and information
Size the number of variables that comprise accessing, all with careful denition of the prob-
the system must be determined with special lem and the circumstances involved. This simple
interest given to those controlling variables description of the decision-making process is un-
that exert the greatest inuence over its derscored by a reasoning method used by people
behavior. when approaching a decision problem. Because
Associations this property species how everyone approaches a decision differently, it is
the variables relate to one another, where critical to understand how such factors such as
consideration is given to the degree of corre- personal background, experience, inherent psy-
lation among variables, and the strength, chological conditioning, and the situation sur-
direction, and sensitivity of those rounding the problem will inuence both the way
relationships. decisions are made and how the problem is per-
Causality the connection of cause and ef- ceived. To understand how these factors direct the
fect to process, how process directs the sys- process of deciding, several models have been of-
tem, and the manner by which it functions. fered that introduce and summarize the various
Pattern the intercorrelations dening the styles decision-making can take (Davis, 1988).
network that connects elements together in The rational model we have discussed this
the system. approach with respect to the planning
T H E N AT U R E O F P L A N N I N G 19

model. This decision style views decision- posed by time, situational factors, and nancial
making as a structured process where a limitations will move decision-making toward a
group systematically reduces the decision more satisfycing mode. These constraints point to
problem to a set of measurable quantities or the many issues that propel planning and inu-
qualities. The comparative merits of each ence how the planning process unfolds. Several
determine a possible outcome, and that of the more relevant issues are examined in the
alternative with the greatest merit (value) is next section.
The organizational model decision-
making according to this model follows the Propelling issues in planning
established policies or guidelines of an orga-
nization. Here, the decision-maker takes Planning focuses on the management and mainte-
action based on a set of guidelines or policies nance of the human landscape: that mix of social,
rather than evaluating the relevant factors cultural, economic, political, and administrative
that inuence the decision. In this regard, the attributes that reect who we are and what we
decision-maker avoids uncertainty by fol- deem important and essential to our survival and
lowing a predetermined path. sustenance. The issues of planning are as basic as
The political model places decision- the needs of human beings multiplied many-fold.
making in a political setting where decisions These fundamental planning issues are no differ-
result from group interaction and delibera- ent today at the beginning of the twenty-rst
tion. In this setting individuals rely on century than they were 100 years earlier. We can
persuasion or authority to satisfy subjective consider these as the constants of planning which
goals. According to this model, there is explain the fundamental needs of a society:
no universally accepted best decision, but the provision of housing,
rather the identication of an alternative the allocation of employment sources,
that provides the most acceptable solution. the facilitation of commercial and service
The satisfycing model recognizes that an functions,
optimal solution to a problem may not exist. the delivery of clean water,
In such instances, the decision-maker seeks the removal of solid and liquid waste,
an adequate alternative, one that satises the production of a healthful environment,
one or more initial requirements of the solu- the design of efcient means of communica-
tion. From here, the decision-maker relies tion and transportation,
on feedback to improve the next iteration the creation of a functioning and balanced
of the problem. system of institutions, and
Realizing that a problem will be approached the maintenance of recreation and aesthetic
differently depending on circumstance, and that qualities within the built environment.
many factors direct planning decisions, gives em- Yet each item listed above suggests a larger con-
phasis to the setting in which decisions are made text composed of numerous driving forces that
and how setting may inuence or shape a solu- propel change, moderating forces that redirect
tion. Therefore, while certain problems may be and transform change, mitigating forces that pro-
routine and repetitive and conform easily to an or- vide balance and a resource base from which the
ganizational style of decision-making, it is more material to sustain change are derived. Through
likely that planning problems will be unstruc- the interplay of these complex actors the human
tured, unique, and require the exercise of judg- world the urban environment takes form. The
ment, intelligence, and adaptive problem-solving nature of that form, its magnitude, and conse-
behavior. Such nonprogrammed decisions may quence both in human terms as well as those of a
initially be approached using the rational model. geographic entity that interacts within the bound-
However, it is more likely that constraints im- aries of a greater environmental system move the

planning problem to a higher plane of awareness expansion those support functions must also ex-
and purpose. It is here that the distinctions com- pand. It has been noted that the urban system
partmentalizing planning into specic specializa- grows cheaply, but is expensive to maintain. The
tions begin to blur and the planning problem diminishing returns of growth, the vexing prob-
broadens in perspective. lems associated with solid and hazardous waste
At this level the issues of planning may appear removal, land-use change, congestion, sprawl are
to be more conceptual, yet they remain inter- all features of the management problem. These
twined with those fundamental needs of society features also place in sharp contrast the com-
and connected to the patterns those needs display. peting realities of the built environment as a
Here, urban form becomes the driving force of consumption system, commercial system, pro-
change that exerts its own inuence in both social duction system, and environmental system
and environmental terms. The recognized and po- (Douglas, 1983). Reconciling these differing views
tential impact of these changing patterns, coupled and roles is one aspect of the growth management
with the demands it places on its primary means problem. Put simply, how does one maintain
of support and the manner by which these de- human habitat when human habitat is dependent
mands are satised, introduce an entirely new set on natural habitat for its survival, and what are the
of concerns. Four propelling concerns that form costs involved?
the backdrop against which all planning issues
will be framed follow.
2 Sustainable development and
cumulative change
1 Urban growth and growth management
Growth is not an evil, although it is easy to couch it
The development of urban form is an attractive in those terms. Growth is a reality that we depend
force. As human habitat it offers the support on to maintain our livelihood. The question, there-
systems that enhance our quality of life. As we fore, is not the simplistic dichotomy of growth or
become attracted to the possibilities offered no growth, but rather the redenition of growth in
within this landscape, urban form multiplies. This more sustainable terms. The concept of sustain-
growth is due in part to the development pres- ability has become a much overused term in the
sures encouraged by our own demands. Thus as debate surrounding the question of growth and
our demands become realized and satised, built environmental change. While a basic denition of
form expands. Such expansion increases wealth, the term is insufcient, sustainability is a concept
which in turn encourages new demands, which with many implications. First the concept sug-
become satised through yet another round of ex- gests a wider view of the growth and develop-
pansion. Expansion is both a physical quality that ment process. Traditionally, growth is described
assumes a geographic expression and a social fea- in economic terms and tends to assume a human-
ture explained in terms of increases in population, centered perspective. From this point of view the
exchanges, variety, opportunity, and preferences. physical processes that feed growth and supply
At the opposite end of the growth question are the resources to support the built environment tend to
management issues that must keep pace with each be poorly integrated into the development model.
cycle of expansion. These issues are not well artic- A sustainable view is more integrative and places
ulated in the market forces or the opportunity/ human landscape as part of the fabric of a larger
demand preferences that fuel growth, but they environmental system. A second aspect of this
are there. Consider the simple question: What concept directs us to adopt a much longer time
does it take to keep the urban system functioning? horizon toward what we consider the future than
Addressing this questions directs our attention to is typical in most planning applications. Thus,
the energy, water, waste capacities, infrastructure, rather than the usual 1- to 5-year planning hori-
and other support services that those of us living zon, sustainability calls for a conceptualization of
in this landscape rely on. With each round of tomorrow that spans several generations into the
T H E N AT U R E O F P L A N N I N G 21

future. Another implication of the term inuences

4 Environmental process and urban entropy
how we view and use the resources needed to
maintain our built environment. Sustainability is Focus on the human landscape and the economic
based on the use of renewable and perpetual re- and social processes that motivate and shape it has
sources in harmony with the ecological system traditionally ignored the environmental pro-
that patterns the landscape. Such a view stands as cesses modied as a consequence. Bringing the
an important compromise between the extremes environment more directly into the planning
of no-growth versus unlimited growth, and di- process is an idea nearly three decades old, yet the
rects planning to consider alternatives that renewed emphasis on maintaining balance within
promote efciency and environmental balance. the built environment point to the importance of
Perhaps the most important implications of sus- the natural processes that regulate and ultimately
tainability are societal. Sustainability is a model of control the scale and extent of human endeavors.
social, economic, and environmental interaction Integrating environmental processes into the
that will foster change in the manner by which planning process means more than simply under-
basic human needs are met. With respect to plan- standing the physical characteristics of the
ning, a move toward a sustainable system will re- planning area. It means understanding how the
quire critical transitions in our political, economic, environment works and recognizing its poten-
and resource systems, and essential ethical and tials, limitations, and risks as active elements of
behavioral shifts in attitude toward a reshaped our planning efforts. The total environment and
worldview that removes the separation of the interactions that describe the form and func-
humans and environment. tion of the landscape create the need to develop
broader goals. These goals begin with the require-
ment to plan in close accordance with natural
3 Equity distribution and conict
processes and culminates in a reinterpretation of
As the forces of growth and change commit soci- the built environment not as an articial arrange-
ety to a more intensive use of the earths surface, ment superimposed on a natural system, but as a
the question of fairness and the avoidance of con- synthesis of processes that create a recombinant
ict will exert great inuence on the planning form. In many respects this issue is intimately
process. With heightened awareness and concern linked to the ideas presented throughout this
over the impacts of growth and the implications chapter. In addition, they provide the theoret-
of environmental change on all corners of society ical focus that bridges the entropic effects of the
and the ecosystem, the simple solutions and ratio- growth model with a sustainable perspective
nales of the past are likely to be ineffective and based on a wider inclusion of stakeholder inter-
unacceptable to a growing segment of the ests and a tighter integration of natural process as
population. Environmental equity has recently an organizing structure from which a vision of the
emerged as a critical issue. It developed slowly future can be assembled.
from the observation that socioeconomically dis-
advantaged groups historically bear a dispro-
portionate burden of risk and hazard in the Summary
environmental policy-making arena. The equi-
table treatment of all races and cultures in deci- Planning is a fundamental human activity with
sion-making represents a challenge to the practice common themes and problems. In this chapter the
of planning and the processes by which planning concept of planning was examined and dissected.
decisions have been made. Through greater ef- Discussion introduced the logical process and
forts to improve citizen participation and the methods common to planning to demonstrate the
inclusion of advocacy groups, mediation and formalisms associated with this type of decision-
conict resolution strategies may redirect how making. Whether explained in ordinary terms or
plans are made. with reference to a technical specialization such as

environmental planning, the process begins when Focusing questions

goals and objectives are established, information
is analyzed, and alternatives are compared, and Explain the concept of planning.
culminates when a course of action is selected. Discuss the rationale that supports the plan-
Knowing what is needed to organize thinking, ning process.
and understanding whom the plan is for and What are goals and objectives, how are they
when optimal solutions and appropriate alterna- derived, and how to they help dene the
tives are found are complex questions that can be right planning problem?
difcult to answer. In this chapter a framework Critically evaluate the utility of systems
was presented that relies upon the methods of thinking in planning and explain how
systems analysis. Systems analysis is a well- process-oriented thinking drives proactive
tested tool for managing complexity. Through its decision-making.
application, the planner may approach complex
problems, organize thinking, and form an under-
standing of problems that will enable better solu-
tions to emerge.
Integrated Environmental Planning
James K. Lein
Copyright 2003 by Blackwell Publishing

Dening the
Environmental Approach

The environment conveys many different mean- 2000; Leitman, 1999). To appreciate the signi-
ings in planning. At one level the natural environ- cance of environmental planning as both a school
ment supplies the land required to accommodate of thought and a professional practice, we need to
growth and development. At another, the envi- explore precisely what it means, what differenti-
ronment describes a set of resources to draw from ates this approach from the more traditional forms
and conserve. At still another level, the environ- of land use and urban planning, and how one per-
ment denes a series of natural functions to be forms planning according to this theory.
maintained, hazards to be avoided, and opportu-
nities to be exploited. Finally, there is the view of
the natural environment as an all-encompassing The nature of environmental
entity that simply exits not as a passive feature planning
there to serve human needs, but as a set of active
processes that dene a behavior and establish If we take all the various denitions of planning
patterns that interact with and redirect human offered in the previous chapter and assemble
trajectories. The complexities, conicts, and con- them into one simple statement, we can character-
tradictions inherent to these contrasting expla- ize the purpose of planning as the process of allo-
nations of the term environment present a cating functions to their appropriate spatial
challenge to planning and force the planner to location. So stated, this basic explanation poses a
look beyond the immediate dictates of land mar- question that provides an important point of de-
kets and the goals motivating economic growth. parture from traditional planning approaches and
The environment demands wider consideration suggests room for an alternate strategy. Looking
of all the relevant factors that drive planning and carefully at the denition offered above, the no-
shape the landscape. tion of allocating functions to an appropriate spa-
It was the recognition nearly four decades ago tial location asks us to consider what is meant by
that wider environmental considerations needed the word appropriate. In the majority of instances,
to be incorporated into plan-making that contri- our response to the question would center around
buted to the evolution of environmental planning. a set of common decision points: economic
Today that recognition remains a top priority, and rationality, efciency in the provision of services,
continues to broaden the scope and purpose of accessibility with respect to population, attrac-
environmental planning and the role the envi- tiveness in relation to amenity or aesthetic
ronment plays as a decision criterion in the plan- qualities, feasibility considerations with respect
ning and development process (Honachefsky, to engineering and construction concerns, and

acceptability given the local political landscape. growth alternatives that are socially and environ-
Using these decision points, a site becomes appro- mentally sustainable.
priate for a given development proposal when it The overriding goal of environmental plan-
falls comfortably within established parameters ning involves balancing human needs with the
for categorizing each criteria as such. Of course, dynamic properties that constitute the environ-
there are alternative denitions of the term ap- ment. In fact the concept of balance is so central
propriate, and one critical denition absent from that is rests at the core of everything the environ-
the above is an environmental denition. Con- mental planner does (Holling, 1978; Westman,
sideration of appropriateness from an environ- 1985; Margerun, 1997). However, balance is a
mental perspective opens a gap for environmental difcult quality to achieve for a variety of re-
planning to ll. asons, and thus remains a challenge that propels
Utilizing an environmental rationale, appro- the evolution of this form of planning (Baldwin,
priateness directs us to consider, in addition to 1985). The factors that frustrate the balancing
those criteria listed above, the compatibility of of human needs with environmental quality
the proposed function within the fabric of the eco- include:
logical system, its suitability in relation to the The complexity and interrelatedness of
physical and environmental qualities of the site, environmental problems and solutions.
its susceptibility with regard to the potential en- The evolving nature of environmental
vironmental impacts, and its sustainability as ex- planning knowledge.
plained relative to the long-term functioning of The frequent omission or discounting of
environmental processes and the maintenance of environmental goods and services during
environmental integrity. These considerations conventional value analysis.
and alternative views of the concept create the The difculty of achieving environmental
need to maintain balance between the productive goals that require signicant changes in
use of the land and natural resources and lifestyle.
the maintenance of ecological functioning. The conict between environmental goals
Approaching this balance and recasting appro- and community development goals.
priateness considerations with greater emphasis The difculty in establishing environmental
on environmental criteria is the fundamental goal priorities and dening trade-offs.
of environmental planning. The lack of consistent commitment of
While a succinct denition may be elusive, en- resources to environmental programs.
vironmental planning as an activity involves the The general lack of information and support
use of biophysical and sociocultural information tools needed for sound environmental
to suggest opportunities and constraints in rela- decision-making.
tion to land development in a manner that seeks to While achieving such balance is a challenge, en-
explain the tness of the environment to support a vironmental planning theory and practice has
given function. A more comprehensive denition produced a variety of approaches to the formula-
of the concept has been offered by Baldwin (1985). tion and implementation of solutions to meet
According to Baldwin, environmental planning that challenge. Each approach reects a particular
may be dened as the initiation and operation philosophy or mode of analysis regarding the
of activities to direct and control the acquisition, environment and how environmental problems
transformation, distribution, and disposal of may be conceptualized, dened, studied, and
resources in a manner capable of sustaining solved (Briassoulis, 1989). To begin this dis-
human activities with a minimum disruption cussion of environmental planning strategies, it is
of physical, ecological, and social processes. instructive to rst review the philosophical foun-
Although denitions will vary, the environmental dations that inuence environmental planning
approach to planning seeks to explore economic thought.
D E F I N I N G T H E E N V I R O N M E N TA L A P P R O A C H 25

Philosophical antecedents that humans share the environment and

are bound by an ethic that should inuence
Environmental Planning describes a specic set of the way we make choices that will affect
views strongly inuenced by a lineage of ideas, whether or not the biotic community will
beliefs, and values that color our present-day per- remain a viable habitat apart from human
ceptions and practices. The evolution of modern occupation.
environmental thinking has been examined ex- These ideals form the basis of our environmen-
tensively by Pepper (1984) and Ortolano (1984). tal consciousness and serve as the foundation
From these reviews we can conclude that our web for understanding contemporary environmental
of environmental beliefs takes shape based attitudes. Although when one is confronted
on a set of some very fundamental principles with an environmental problem a combination
(Buchholz, 1993): of ideas and attitudes will be expressed, the
1 Conservation as the efcient use of re- voices of concern typically align themselves with
sources this principle recognizes that using positions
the natural environment to satisfy material that hold to principles of conservation and
needs is a necessity. However, resources are the wise use of resources;
scarce and consideration must be given to that maintain the need to control human
their efcient use and the minimization of actions and reduce irreversible impacts on
waste. natural systems;
2 Maintenance of harmony between people that ascribe aesthetic and spiritual qualities
and nature the impact of human actions on to the environment;
the environment forms the basis for this that appeal to ethical principles calling for
ideal. As human activities introduce disrup- restraint on human actions that adversely
tions that effect natural systems, there is a affect the environment.
need to maintain balance between people Perhaps the most signicant aspect of our envi-
and nature and preserve the integrity of ronmental web of belief is that it is subject to
natural systems. change and made complicated by variations in
3 The environment as spiritual renewal the personal backgrounds, perceptions, and values.
beliefs expressed under this heading dene Presently, the dominant environmental paradigm
the environment in moral, religious, and views all environmental issues in a global context
aesthetic terms. Taken together, these ideas rather than expressing them within a regional or
characterize the environment as an entity local framework. At this global scale, environ-
possessing ethereal qualities that are worthy mental questions are highly interrelated, foster
of preservation and protection simply be- collective action, and involve much broader agen-
cause they exist. While these beliefs may be das than simply those of economic expansion.
seen purely as philosophical argument, they Thus while the contrasting expressions that dene
are deeply ingrained in cultural values and environmental thinking may appear confusing,
suggest that the environment is seen as more the underlying concerns on which they are based
than a source of resources, but also a source have been translated into ethical norms and gov-
of renewal, recreation, and amenity. ernmental policies that guide the way decisions
4 Natural rights and the shared existence of affecting the environment are made (Ortolano,
humans and nature the ideals expressed 1984).
here identify the belief that natural objects From an exclusively human-centered orienta-
and nonhuman animals enjoy rights that tion, decisions affecting the natural environment
ensure their existence and survival. Central couch the problem of selecting among alternatives
to this set of environmental beliefs is the idea in terms of one of several evaluative strategies.
Several of the more relevant to environmental

planning have been examined by Ortolano (1984) with the just allocation of benets to costs
and include: and attempts to reconcile the disparity that
Utilitarianism a decision-making frame- while some individuals enjoy environmen-
work based on estimates of the benecial tal benets others must incur a dispropor-
and harmful consequences of a policy to tionate level of costs. Although the concept
society as a whole. The principle of utilitari- of fairness has received increased attention,
anism is based on the premise that the analysis of equity issues is frequently
decision-makers should select that alterna- confounded by problems in measurement
tive that produces the greatest net balance of and by concept inconsistencies.
benecial over harmful consequences to so- Rights to a habitable environment as a
ciety. Adopting a utilitarian perspective wil basis for decision-making, this approach
encourage judging an action entirely by its directs the decision-maker to consider
outcome to society in total. This approach whether an alternative will affect the moral
carries the implicit assumption that harmful rights of humans and other living things to
and benecial consequences of an action can an environment that they can exist within. In
be predicted and evaluated in terms that can this context, a moral right is one that is inde-
be equated with a net effect that provides pendent of any legal system and is based
evidence that satisfactorily weighs benets more on moral norms than legal denitions.
against costs. While the notion that humans have a right to
Cost/benet rationale a more formal a livable environment may seem self-
adaptationofthe utilitarian strategy. The sig- evident, extending this principle to include a
nicant departure of cost/benet decision- wider interpretation of habitat directs the
making is based on dening benecial and decision-maker to consider alternatives
harmful consequences in monetary terms. based on their ability to maximize the viabil-
Accordingly, social benets of an action are ity of habitat for the range of species that
expressed relative to the amount of money may be affected.
individuals would be willing to pay to ob- The context of future generations no other
tain the benecial consequences, while the concept cements environmental thinking as
social costs are measured in relation to the much as the question of future generations.
opportunities society gives up when its re- Because planning decisions frequently set
sources are used to implement the proposed into motion a series of irreversible and irre-
action. To the decision-maker the criterion trievable commitments of land and other re-
for choosing among alternatives simplies sources, the context of future generations
to the selection of that alternative with the directs the planning problem beyond the im-
greatest numerical difference between mon- mediate concerns of the present and forces
etary benets to costs. The principal limi- consideration of the implications of a deci-
tation with this approach and a continuing sion that may (1) foreclose on future options
source of controversy frustrating its applica- or (2) introduce risks that future generations
tion centers around the problem of (1) equat- will have to confront. While the question of
ing human actions in monetary terms, and whether future generations have a moral
(2) relating those actions to intangible envi- right to an environment that has not been de-
ronmental qualities. This has contributed to pleted of its resources remains in debate, the
the use of qualitative comparisons that en- idea that each generation is a trustee of the
able a more systematic evaluation of alterna- environment for succeeding generations has
tives (Swartzman, Linoff, & Croke, 1982). placed an important role in shaping environ-
Equity distribution applies principles of mental policies (Smith, 1995).
fairness to decisions affecting environmen- The strategies identied above, together with
tal quality. Equity distribution is concerned the primary avenues of thought pertaining to the
D E F I N I N G T H E E N V I R O N M E N TA L A P P R O A C H 27

environment, remind us that the environmental Ecology, by denition, is concerned with the
planning problem can never be addressed on the study of the structure and function of organisms
basis of a single set of principles or an individual and their environment. As a science, ecology seeks
point of view. Depending on the situation and to explain the interrelationships between living
the factors involved, utilitarian costbenet organisms and their environment and how they
approaches might form a dominant rationale for interact. This traditional view of ecology as the
decision-making, while at other times questions science of living things in relation to their environ-
related to fairness and individual rights may in- ment provides the connection to the environmen-
uence the path we follow. Yet, in environmental tal planning problem and identies ecologys
planning we bring to the decision an environmen- major contribution to the management of the envi-
tal perspective that places emphasis on maintain- ronment. When discussing the planning problem,
ing balance between human need, environmental we identify the need for planning as a response to
sustainability, and efciency, along with an ap- the complexity and interrelatedness inherent
proach to planning rmly grounded in ecological to the landscape. The planning process was de-
principles. signed to manage that complexity and provide an
The inclusion and consideration of ecological avenue to direct understanding of how factors re-
principles in planning and the decision-making late within the context of a given problem. Manag-
process is the distinguishing characteristic that ing complexity and forming this fundamental
separates environmental planning from other ex- understanding of relatedness does not occur in the
pressions of the planning model. Ecological and absence of an organizing body of knowledge and
environmental science is so central to this form theory. Ecology lends that knowledge and offers
of planning that it can be easily forgotten in pro- its theories to help support the environmental
fessional practice. Nevertheless, to understand planning approach. Hence, through the lens of
environmental planning theory, ecology, and the ecology we look at the planning area as a function-
natural factors and principles that guide the envi- ing organism and those things that comprise the
ronmental approach demands detailed examina- planning area (people, houses, trees, water, etc.)
tion and review. all play a role.
As a science, ecology proceeds at three levels
(Buchholz, 1993):
Ecologys niche 1 The individual organism.
2 The population identied as individuals of
The role of ecology in environmental planning the same species.
and management is widely recognized. Examples 3 The community composed of several
of the work undertaken to demonstrate and rene populations.
the connection between ecology and planning At the level of the organism, the goal of ecology is
includeMcHarg(1969),Park (1980), Steiner (1991), to explain how individuals are affected by, and
Westman (1985), and, most recently, Archibusi how they affect, their environment. At the popula-
(1997). A common theme in this literature is the tion level ecology strives to describe the trend and
treatment of ecology not as science in its purest uctuations of a particular species and the factors
sense, but rather as a metaphor for synthesis. Ecol- that inuence its presence or absence. When atten-
ogy suggests a bringing together of elements into tion is directed at the community level, ecology
one combined system whose functioning takes on seeks to dene the structure and composition of
discernable patterns we recognize as the world we communities and the processes that inuence
live in. This preoccupation with synthesis is not to their living and nonliving elements. Translating
discount the science of ecology, yet in planning the these levels of analysis into the context of planning
science is applied in a somewhat different way; as produces a model that can be used to examine the
a language of design as well as one of description implications of an alternative and a strategy that
and explanation. can be used to frame our thinking with respect to



Solar energy


Fig. 2.1 Generalized character

of terrestrial ecosystems.

the relationship between a plan and the levels of plexity in a dynamic balance over time and space
the environment that a plan may effect. (Fig. 2.1).
Perhaps the most important construct bor- Applying the ecosystem concept to the plan-
rowed from ecology is the concept of an ecosys- ning problem makes it possible to adapt a
tem. The ecosystem applies the logic of systems functional view of the landscape and structure
analysis to explain a device for organizing the elements of the problem into a representation that
complexities and connections that dene the envi- facilitates basic understanding of how things in
ronment. To the ecologist, the ecosystem is the the planning area t together, what processes are
basic functional unit that incorporates organisms, actively inuencing their structure, and how they
populations, and communities together with the change or modify over time. Using such a repre-
causal mechanisms that dene the relationships, sentation schema, we can explain the natural envi-
interdependencies, and pathways that direct en- ronment and characterize pathways that connect
ergy ow and control the properties of the system. human processes to the natural system. The
Taken into the realm of planning, the ecosystem ecosystem framework further allows the planner
concept can be used to form a root denition of the to explore the dynamics of the environment using
planning area, its living and nonliving elements, a process orientation that focuses attention on the
the relationships that connect them into a func- ows or matter, energy, and resources through the
tional form, and the processes that govern their system and permits denition of their direction
behavior. In ecology, it is common to consider the and magnitude. This facility is perhaps the most
ecosystem as a complex of both biotic and abiotic signicant quality of the ecosystem concept when
components dependent either directly or indirect- used as an organizing framework in planning,
ly upon the input of solar energy. The input of en- simply because it enables the analysis of change to
ergy into the system produces a ow as it moves be grounded in an observable and measurable
from one component of the system to the next. construct.
This ow establishes critical cycles of matter and Using the ecosystem as an organizing structure
energy that sustain ecosystem structure and com- with human activities embedded in it, and
D E F I N I N G T H E E N V I R O N M E N TA L A P P R O A C H 29

dependent upon it, the planner can trace the con- fects of human development while encouraging
sequences of human actions on the model, de- greater balance between social progress and envi-
scribe the implications of human-induced change ronmental process. The rationale for adopting
on the overall balance of nature, and assess the these principles as planning guidelines is based
quality and stability of the environmental system. on some very simple observations:
Functional stability introduces two valuable fea- Opportunities to develop and inhabit new
tures of the ecosystem that help to frame the areas have diminished.
environmental planning approach: (1) self- Development is increasingly directed
maintenance and (2) self-regulation. Ecosystems toward areas or greater environmental
maintain a dynamic equilibrium through a com- sensitivity and constraint.
plement of self-maintaining and self-regulating Resources used to support the future will
strategies. As a consequence, ecosystems are con- likely originate in environmentally sensitive
stantly adapting and adjusting to natural uctua- areas where the costs and risks are greater.
tions and perturbations that will inuence Postindustrial societies have become less
community structure and composition. When willing to accept the social costs of growth
human intervention is introduced, changes can be and development.
produced that create forms of stress that self- Greater consideration is being given to alter-
regulating and maintaining strategies cannot native and more sustainable forms of devel-
compensate for or adapt to. In these instances, the opment at local, regional, and global scales.
community can become threatened or critical Given these realities, connecting planning with
functions can become disorganized. This dy- the physical laws that govern the ecosystem fur-
namic element of ecosystem development must ther erodes the notion that human and environ-
be carefully understood by the planner, since it ex- mental systems can be treated as non-interacting
plains the principal source of conict between the entities. By explaining these laws and principles
human-centered goals encouraging maximum in general terms it becomes possible to apply them
productive use of the environment and the natur- and to demonstrate how they may exert a control-
al systems strategy of maximum support of com- ling inuence on the scale and magnitude of
plex ecological structures. Reconciling this human activities.
conict is the underlying purpose of environmen- The laws and principles that direct envi-
tal planning. However, to achieve reconciliation ronmental planning can be summarized and
certain ecological principles must be incorporated discussed under three major divisions: (1) prim-
into the foundations of the plan. ary physical laws, (2) laws of the biosphere, and
(3) unifying ecological principles.

Guiding ecological principles

1 Primary physical laws
Environmental planning differs from other plan- The relationship between energy and ecosystem
ning approaches by its inclusion of environmental maintenance can be explained in part by the fun-
factors into the decision-making process. How- damental laws of physics. Among the more ger-
ever, planning with the environment, rather than mane to environmental planning are the law of
against the environment, requires a sensitivity to conservation of matter, and the rst and second
the natural laws and principles that direct envi- laws of thermodynamics. The law of conservation
ronmental functioning. It also requires a willing- of matter simply states that matter (mass) can nei-
ness to incorporate those laws and principles as a ther be created nor destroyed, but merely changes
basis for design (McHarg, 1969). Planning in ac- from one form to another. To the environmental
cordance with the principles and laws of ecology planner this suggests that materials are never
becomes one means to minimize the entropic ef- really produced or consumed. They change

in form from raw materials and products to wastes level (Castillon, 1996). Using this pyramid con-
and residuals without a change in quantity (Bald- cept it is possible to place elements of the ecosys-
win, 1985). Therefore, over time, in any stable sys- tem into a trophic structure that suggests where
tem the amount of matter entering the system organisms relate in terms of the available energy
must equal the amount stored, plus the amount and denes how they organize into food webs
moving out. Therefore, those trucks that haul within the ecosystem. Five of the more central to
away the trash each week do not disappear once the issues surrounding environmental planning
they round the corner. The matter they hold is include:
simply being transferred elsewhere nothing is The law of production for the biosphere
ever really thrown away. the law of production states that production
Energy interactions are governed by the laws of must always equal or exceed consumption.
thermodynamics. The rst law of thermodynam- Thus, at each level of the tropic pyramid, a
ics, also referred to as the law of conservation of carrying capacity can be dened which if
energy, states that energy can neither be created or exceeded will result in a reduction in popu-
destroyed, it changes from one form to another. As lation size or complexity.
energy changes form and distribution, the quan- Law of adaptation based on fundamental
tity remains the same. Therefore, energy is neither Darwinian principles, this law maintains
produced nor consumed, it is simply converted that: (1) a species will produce more off-
from one form to another. The second law of ther- spring that can survive, (2) these offspring
modynamics introduces the principle of entropy. possess the genetic traits of their parents, (3)
According to the second law of thermodynamics, these genetic differences in individuals of
within any closed system, the amount of energy in any species establish a competition for food
a form available to do work diminishes over time. and space, (4) those with genetic advantages
This means that as energy changes form it be- survive the competition, and (5) the
comes less useful, and less organized. This loss of survivors pass the genetic advantage for
available energy represents a reduction in a sys- survival to their offspring.
tems capacity to maintain order over time. To Law of fertility introduces the concept of
the planner, the law of entropy is important both nutrient cycling and maintains that nutri-
with respect to natural and social systems (Bald- ents must recycle to keep the environmental
win, 1985). Because of the presence of entropy in system functioning.
order to sustain or enlarge any system, whether Law of succession with respect to biotic
in the case of an organism or city, an expenditure communities, this law states that there is a
of energy will be required. However, as energy sequence of plant species that will occupy a
changes form it become less organized, and recently altered or newly formed landscape.
because of entropy it takes more and more to Law of control introduces the idea that
yield less. Many of the management problems species have control mechanisms that
confronted in planning are a manifestation of govern population size and strategies for
entropy, whether those problems are expressed maintaining equilibrium given the nature
in a physical or social context. of its habitat.
Taken together these laws or principles help to es-
tablish a better understanding of the underlying
2 Laws of the biosphere
logic that guides environmental processes and
The biosphere, or life-layer, describes a level of or- basic biosphere functions. More importantly
ganization and an intricate set of relationships these law-like principles provide important
between its components and the physical environ- support for environmental planning efforts by
ment they occupy. These relationships form a emphasizing equilibrium concepts and the im-
biotic pyramid whose shape represents the con- portance of balance in maintaining a sustain-
centration of biomass and/or population at each able system.
D E F I N I N G T H E E N V I R O N M E N TA L A P P R O A C H 31

come increasingly difcult to manage the system

3 General ecological principles
involved. For example, when San Jose, California,
Because environmental planning strives to was a city of 100,000 people it was comparatively
achieve a balance between development process- easy to repair the streets, inspect the water lines,
es and environmental sustainability, develop- accommodate the needs of the population. Now
ment proposals and the motivations to transform as a city of nearly 800,000 encompassing large por-
land resources to more intensive forms of human tions of the Santa Clara Valley, its not easy or cheap
use should be considered in relation to how in to tend to the day-to-day business of managing
tune they are with respect to ecological realities the citys infrastructure. In this context, the size of
of the planning area. Several ecological principles a community will constrain the ability of any unit
that govern the interaction of organisms and their to manage its size (complexity) and adapt to new
environments exert a degree of control in estab- conditions. We can further illustrate this point
lishing that relationship. These same principles by considering the example of a small town that
can also be used to help direct environmental benets from growth through the improvements
planning facilitate balance. made to public services, cultural amenities, and
One ecological principle that carries important economic opportunities, to the point where that
implications for the environmental planner is town is no longer small. At that larger size (both
Ashbys Law of Requisite Variety (Baldwin, 1985; in terms of population and geographic scale) a
Margalef, 1970). Although this principle is more limit (real or perceived) is reached where the
commonly expressed as the law of diversity and benets of growth have diminished and the city
stability, the Law of Requisite Variety states that has to manage urban disamenities and a more
stable environments tend to develop diverse eco- costly, complex arrangement.
logical communities over geologic time. Con- The notion that size imposes a constraint on the
versely, less diverse communities overall tend to functioning of a system introduces the next and
be more vulnerable to environmental disruption. perhaps most inuential ecological principle in
According to Baldwin (1985), the ramications of environmental planning and decision-making,
this principle are fairly simple: Dont put all your the carrying-capacity concept (Lein, 1993a). Car-
eggs in one basket. This fact holds for human sys- rying capacity can be dened as the maximum
tems as well as environmental given the general population that can be sustained by an ecosystem
observation that social systems with greater over time. In the context of environmental plan-
economic and resource diversity tend to be more ning, carrying capacity describes the level of
stable and tend to adapt more successfully to human activity that a region can sustain in perpe-
environmental, political, social, or economic tuity at an acceptable quality of life (Bishop et al.,
changes. This principle also reminds the planner 1974).
that diverse (high-variety) problems must be The carrying-capacity concept was originally
matched by a solution that equals the level of introduced in biology to explain the relationship
variety exhibited by the problem. between the resource base, the assimilative and
A second ecological principle that guides envi- restorative capacity of the environment, and the
ronmental planning has been referred to as the biotic potential of a species. The biotic potential of
Brontosaurus Principle (Miller, 1998; Baldwin, a species, describing the maximum rate of popula-
1985). Using an analogy with the ill-fated di- tion growth that could be achieved given the num-
nosaur considered the largest land animal and ber of females that reached and survived through
which became extinct approximately 75 million their reproductive spans, is the controlling vari-
years ago, this principle asserts that bigger is able in this relationship. With adequate food sup-
better up to a point, whereafter size becomes a lia- plies, living area, and the absence of disease and
bility. The Brontosaurus Principle cements the no- predation, biotic potential contributes to a growth
tion that thresholds exist in the environment. in population that must be accommodated by the
When growth exceeds these thresholds it will be- environmental system. Environmental resistance,

however, regulates biotic potential by imposing mental planner views the landscape. It also pro-
limits on food supply and space, and other inhibit- motes a type of causal thinking where environ-
ing factors such as predation and disease. Out of mental relationships, actual or implied, become
this interplay, carrying capacity emerges as the the framework for tracing cause and effect path-
limit or level a species population size attains ways. As Bush (2000) explains, every living thing
given the environmental resistance indigenous survives by numerous and subtle relationships
to its location. with all living things and the inanimate environ-
In a planning or management context, carrying ment. When all living things are considered
capacity is used to characterize the ability of a nat- together, these connections appear as complex,
ural or human-made system to absorb population interdependent, and self-regulating structures.
growth without signicant degradation. Apply- Within these structures, any one form of life de-
ing carrying-capacity concepts in planning pends on the rest of the system to provide the con-
requires careful treatment of four underlying ditions needed for its existence. While the earth
assumptions (Lein, 1993). First, that there are has not always provided suitable environments
limits to the amount of growth and development for human habitation, over the millennia it was
the natural environment can absorb without made hospitable by functioning ecosystems. The
threatening human welfare through environmen- connection principle becomes one way to recon-
tal degradation. Secondly, that critical population cile the theory that all things are intertwined in a
thresholds can be identied beyond which con- complex web of hidden and subtle relationships
tinued growth will trigger the deterioration of im- that are presently beyond our comprehension
portant natural resources. Thirdly, that the natural (Baldwin, 1985). The value of this conceptuali-
capacity of a resource to absorb growth is not xed zation of the environment to planning is that
but can be altered by human intervention. Lastly, it forces the planner to examine cause and effect
that how capacity limits are ultimately deter- more carefully and to explore possible relation-
mined may involve an act of judgment. Although ships that may not be obvious at rst glance.
these assumptions make simple application of the Although a more detailed discussion of central
concept difcult to uniformly apply, the concept ecological concepts and their role in environmen-
of environmental carrying capacity has several tal planning could be undertaken, the physical
important uses, including studies examining the laws and principles explored above provide a
effects of human actions on natural ecosystems, foundation to assist the planner in forming a bet-
standard-setting for pollution control, and devel- ter and more comprehensive view of the relation-
oping sustain-yield/renewable resource man- ship between human systems and the natural
agement programs. In each of these examples environment. The principles reviewed above also
carrying capacity forms the basis for setting remind the environmental planner that achieving
priorities and establishing levels of tolerance or a harmonious balance between human needs and
thresholds in relation to critical environmental the environment must be based on logic and a
processes. strong conceptual understanding of how the
The concept of carrying capacity provides environment works.
useful background to help understand a related
unifying idea in the environmental sciences; the
connection principle. The connection principle is The environmental
based on the supposition that when examining the planning process
form and process of the environmental system,
everything is somehow connected to everything The motivating purpose for environmental plan-
else. While the scientic explanation supporting ning is to integrate environmental considerations
this assumption remains elusive, the philosophi- into the planning process. With the inclusion of
cal meanings attached to the idea that all life is the environment, the planner is able to explore a
connected plays a central role in how the environ- wider range of alternative solutions and form a
D E F I N I N G T H E E N V I R O N M E N TA L A P P R O A C H 33

Goal Monitoring

Regional Plan
landscape administration
Local Plan
landscape implementation

Detailed Detailed
studies designs

area Landscape
Fig. 2.2 The ecological planning
concepts plan

better understanding of their spatial implications. development. In this context, the environmental
Through the integration of environmental vari- planning method is primarily a set of procedures
ables along with socioeconomic criteria, a more for analyzing the biophysical and sociocultural
comprehensible, efcient, and accurate infor- systems of a place to reveal where specic devel-
mation base for landscape decision-making is opment objectives may be practical with a mini-
provided. This information feeds the planning mum of environmental consequences (Steiner,
process during the formulation, analysis, and se- 1991). This new procedure is dened by eleven
lection of alternative solutions, and helps to deter- interacting phases. As illustrated in Fig. 2.2, each
mine which satisfy the established planning goals explains a pathway for environmental informa-
(Anderson, 1980). In this process the environ- tion to focus decision-making, and together they
mental planner introduces the balancing infor- describe a process where design plays a critical
mation that enables a broader interpretation of role in generating a successful outcome. This pro-
planning goals and an assurance that efforts to cedure, outlined by Steiner (1991), is an adapta-
identify alternatives that promote sustainable tion of the conventional planning process as
development will not be compromised. In this dened by McDowell (1986), Moore (1988), and
sense, the environmental approach to planning Stokes (1989), and builds on procedures devel-
asks us to look at the other side of the coin in oped originally for landscape planning (Marsh,
order to see the complete picture. 1983; Duchhart, 1989; Lahde, 1982).
Linking the environmental aspects of the plan- The basic phases of this environmental plan-
ning problem into this process complements ning model, based on Steiner (1991), can be sum-
rather than replaces the stages of the traditional marized as follows:
planning process. With the inclusion of the envi-
ronment, the model can be reformulated as sug-
1 Identication of planning problems
gested in Fig. 2.2. Connecting to this information
and opportunities
and to goals that are uniquely environmental,
characterizes a new procedure for acquiring in- The rst step in the environmental planning
formation and treating that information in a way method describes the exploration of issues that
that facilitates analysis and insight regarding the concern the interrelationships between the devel-
environmental controls that inuence landscape opment process and the environment. This search

basically requires consideration as to how devel- the natural processes and their relation to human
opment opportunities may conict or adversely plans and activities. Local analysis implies a much
affect environmental resources and ecological more in-depth inventory of critical natural factors
functioning. and a classication of landscape characteristics
that provides a systems view of human/environ-
mental interaction. A key feature of local-level
2 Establishing planning goals
analysis is the addition of a sociocultural inven-
Once specic issues have been identied, goals tory that helps shape a cleared expression of
are established to address these problems. These human ecology within the planning area. Human
goals provide the basis for the planning process ecology in this sense denes the manner by which
and help crystallize an ideal future situation. people interact with each other and their environ-
Goal-setting is dependent on the cultural-political ment, together with the relationships this interac-
system and requires participation of all groups tion describes.
affected by a given issue.
5 Detailed studies
3 Regional landscape analysis
Detailed studies connect the inventory and analy-
This phase is unique to the environmental plan- sis of information to the problems and goals
ning approach. Regional analysis describes the identied earlier in the process (Steiner, 1991).
process of systematically characterizing the re- Although the term study can be a bit misleading
gional environment that constitutes the setting of in this context, this step in the environmental
the planning area. Generally, regional characteri- planning process describes the place where the
zation focuses on the drainage basin or a related information gathered during regional and local
delineating feature that sets the region apart and landscape inventory is subjected to specic ana-
enables detailed analysis. Within this regional set- lytical treatment. Anderson (1980) refers to this
ting, information is collected and a regional scale phase as landscape analysis modeling, since it
inventory of the natural and human factors rele- represents the desire to form models of key
vant to the planning problem is produced. At this environmental relationships that can be used to
scale the collected information base is necessarily generate expressions of important environmental
generalized and is used primarily to enable the perceptions, values, and characteristics. Analytic
planner to gain an overview picture of the models applied during this phase may include
region, its form, function, and situational char- descriptive or predictive designs, or some combi-
acteristics, that allows important questions to be nation of the two. In all cases, models are used pri-
asked related to human/environmental relation- marily to evaluate specic conditions in relation to
ships and permits simple what if scenarios to be a goal in order to support:
explored that may suggest the need for more 1 specifying alternative programs or actions
detailed studies. The purpose of conducting a that might be chosen;
regional analysis and inventory is to aid basic 2 predicting the consequences of choosing
insight into how the regional system functions. each alternative;
3 scoring consequences or qualities according
to a metric goal of achievement;
4 Local landscape analysis
4 selecting the alternative that yields the
Moving to a local-scale analysis concentrates on highest score.
the collection of information regarding the appro- Common models applied to assist the environ-
priate physical, biological, and social factors that mental planner in these tasks include suitability
dene the planning area. At this scale of analysis models, separation models, vulnerability models,
the goal is to obtain a detailed understanding of and attractiveness models.
D E F I N I N G T H E E N V I R O N M E N TA L A P P R O A C H 35

limited, and the objectives of the plan will t more

6 Planning-area concepts
closely with the desires of the community.
This step centers on developing concepts for the
planning area. Planning concepts take the form of
9 Detailed designs
options derived from a conceptual model or sce-
nario of how a goal may be achieved or a problem The goals and objectives expressed in the land-
solved. These concepts typically express suitabil- scape (environmental) plan will eventually inu-
ities or constraints produced through the combi- ence the future spatial arrangement of land uses
nation of the information gathered during the within the planning area. This design phase of the
inventory and analysis phases. process offers decision-makers an opportunity to
visualize the consequences of the policies and pro-
grams described in the plan, and to examine the
7 Landscape plan
geographic form and arrangement the plan will
Through the articulation of planning concepts, a assume. Through careful assessment of various
series of preferred options are brought forward to design alternatives, comparisons can be made re-
serve as the foundation for the landscape (envi- garding the short-term benets of the plan with re-
ronmental) plan. The plan becomes a strategy to spect to long-term economic and ecological goals.
guide local development and offers exible guide- Also, by rendering specic designs based on the
lines for decision-making. Topics given particular landscape plan, the future distribution of land
attention in this plan include considerations such uses and the spatial organization of the environ-
as how best to conserve, rehabilitate, or develop mental system can be critically reviewed before an
the planning area. Unlike the comprehensive or irreversible commitment to development is made
general plan, which may have specic mandated that may lead to adverse environmental changes.
requirements, emphasis here is on the landscape,
giving greater importance to the natural and
10 Plan design and implementation
social factors that will direct the plan. As such, the
landscape plan is designed to address the com- Making the plan work requires various strategies
bined inuences of land uses within the context and procedures to realize the adopted goals and
of the total local/regional environment. policies (Steiner, 1991). Several mechanisms
common to planning include instruments such as:
voluntary covenants,
8 Citizen participation
The continuous involvement of the affected pub- land purchases,
lic remains the nucleus of the environmental plan- transfer of development rights,
ning model. Public participation occurs through a zoning,
variety of educational and information dissem- utility extension policies,
ination programs. Beginning very early in the performance standards.
planning process, when issues are rst being iden-
tied, public involvement introduces itself at each
11 Administration
stage of the environmental planning process. This
involvement is essential simply because it will Once the plan is adopted and implemented it
help ensure that the goals emanating from the must be administered to ensure that the goals and
community are realized as objectives in the plan. objectives established are achieved over the long
With meaningful participation, important issues term. Administration focuses on the role of
can be brought forward and resolved. If the public planning commissions, citizen boards, review
is included throughout the process, opposition to agencies, and other overseeing bodies that exist
policy programs and recommendations will be within the fabric of local government. The bodies

Table 2.1 Strategies and principles guiding The environmental planning process is also
environmental planning. guided by a collection of technical principles
General planning principles: that direct how the process unfolds and how the
Identify the planning process to be followed planner may exercise experience and judgment
Identify site-specic environmental goals and objectives throughout each of the 11 phases. These technical
Evaluate new technology from ecological, natural resource, principles are organized around three thematic
and social perspectives
Examine the conceptual and technical justication for a
areas general planning, natural science, and so-
proposed project cial science (Dorney, 1989). These environmental
Assess new projects environmental impact planning guidelines have been arranged accord-
Undertake environmental protection planning ing to theme and are presented in Table 2.1.
Identify institutional capability for any recommendation
Predict for future scenarios the exibility or reversibility of
land-use decisions
Understand the compatibilities and incompatibilities among Integrative environmental
land uses planning
Communicate technical environmental information in an
understandable form How do we manage and direct the effects of
Evaluate compliance with all regulations and applicable acts
Undertake an evaluation of risk and uncertainty
change on the landscape? The answer to this ques-
Incorporate environmental audits into project design tion is not simple. To manage change we need to
Evaluate assumptions understand it and nd ways to explain what it
Natural science principles: means in a way that makes environmental sense.
Understand historical ecosystem properties and trends In this section a theory is offered to help us place
Undertake a systematic inventory of existing resources the connection between people and environmen-
Develop or adapt relevant ecosystem models tal change into something we can use as we ob-
Predict thresholds, lags, feedbacks, and other constraint
serve and direct human use of the earths surface.
Identify natural processes and their signicance The explanation offered is highly integrative in
Identify key landscape indicators nature and supports the idea that human use of
Dene pattern of opportunity and constraint and changes to the earths surface are not some-
Identify unique geological and biological land units thing strange or unnatural. They are as much a
Determine ecosystem stabilityresiliencydiversity
part of this planet as the seasonal migration of
Determine carrying capacity and assimilative capacity limits birds and butteries.
Identify signicant transboundary ecosystem linkages Integrated approaches to environmental plan-
Monitor existing and built ecosystems ning and management have been widely advo-
Design low-maintenance landscape systems cated. Integrated planning explains the use of
Social science principles: proactive or preventative measures that maintain
Understand cultural linkages the environment in good condition for a variety of
Identify community and institutional values and individual long-range sustainable uses (Cairns, 1991). Given
perceptions and concerns
Design public participation approaches based on the level of
this denition, integrated environmental plan-
interaction, representational needs and decision-making ning can be regarded as the coordinated control,
factors direction, and guidance of all human activities
Develop strategies to evaluate human values within a specied environmental system to
Design outreach and educational programs to enhance achieve and balance the broadest possible range of
public awareness
short- and long-term objectives. In this denition,
integration implies synthesis and suggests that
with environmental planning resting at the
can be given the responsibility or charged with interface between the human/social system and
the duty to carry out or manage specic aspects of physical/environmental system, a more realistic
the plan, or to monitor and evaluate how well the conceptualization of the planning problem begins
plan is working. to emerge.
D E F I N I N G T H E E N V I R O N M E N TA L A P P R O A C H 37

Where are we going?

As a methodology, synthesis facilitates the com- Flora Fauna
bination of relatively simple parts into a more
complex representation. From this representa- Climate Geology
tion, characteristics of the system as a whole can be
deduced. Only recently has complexity been rec-
ognized to contribute important qualities to a sys-
Perceptual system
tem that cannot be predicted from a collection of
its components. These attributes have been de- Perception Cultural
ned as emergent properties and provide the link- & motivations
ing elements that connect the two systems
together (Lein, 1989). For example, when one is
considering the relationship or impact of land-use
change on microclimate, the material structure
and composition of the landscape can also be ex- Utilization system
pressed as specic physical properties such as Control & Social goals
albedo or emissivity that can be measured and Adaptive & &
quantied. Early attempts at landscape synthesis processes Use objectives
focused on the interaction between population,
economy, and environment, and on their territori-
al linkages. While such models may be criticized
for producing a too highly generalized series of
interactions, these approaches have merit for Transformation to
built/functional form
planning purposes, since they offer a general pro-
cedure for tracing the linkages between compo- Fig. 2.3 Features of the land transformation process.
nents of the landscape system. They also provide a
useful methodology to explore the spatial aspects
of interactions. constituents that share the landscape. As ex-
Synthesis also requires focusing on the interac- pressed in relation to landscape development,
tion of diverse landscape features, drawing care- people interact directly or indirectly with the re-
ful distinctions to guide assessment, and separate maining elements of the geosystem. Through this
consideration of impact from that of consequence. interaction an anthropogenic landscape is created
Thus, through the introduction of synthesis in (Fig. 2.3). This landscape describes an articial
planning, a unity of process is realized that arrangement of materials and energy that trans-
describes components of the planning area, in- fers its inuence back through the geosystem.
cluding people, as elements of a larger system. Anthropogenic landscape, therefore, explains a
Conceptually, environmental unity of this type departure from natural surface form and explains
enables the denition of interactions between specic surface alterations created by the devel-
components of the system that are not directly opment process in order to maximize utility from
connected in operation yet exert an inuence. For the landscape. These alterations also modify the
instance, it might be difcult to understand how morphological state (shape and form) of the sur-
economic growth might affect the ow of ground- face, which changes the ow of materials and en-
water; the connection isnt obvious until we look ergy throughout the natural system. The resulting
for it. We can use the geosystem model to help surface arrangement, its structure and origin, is
gain insight into these larger connections. Here, therefore induced by human activity and becomes
the geosystem represents the combination of a visible product of planning. Just think about the
botanic, geologic, climatic, zoologic, and human number of times youve seen land being reshaped,

raised, lowered to permit construction, the exam-

ples of drainage ows moved or altered, trees cut,
soils replaced by concrete. Nature doesnt dis-
appear in these areas, but it does look and respond
differently, sometimes to our detriment.
Land value
However, until there are noticeable changes in
the manner and intensity of use, most growth is
too obscure to require attention. The isolated
building lot or small modication of a road sur-
face isnt going to cause signicant change. To the
High-density Single-family Urban/rural
planner this suggests that growth can be interpre- commercial residential fringe
ted mainly as a change in the pattern of land use
Distance from peak demand point
from less intensive toward more intensive uses of
land where an increase in land-use intensity in-
creases the productivity of land (Schafer, 1977).
However, intensication of use can simply be a Fig. 2.4 Land-use allocation according to the bidrent
function of more people using the same land area
as before, or it may involve other factors, such as:
Higher capital investment in the same
land area. users of land exercise a bid to locate at that spot
Greater material investment. based on (1) the anticipated economic rent (prot)
Increased productivity. to be derived from the intended use, and (2) the
The transfer of products or services. proximity that location offers to the sources of de-
Intensication also introduces competition. mand. The relationship between land cost (value),
With land dened as a xed and nite resource, explained as a function of its accessibility, coupled
users of land ultimately compete with one another with the pull of the market, creates a generalized
in order to maximize the comparative advantage pattern of land use (Fig. 2.4). The pattern sug-
land enjoys due to its accessibility and resource gested by this characterization suggests that at the
quality. Emerging from this competition is an as- surface there will be important variations in the
sumed rational allocation process that orders the intensity of use. Thus, based on this generalized
distribution, type, and intensity of land use. At description, there will also be a corresponding
the local level, allocation is directed by the land change in the degree of anthropogenic modica-
market forces which determine the relative value tion as the intensity or impact declines away
of land and its preferred use, and the landscape from the locus of primary attraction. The spatial
begins to change. patterns that emerge, however, form only a partial
explanation of anthropogenic landscape. The
remaining portion of the equation directs
How do we get there?
attention to the physical consequence of this
One of the better models that describes the spatial landscape as dened by its structural and text-
expression and dynamics of local land market ural properties.
processes was introduced by Alonso (1964). Within the context of environmental planning,
According to this conceptual model, two principal the built environment is more than a spatial repre-
factors control the pace of development within the sentation of economic inuences and trade-offs.
land-use system and direct its spatial form: (1) This surface denes a form and texture that, while
the economic rent of land and (2) its accessibility reecting technological capabilities and human
expressed as a function of distance to the focus of values, stands separate from these factors when
demand in the local economic system. Based on viewed only in terms of its physical consequences.
the interplay between these two factors, potential Through the eyes of the environmental planner
D E F I N I N G T H E E N V I R O N M E N TA L A P P R O A C H 39

its not merely residential land, or commercial de- brick, reinforced concrete, steel, and glass that rep-
velopment, its the material fabric those land-use resent the set of emergent properties that connect
types represent. Weve all had the opportunity to human activities to the larger environmental sys-
look down at the landscape from the vantage tem. Therefore, the planners allocation of func-
point of an airplane window and weve marveled tions to a specic point in the landscape also
at how different these areas look: the mosaic or becomes an indirect decision regarding the new
shapes, colors, textures; the curving streets and properties that will take hold on the landscape
tree lled spaces of the residential area; the stark, and how those properties react with the natural
wide, and smooth expanses of the shopping mall. forces that drive the landscape system. Will the
These are real surfaces that behave in a physical new conditions introduced be benecial to the
sense and do something when environmental functioning of the environment, or will they in-
processes act on them. troduce a stress that will eventually undermine
That consequence becomes the responsibility its sustainability?
of the environmental planner. However, the con-
sequence of anthropogenic landscape develops as
a function of time as this designed space inter- Building toward sustainability
acts with the physical processes of the environ-
ment into which it has been placed. Placement is, As noted in the previous section, the introduction
therefore, a central feature of the problem and of built form presents a new morphological state
gives renewed emphasis to the plan and the spa- capable of moving the environmental system to a
tial arrangement of future land uses. The precise new equilibrium, bringing into question the issue
nature of this placement is likely to be evolution- of sustainability. As illustrated in Fig. 2.5, the pre-
ary as form adapts to a changing set of functional dominant threat to sustainability emanates from
demands. Regardless, the interaction produced is the stress imposed on the natural system when
directly attributable to the structural properties of land is changed from its natural state to some
designed space, whether expressed in the form of other form. According to Fig. 2.5, the environment
an agricultural eld or a complex urban canyon. in its natural condition can be explained by a use
Three underlying forces have been identied potential that translates into an expression of the
that shape urban morphology: landscapes worth, and a use value that describes
1 Forces that encourage the outward expan- the ability of the landscape to satisfy one or more
sion of urban form. societal needs. If a benet can be identied then
2 Forces that inuence the space and areal the development of that area may be encouraged.
change in growth patterns. The process of development in this context intro-
3 Forces that control the intensity of land duces human impact; which for the most part in-
occupancy. volves the removal, replacement, redistribution,
These forces include the contribution made by and redenition of the geosystem. Through this
factors such as the pattern of land ownership, land process, the surface is transformed into an explicit
speculation, personal income, land cost, and tech- functional state. To the environmental planner,
nological change in urban (built) form. Although the surface now contains distinct functional
these actors adequately explain the physical ex- attributes relating to its use (building, roads,
pansion and increased intensity of anthropogenic utility lines), a morphological characteristic re-
landscape, they do not address the concurrent ecting its physical structure (a shape), and a set
structural or compositional transformations that of inherent qualities that dene the invariable or
occur at the surface. stable features not affected by human activity
Structural descriptions of landscape morphol- (environmental conditions that have not been
ogy must consider the physical composition of modied).
designed space and its variation over time. The The presence of this new anthropogenic state
fabric of this landscape becomes a mix of wood, produces real and potential effects as the environ-

Natural state
of the

Economic Recognized Use

potential development value
Exchange Societal
value demand

Planning System
Transform to

New New
functional morphological
attributes character


Environmental Fig. 2.5 Dening

response environment/development

ment responds to change. These feedback effects The consequence of human development and
ow directly into the socio-economic regulators intervention as implied by this simple model is
propelling development. The environmental similar to the introduction of a stress into any
response, as depicted in Fig. 2.5, may initially natural system. Stress, in this context, identies a
explain qualitative changes in the structure of the form of interference with the expected condition
geosystem that may eventually alter its perfor- of a system (Lugo, 1978). Of course, the effects of
mance. At this point, the capacity of the landscape stress are most dramatically observed after critical
to satisfy societal demands may be compromised, thresholds of tolerance are exceeded and a strain
and the benets derived from use of the future of anomalous response in the system is produced.
economic potential of the landscape may be When this occurs a departure from the expected
degraded as more resources must ow into man- condition results and a new state develops to
agement in order to sustain the pattern. which all other elements in the system must
D E F I N I N G T H E E N V I R O N M E N TA L A P P R O A C H 41

adjust. If we abstract the geosystem according to pattern, conning new construction to areas
the relation where technical encroachment on the natural sys-
tem has previously taken place, and utilizing each
Y = f ( x , p , t)
building site efciently, the preservation and
The system (Y) is composed of a vector of state maintenance of the environmental system be-
variables (x) and a vector of parameters (p) with (t) comes possible. Development must therefore
representing time. By invoking an arbitrary func- respond to a series of goals that together realize
tion to represent the state of the system, sustainable patterns of growth and change. These
may include attempts to
= f ( x1 * x2 ),
1 Minimize energy consumption.
a strain (s) can be explained. This strain develops 2 Preserve biological resources.
out of the deviation in the state b and can be de- 3 Minimize costs.
noted as b*, such that 4 Minimize local noise and pollution.
5 Provide opportunities for outdoor recreation.
s = / */
6 Preserve landscapes and cultural values.
where, 7 Contribute to the realization of social
* = f ( x , ),
It must be recognized that while these goals will
with f representing the change in one of the origi- do much to improve the present situation, true
nal state variables. A sustainable system, there- sustainability may never be achievable (Beatley,
fore, denes the condition where /b - b*/ = f and 1995; Rees & Wackernagel, 1996).
a strain is not produced that results in a system The major limitation of the concept of sus-
response. tainability is that it has become a buzzword in
Realizing the condition expressed above where current planning and resource management
any strain is kept well below threshold levels discourse (Collicott & Mumford, 1997). When
depends greatly on the approaches available to applied, its anthropocentric focus is not always
encourage environmentally sound patterns of useful within a strict ecological framework. Thus,
development (Naess, 1993). A sustainable pattern sustainability should be replaced with the more
is not possible unless development proceeds in ac- exacting concept of ecological sustainability.
cordance with criteria for achieving sustainability. Ecological sustainability takes into consideration
Opinions regarding what is an environmentally more concretely a wider concern for ecosystem
sound form of urban development differ. In a health and links to the objects of environmental
review of the topic by Naess (1993), several major planning. An attempt to place sustainability
themes can be identied to help focus the con- concepts into a more ecological context was intro-
cept of sustainable development. For example, duced by Lawrence (1997). Although this outline
transportation planners tend to recommend con- directs attention toward the environmental
centrated development patterns (Owen, 1986; impact assessment process, its features are useful
Newman & Kenworthy, 1989), while those work- and relevant to the general concerns of the envi-
ing in residential design give preference to urban ronmental planner. The attraction to this frame-
expansion over density increases (Attwell, 1991). work are the instruments introduced to meet
Finally, others argue that regional satellite devel- sustainable development goals (Table 2.2). Using
opments are an optimal strategy for combin- these instruments, a conceptual foundation is
ing conservation goals with rural preservations presented that connects sustainability to the
(Naess, 1993). larger environmental issues (Lawrence, 1997).
The model suggested by Lawrence illustrates how
sustainable planning can take place at the con-
Recognizing options
ceptual, regulatory, and applied levels. If sustain-
In general, by concentrating the development ability concepts are integrated into the planning

Table 2.2 Fundamental goals directing Realizing this goal depends on forming better
sustainable development. denitions of human carrying capacity and the
Approach problems from a sustainability systems perspective maximum entropic load that can safely be im-
Adopt a long-term view of humanenvironmental conditions posed on the environment (Catton, 1996; Rees,
Strive to span jurisdictional, disciplinary, professional, and 1996). The footprint concept recognizes that as
stakeholder boundaries a consequence of the large increase in per capita
Ensure that values and value differences are made explicit
Keep options open
energy and material consumption made possible
Be sensitive to the consequences of being wrong by technology and global-scale trade dependen-
Ensure that the means to achieve sustainability are cies, the ecological locations of high-density
sustainable human settlements no longer coincide with their
Design approaches to suit the context of community need absolute geographic locations. Our feet have sim-
and aspirations
Ensure a full accounting of social and environmental costs
ply outgrown our shoes. Because cities appro-
View global environmental management as a shared priate the ecological output and life support
responsibility of all functions of distant regions, it is also critical to rec-
ognize that no urban region can achieve sustain-
ability on its own (Rees & Wackernagel, 1996).
process, changes should be produced in the ways Determining the ecological footprint of a
in which environments are managed. The main population level residing in the urban landscape
obstacles frustrating this ideal are those of imple- facilitates this understanding by:
mentation and the larger problem of generating 1 Estimating the annual per capita con-
an understandable method to express the concept sumption of major consumptive items from
in substantive, quantiable terms. aggregate regional data and dividing total
consumption by population size.
2 Estimating the land area appropriated per
Forming a useful expression
capita for the production of each consump-
Recently Rees and Wackernagel (1996) have sug- tive item by dividing average annual con-
gested an approach to quantifying sustainability sumption of that item by its average annual
they term our ecological footprint. Adapting productivity or yield.
this approach to planning may produce a better 3 Compiling the total average per capita
expression of the ecological impact of the urban ecological footprint (EF) by summing all
built environment. Their approach is based on the ecosystem areas appropriated by an
the observation that urban development repre- individual.
sents a human ecological transformation. There- 4 Obtaining the ecological footprint (Efp) of the
fore, the shift in human spatial and material planning area population by multiplying the
relationships with the rest of the environment is average per capita footprint by population
the critical link to sustainability. Using the de- size (Efp = N EF).
nition of environmental carrying capacity as the More complete details of this procedure can be
maximum persistently supportable load, sustain- found in Rees and Wackernagel (1994), Wacker-
ability can be redened with carrying capacity as nagel and Rees (1995), and Rees (1996).
the operator governing its expression. According Although ecological footprint analysis is not a
to this logic, no development path is sustainable if form of dynamic modeling and has no predictive
it depends on the continuous depletion of pro- capabilities, the method acts as an ecological
ductive capital. Thus, to foster sustainable devel- camera that produces a snapshot of a populations
opment, a critical amount of such capital must be current demand on nature. For the planner, such a
conserved intact and in place. This will ensure that snapshot can be a useful means to compare devel-
the ecosystems upon which humans depend re- opment proposals and evaluate growth policies
main capable of continuous self-organization with reference to the environmental support that
and production (Rees & Wackernagel, 1996). will be required to accommodate a given alterna-
D E F I N I N G T H E E N V I R O N M E N TA L A P P R O A C H 43

tive. However, perhaps the greatest obstacle to ideals and information into the planning process,
overcome when approaching the topic of sustain- becomes an important step to ensure long-term
ability is the negative expectations people have sustainability. Achieving sustainable goals re-
about what a sustainable society will look like quires an understanding of how to plan environ-
(Beatley, 1995). Because a sustainable society mentally. This chapter reviewed the ecological
would likely shift focus away from materialistic principles that guide environmental planning
quantities and toward more abstract measures and pave the way for an integrative view of the
of quality, it conveys the image of a spartan and planning problem based on synthesis and a con-
materially backward way of life. Because planners ceptualization of human development as a phy-
are visionaries, we must learn to describe sustain- sical feature of the landscape. By considering this
able futures in ways that effectively communicate perspective, and through the environmental
alternative visions. Much of this begins with the planning process outlined, more sustainable
plan, what it says, and how it communicates a landscape patterns can be realized.
future to those who stand to be affected by it. In the
next chapter we will explore the nature of this
plan, how it takes shape, and the important Focusing questions
considerations that guide its formulation.
What do terms such as compatibility, suitabil-
ity, susceptibility, and sustainability commu-
Summary nicate when placed into the environmental
planning process?
The nature of environmental planning served as To what extent can natural laws provide guid-
the subject matter for this chapter. Set apart ance in the design of environmental plans
from other branches of the planning discipline, and policies?
environmental planning was dened as the one Explain the value of looking at human devel-
approach to human landscape development opment through the lens of anthropogenic
uniquely devoted to achieving balance between landscape.
human needs and environmental quality. From its How can the conceptualization of stress in a
philosophical roots and the ethical responsibili- system be used to structure environmental
ties that direct us at present, environmental plan- planning problems?
ning, with its focus on integrating environmental
Integrated Environmental Planning
James K. Lein
Copyright 2003 by Blackwell Publishing

Making Plans

The planning process described in Chapter 1 and an ofcial public document adopted by a local
the principles that dene environmental planning government as a policy guide to decisions it will
discussed in Chapter 2 ultimately become embod- make regarding the physical development of the
ied in a plan. This plan expresses the goals and ob- community. Whether it is termed a general plan,
jectives of a society that will guide the allocation of comprehensive plan, community plan, or some-
functions within the land-use system to produce a thing similar, the plan indicates in direct language
desired future state. How a plan takes shape, its how government leaders want the community to
design, and the inuences that direct its formula- develop over a broadly dened time horizon. Typ-
tion are the major themes of this chapter. Here we ically, time is expressed in a plan using increments
will examine the technical aspects of the plan as of 10 to 25 years and sometimes longer. However,
a decision-making document, together with the in all cases, the expectation implied in a plan is that
philosophical foundation that anchors the ideo- the goals expressed within it will be realized grad-
logical features of design to specic physical ually over this time horizon. Precisely how well
outcomes. those goals were realized over the expressed time
horizon has received comparatively little atten-
tion. Yet auditing and monitoring the plan is an
A conceptual view important part of ensuring that its role as a policy
tool remains constant and that decision-makers
A plan can be thought of as a blueprint for the fu- follow the specied policy recommendations
ture. It presents general goals and objectives of the consistently over the time horizon.
community and blends them with specic policy It has often been stated that the essential char-
recommendations developed with the single pur- acteristics of a plan are that it is comprehensive,
pose of moving the community closer to some general, and long range. Although these words
desired future. Earlier, we spoke in general terms are easy to use, their meaning frequently blurs.
about the nature of goals and objectives within the The term comprehensive suggests that, to be
context of the planning process. In that discussion useful, a plan should encompass all geographical
these ideas were vague and suggested that some- parts of the community and all functional ele-
thing meaningful drives planning. We now want ments that inuence physical development. If the
to take that background information and expand plan is not complete in its characterization of
on it and examine what actually goes into a plan the planning area, and if certain critical features
and what it means. are omitted from consideration, it will not provide
From a purely pragmatic point of view, a plan is the guidance or detail needed to direct change. A

Land use


Public safety
Fig. 3.1 Typical elements
incorporated into plans. Environmental quality

partial plan has limited value given the connect- what exactly goes into this document and how do
edness that denes the planning area, its environ- all the parts t together to produce a workable
ment, and the complexities that describe human blueprint?
interaction within this mix. Similarly, the term While plans will vary in content and format,
general implies that, to be effective, a plan certain elements are common and form the salient
should summarize policies and proposals, but not characteristics of a plan and its focus. (See Fig. 3.1.)
provide specic locations or detailed regulations. These fundamental topics of interest and concern
If a plan introduces too specic a design it leaves include:
little room to adapt to changes that may result Land use describing the current character-
over the time horizon. By maintaining a more gen- istics of the land-use system, future condi-
eralized posture, recommendations can suggest tions that may arise, together with policies
specic changes that policy-makers can enforce and programs directed at specic land-use
through existing laws and regulations, or identify issues or development goals.
gaps where new laws or regulations may be re- Transportation and circulation explaining
quired. Finally, the concept of a long range directs the existing road network, trafc conditions,
the plan and all involved in its creation to look and anticipated future conditions with
beyond the foreground of pressing current issues policies and programs designed to address
and consider instead the problems and possibili- specic transportation needs and goals.
ties 10, 20, 30 years into the future. Long-range Public safety characterizing natural and
thinking directs focus on proactive decision- human-made hazards including geology,
making. Although not typically a feature of a cul- oods, hazardous materials, wildres, and
ture grounded in the immediate satisfaction of other potential sources of risk within the
wants and needs, a plan that does not assume a planning area, along with policies and pro-
proactive stance provides little guidance to those grams designed to reduce human injury,
who must decide on the allocation and distribu- loss of life, property damage, and social-
tion of scarce resources, or to those concerned with economic dislocations due to these events.
management of a sustainable land-use/environ- Conservation describes existing natural
mental system. Given these essential qualities, resources within the planning area and

presents goals and policies designed to en- consideration. For example, in a certain mid-
hance the conservation and management of western community in the US, it was decided that
natural resources and open space, the the time had come to update the comprehensive
preservation and production of resources, plan. The last major revision to the plan was done
the promotion of outdoor recreation, and the in the 1970s, and civic leaders recognized the need
protection of public health and safety. to begin again. Since so much time had elapsed
Environmental quality discussing pollu- since the last plan was made, planners needed to
tion factors and concerns such as those begin from square one and collect and summarize
affecting noise, air, water, and soil with spe- the general social, economic, and environmental
cic reference to existing pollution levels, characteristics of the community, so they could
comparison to standards, identication of assess the current state of the community and
sensitive receptors, and goals, policies, and begin to piece together an explanation how the
programs targeted at major environmental city has changed since the last plan.
quality issues. Therefore, to be useful, description must there-
Other elements may also be found in a plan, fore provide insight into the patterns and process-
including sections devoted to the analysis and es that explain the arrangement of objects and
assessment of housing, education, or public features that constitute the planning area. In this
facilities (Kelly & Becker, 2000). Still, in other sense, description should provide important cues
cases, specic elements may be mandated by as to
statutory regulations specic to a given govern- Why the pattern is what it is.
mental authority. How that pattern came to be.
Regardless of contents, certain analytical in- What factors inuence its disposition.
puts are common to all elements that comprise a What makes this pattern signicant.
plan, and these guide its physical development. Although description may not demand a detailed
These are the skills of the planner and the tasks geography of every topical area that might dene
that are performed as data is transformed into in- some aspect of the planning area, it should be sys-
formation and placed into the plan: (1) description tematic, organized, and allow someone not famil-
and documentation, (2) denition, (3) projection, iar with the planning area to gain a reasonable
and (4) prescription. Taken together they explain understanding of the subject matter. To illustrate
the intellectual skills brought to the plan and the the role of description, consider the contents of
principal methods used to communicate its a conservation element that might be found in a
features to decision-makers. general plan. This element might begin with a re-
view and inventory of existing resources. Within
this section the natural resources, including vari-
1 Description and documentation
ous categories of land cover, native plants, native
Because a plan summarizes existing conditions fauna, historic sites, and amenities, would be sub-
and provides critical background information to jected to detailed examination and representation
help improve basic understanding of the planning in the form of maps and diagrams. For each factor,
area, description is an essential feature of the plan. description would concentrate on the location of
Description, however, does not occur in a vacu- these resources, the site and situational factors
um. Rather, description implies the careful collec- that characterize their location, and their physical
tion and selection of data that will effectively presence in the landscape. Following such a treat-
characterize the important features, qualities, and ment, the dominating features that distinguish
quantities that will be discussed in the plan. As an these areas could be discussed, which might in-
intellectual activity, description involves several clude detailed explanations concerning specic
interrelated purposes. At the most basic level, de- plant or animal species and maps that delineated
scription enables the decision-maker to see the these areas and placed them into a geographical
characteristics of the objects and features under context with respect to the total planning area. In

Table 3.1 Common information sources. ambiguous in meaning. While it may not be the in-
United States Geologic Survey
tention of the planner to obfuscate, the potential to
US Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service confuse those reviewing the plan always exists.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Denition plays a dual role in this regard. First,
US Army Corps of Engineers denition does much to provide detailed explana-
State Departments of Natural Resources tions of terms and concepts used in the plan whose
Water districts
Utility districts
meaning may be unclear or unfamiliar to the audi-
Historical societies ence. Secondly, denition helps fulll the obliga-
Universities and colleges tion of disclosure, ensuring that critical ideas,
issues, or information are communicated clearly
and effectively. Because a plan is written for all
members of the community, the document should
addition, factors such as soils, agricultural lands, be written in language that can be read by a lay-
groundwater recharge zones, and recreation areas audience. There is no single more frustrating
may also be included in a description of the experience for the planner than to be making a
resource base. To help frame these descriptions, public presentation of a plan and be asked to ex-
statistical data is frequently used to establish plain what terms and details mean because they
magnitudes and summarize quantities to help the were aimed over the heads of the audience; and
reader gain an appreciation of scale and impor- nothing calls the planning process into doubt
tance. Since the main purpose of description is to more than double-speak that erodes public
give the reader background, care must be given to trust and condence. Technical terms must be
ensure that only those salient factors are included dened throughout the text and detailed technical
in the discussion. This requires the exercise of data must be referenced in supporting docu-
judgment in selecting those factors that give the ments. The physical organization of the plan is
subject denition and signicance (Table 3.1). therefore critical. In purely mechanical terms, a
Description also serves another purpose, that plan will be divided into chapters (sections) in-
of documentation. It is not uncommon or surpris- cluding an introduction, and while a plan is not
ing that decision-makers or members of the public read cover to cover in the same fashion as one
will be ignorant with respect to the detailed reads a novel, the arrangement of those sections
aspects of their environment. No person should should be logical. An example of a generic table of
be assumed to have complete knowledge of the contents that could be found in a typical general
groundwater recharge zones, housing conditions, plan is shown in Table 3.2. Although this instance
demographic characteristics, or any other combi- is hypothetical, each chapter will contain two
nation of variables that dene the environmental principal sections, one that describes the present
complex that is the planning area. Describing and future conditions of the topic with respect to
these features, depicting their geographic location the planner area, the other discussing community
and extent, or providing an inventory or account- goals, policies, and implementation programs.
ing of their nature and distribution, documents Denition also carries another important inter-
and records their existence. This record con- pretation within the context of developing the
tributes to a better understanding of their signi- plan. This aspect is perhaps more critical than the
cance and provides critical baseline data against technical questions surrounding the mechanics of
which change may be assessed. its contents. Here, denition speaks to the issue of
dening the planning problem and the relation-
ships that characterize the variables that control
2 Denition
or inuence the problem. Specifying and dening
Recognizing that a plan represents a policy instru- the variables and their relationships that will be
ment, it will necessarily require the use of lan- discussed in the plan draw on the knowledge, ex-
guage and concepts that can be inexact or perience, and judgment of the planner. Through

Table 3.2 Basic elements of a plan. Factors that affect attributes explaining the
types of activity or process that inuence
Purpose and nature of the plan the status or condition of a variable.
Role of the planning process in local government Qualities or quantities to measure explain-
Relationship of the plan to other plans ing the characteristics of an attribute that
Background lend themselves to measurement.
Historical background of development in the community Methods of measurement explaining the
Current conditions and trends specic methods available to quantify the
the built environment
attributes and express their salient features.
the natural environment
the economic environment Identifying the problem and the attributes that
the social environment describe it provides the logical connection be-
Current and emerging issues that carry long-term tween specic planning issues and the goals and
implications policies that will follow to address them.
Assumed effects of external forces on the future of the
local community 3 Projection
physical developments
social developments
As a document designed to guide the long-range
economic development management of a communitys land and natural
political developments resources, a plan employs numerous methods of
Local policies, values, and actions that will affect forecasting to complete and evaluate various
development problem scenarios. For example, trends in eco-
Regional goals and issues
Forecasts of regional and local growth
nomic growth and job creation may be used to
develop future population growth. Those projec-
Overview of the plan
tions, in turn, may be used to estimate anticipated
Community goals and objectives
Basic community design concepts demand for residential land use. Estimated
Major design proposals changes in residential land can be used to pro-
Major implementation strategies
ject changes in open space, zoning, resource use,
utility demand, and energy consumption. In each
Planning area maps and diagrams
case, effects can be evaluated and policies or pro-
Planning elements grams can be developed to address each new
Land use situation in relation to the goals expressed in the
Community facilities
plan. For example, the Baltimore Ecosystem Study
Utilities has made extensive use of projection methods to
Transportation understand trends in development around the
Housing Chesapeake Bay. Here, projection methods are
Public safety being used in order to form better policies aimed
Natural resources
Conservation and open space
at controlling environmental impacts associated
Natural hazards with intensied human use of the region. Sources
Environmental quality examining the role of projection in decision-
Noise making and the use of models in planning include
Growth management Lein (1997), Klosterman et al. (1993), and Gordon
A variety of projection techniques are used in
this process of specication several important planning. In the majority of cases, projection in-
factors must be considered: volvestheapplicationofa model. This model typi-
Denition of attributes explaining what cally falls into one of three descriptive categories:
the variables are and how/why they relate (1) digital process models, (2) spreadsheet mod-
to the problem. els, (3) general-purpose simulators (Lein, 1997).

1. Digital process models describe computer when compared to those developed using a
simulation models developed to simulate key standard programming language. Furthermore,
socioeconomic, environmental, or physical pro- because of their spreadsheet format, iterative
cesses. Models of this class describe specialized processing is more difcult to implement, which
computer programs designed to function as can limit their application to dynamic systems.
stand-alone packages that require data and para- These drawbacks notwithstanding, numerous
meters placed into formatted input les. Such models applicable to a range of planning prob-
models generate their own output, be it a projec- lems have been introduced (Klosterman et al.,
tion of population, trafc volume, air pollution 1993).
concentration, or level of nonbasic employment 3. General purpose simulators describe a
demand. Current use of any computer model re- family of computer languages developed speci-
quires an understanding of the problem under in- cally to support modeling efforts. The main ad-
vestigation, together with the specic information vantage of this approach to projection is that these
that controls operation of the model (Lein, 1997). languages provide a simple syntax for developing
Selecting the appropriate digital model as an aid a model that improves the representation of
to planning occurs after the information to be process and the characterization of complex sys-
gained from the model is understood and the data tems. Several of these features have been summa-
required to drive the model is collected. rized by Lein (1997) and include:
2. Spreadsheet models dene programs that Controlling events.
have been developed using common spreadsheet Collecting and representing data.
or data management software packages. Models Generating random variables.
of this type store data as a two-dimensional table, Managing simulation time.
permit calculations with the data, and instantly Of the general-purpose simulators available to
display results in a variety of graphic formats. Be- the planner, those with the capacity to model con-
cause of their widespread use in budgeting and tinuous systems of events are of particular inter-
administration, spreadsheets are common and are est. An excellent demonstration of such models
an attractive alternative for data analysis and can be found in Hannon and Ruth (1994). Using a
modeling (Hardisty et al., 1993; Cartwright, 1993; graphic-based simulation language, a range of dy-
Klosterman et al., 1993). Sophisticated spread- namic problems can be examined, from pollution
sheet programs offer an array of built-in functions and ecological process to economic modeling.
that greatly enhance computation, database man- A variety of topics may be subject to some form
agement, le import and export, and display. of projection into the future. Typical features of the
Although these systems were designed pri- planning problem subject to projection include
marily for nancial analysis, they have evolved land use, transportation, population, air and
into programming environments and offer sev- water quality, noise levels, and employment. A
eral features that can enhance the use of projec- more comprehensive listing of landscape vari-
tion in planning analysis (Lein, 1997): ables that can be used to form projections is
Relative ease of programming. presented in Table 3.3.
Comparative ease of modication. 4. Prescription. In planning, to prescribe
A transparent design. means to direct the use of land and other resources
A functionality that provides power and as a remedy for specic social, economic, or envi-
exibility. ronmental problems. As a sequence of actions that
A capability to generate an assortment of become realized in the plan, prescription denes
graphics. a multistage process that involves:
The major disadvantages associated with a) Exploring the problem and forming a basic
spreadsheet models are speed and processing understanding of the relevant objectives
capabilities. In general, models written using and values.
spreadsheets tend to be slower and less elegant b) Producing a set of alternative choices.

Table 3.3 Commonly projected variables in plans. this context, are dened not in terms of a single
quality or quantity, such as might be produced
Demographic factors from a formal methodology; but rather on the
Land-use change basis of professional judgment, public opinion, or
Employment a multidimensional political perspective. With
Income characteristics either approach, the goal is the same: to narrow
Transportation ows
Solid waste generation
down the possibilities and identify a workable
Housing factors solution.
Noise conditions
Energy demand
Spatial interaction Plan formulation
Demand factors
Physical/environmental: A plan is designed to fulll three important
Air quality
Water quantity/quality
Groundwater processes 1 To facilitate the process of making policy.
Flood Processes 2 To communicate that policy to all interested
Land Cover Change and affected parties.
Habitat Characteristics 3 To assist in the implementation of policy.
The process of formulating this plan can be divid-
Hydrologic Systems
Food Chain/Food Web Dynamics ed into stages. Each stage produces a particular
Pollutant Fate and Transport type of plan or specic element. The sequence of
stages and the products generated by each sug-
gest a progression from ends to means, as well as
c) Identifying the adverse and benecial from general policy statements to specic pro-
properties of the alternatives. grams (Kaiser et al., 1995). The basic stages that
d) Evaluating alternatives. outline the process of plan formulation are given
e) Recommending the best alternative as in Table 3.4. As illustrated in Table 3.4, the rst
the optimal solution. stage in formulating a plan begins by developing
The solution is generally some form of regulatory a comprehensive understanding of existing and
policy or program that may be expressed as either emerging environmental conditions. Drawn from
an objective that can be maximized or a constraint this initial description are a set of implications that
that can be minimized. Given the reality within identify problems or concerns around which goals
which planning operates, each objective and con- and objectives are created. For instance, in our ear-
straint carries a political weight, whether stated lier example of the mid-western city, lets suppose
explicitly or not, and that weight can inuence that during the description and documentation
how the best alternative is dened. process it was noted that new development in the
Directing the use of land and other resources region has occurred in areas where soils have a
also suggests that prescription is a form of analy- high erosion potential. Since this might be a con-
sis embedded in a decision-making process. Pre- tributing factor to the changes in stream water
scriptive analysis may be highly formalized, or it quality that have also been documented, goals to
may remain an informal procedure. Formal address both the development issue and water-
methods of prescription identify very structured quality changes will be likely components of the
approaches to problem-solving and may involve plan. Stage two of this process extends the goal-
the use of well-understood procedures for simpli- setting and problem formulation stage by adding
fying the process of selecting the optimal alterna- explicit prescriptive studies that: (1) identify the
tive. Informal methods recognize that plans grow present and future demand for land resources; (2)
out of political and professional deliberation, specify areas of critical concern, such as lands to
negotiation, and bargaining. Optimal solutions, in preserve to enhance natural processes, lands to

Table 3.4 Stages in the plan formulation process. tions in the landscape. At this stage of plan formu-
Stage 1: Describing existing and
lation consideration is given to the holistic aspects
Direction-setting emerging conditions and causes of design and the future land-use systems rela-
Setting Goals tionship to critical environmental parameters. By
Formulation of general policies considering the future arrangement of housing,
Stage 2: Land Analyzing basic land demand commercial uses, industrial facilities, parks, open
classication and supply space, and infrastructure with respect to main-
Designating areas for natural taining environmental quality, the plan can be-
come a reasonable blueprint that guides
Designating areas for urban use
Designating areas for agricultural development with a minimum of environmental
production disruption.
Stage 3: Analyzing detailed land
The nal stage of plan formulation considers
Land-use design demand and supply the vexing problem of how this optimal future
Designating locations for arrangement can be achieved. Emphasis during
employment and commercial this stage is given to the design and implementa-
centers tion of programs to institute development regula-
Arranging residential communities
and facilities
tions, capital improvements, and incentives that
Designating locations for local government can employ to direct land use
infrastructure and community and environmental change. A selection of instru-
facilities ments that government may call upon to direct
Stage 4: Development Analyzing implementation factors and manage changes in the land-use system are
management Setting procedural goals provided in Table 3.5. Within the context of the
Specifying components of the plan plan, this stage produces a sequence of recom-
Specifying standards and
mendations that can be adopted and implemen-
ted over the time horizon of the plan.
To illustrate this aspect of the process and its
language, consider the following community goal
protect for agricultural production; and (3) devel- that might be expressed in a hypothetical plan:
opable areas suitable for future use.
Several important tasks are associated with To preserve the natural and manmade re-
this stage of plan formulation. Each of these tasks sources of the planning area, including plant
becomes the subject of systematic analysis and de- and animal habitats, water courses, and his-
nes the core information presented in the plan. toric structures.
These tasks include:
1 Developing locational standards to guide To meet this goal a series of policy statements
land-use allocation. lined to specic programs are offered. One exam-
2 Deriving a geographic expression of suit- ple might include:
ability to guide land-use placement.
3 Determining the amount of land that will be Policy 1: Preserve those natural wildlife habitats
needed to meet anticipated future demand. which support rare and endangered species of
4 Dening carrying-capacity levels given to plants and animals where appropriate.
estimated available land.
5 Exploring alternative location arrangements Making this policy reality requires connecting
and designs for future development activity. it to some type of action-forcing mechanism,
The third stage in this process builds on the such as:
foundation completed in stages one and two.
Here, attention is focused on the optimal geo- Program 1.1: Restrict development to one single
graphic allocation of functions to specic loca- family home on existing lots of record within

Table 3.5 Government tools to implement and To minimize the risks to lives and property due
direct plans. to landslides and other nonseismically in-
Corporate powers directing land acquisition duced geological hazards within the planning
and development area.
Construction of streets, roads, and water and sewage
treatment facilites This goal may be satised in a number of ways.
Acquisition and development of parks
Acquisition of sites for low and moderate income housing
One policy introduced in the plan recommends
Purchase of development rights and scenic easements the following.
Creation of development corporations
Police powers regulatory action Policy 2: Prohibit the construction of any struc-
Specic plans ture intended for human occupancy in any
Zoning: landslide-prone area unless geologic investiga-
open-space zoning tions or project mitigation demonstrate low
environmental-hazard zoning
levels of acceptable risk at the site.
inclusionary zoning
planned unit development zoning
Subdivision regulations Several different programs, including the follow-
Park dedication requirements ing three may implement this policy.
School dedication requirements
Review and regulation of public works
Program 2.1: Require geologic and geotechnical
Housing and building regulation
Code enforcement engineering studies for all new development
Environmental review procedures prior to the issuance of building permits on
Design review slopes greater than 20% and within areas of
Other options high, moderate-to-high, or moderate potential
Redevelopment for landsliding.
Intergovernmental cooperation
Public information Program 2.2: Require developers to include
Data management drainage, erosion, and landslide mitigation
Monitoring measures where necessary to reduce landslide
Cooperative arrangements with private sector potential.
Program 2.3: Minimize earth-moving activity in
areas of moderate to high landslide potential.
nondevelopment portions of designated habi-
tat areas.
The programs identied here direct attention
Program 1.2: Designate the majority of upland to the use of site investigation measures, mitiga-
areas Public Health and Safety districts to tion techniques, and construction practices, along
protect wildlife habitat. with detailed environmental data to reduce the
risks associated with landslides. Using these tools,
In this example the two programs direct the future development will be placed where risks are
use of land in specic ways, and designate land acceptable and damage to property can be kept at
areas that restrict use or limit the use of land in a minimum.
areas where analysis has shown them to have im- Finally, lets examine a land-use goal with an
portant habitat functions. Using these programs environmental focus.
to direct future land use is seen as one way to meet
the goal of preserving habitat within the planning To balance housing development and environ-
area. mental protection.
Next, lets consider the following goal in
our hypothetical plan related to environmental This is an extremely general goal without much in
risk. the way of specics to help frame policy. However,

the idea of balancing development with environ- Facts

mental protection is common. To reach this goal Goals
planners have recommended the following

Policy 3: Preserve and enhance environmental

quality in conjunction with the development of
Fig. 3.2 Underlying plan concepts.

This policy statement is tied directly to the follow-

ing program. lem can be blended together and formulated into a
coordinated statement that details community as-
Program 3.1: Require environmental review pirations and concerns. Articulating these aspira-
of development proposals to determine the tions in the form of a plan demands more that the
signicance of their probable effects. technical expertise of the planner, it requires the
continuous involvement of the public.
Policy 4: Encourage energy and water conser-
vation designs and features in residential
The role of the community
Program 4.1: Consider building orientation,
street layout, lot design, landscaping, and Citizen participation in planning remains a wide-
street tree conguration in subdivision review ly discussed and debated topic (Day, 1997). In gen-
for the purposes of solar access and energy eral, citizen participation in the planning process
conservation. is seen as a positive feature since it provides an
important avenue for the planner to elicit com-
Each of the goal and policy statements presen- munity attitudes and values. It also facilitates the
ted in the examples identies a problem, fact, or creation of a forum for citizens to voice specic
issue that affects the planning area. Once identi- concerns and problems that can become the focal
ed, one or more directives decision-makers can point for the development of planning goals. At
follow to address each problem are presented. the same time as citizen participation seems to
Finally, one or more programs are recommended hold a sacrosanct role in democratic political cul-
for implementation which over time will satisfy ture, the issue of public participation in the plan-
the goal. Above all, these hypothetical goal state- ning process seems problematic (Day, 1997). This
ments serve to further illustrate the point that is partly due to countervailing forces in political
all plans share three essential ingredients: (1) culture that doubt the ability of the general public
facts, (2) goals, and (3) recommendations. (See to constructively contribute to governance
Fig. 3.2.) (Stivers, 1990).
It is important to recognize, however, that These contrasting positions stem from a per-
plans are never permanent, and they are not the ceived tension between two groups: those who
single purpose of planning. As Kaiser et al. (1995) view planning as a rationally organized activity
remind us, plans must be updated periodically that places importance on technical expertise and
to reect changes in conditions and community impartiality; and those advocates of democratic
values, and they must always be related to other social and political systems that contribute
community actions. The goals expressed in a plan noise and contradicting beliefs, needs, and per-
emphasize a vision of the future and a means to at- ceptions which otherwise confuse this rational
tain that vision. Through the interrelated activities process. Consequently, citizen participation and
of search, analysis, synthesis, and selection, the its importance in planning tends to fade in and out
data and opinions that drive the planning prob- of favor. This suggests that in some cases mean-

ingful participation might be conceived as tain, and carry out an effective comprehensive
problematic (George, 1994; Day, 1997). plan. Professional planners and local ofcials
Reconciling these opposing views of the pub- need comments and ideas from those who know
lic-participation issue depends on ones denition the community best: the people who live and
of planning and how the public ts into this work there. Third, citizen involvement educates
process. A more considered view of planning the public about planning and land use. It creates
recognizes that good plans spring from the com- an informed community, which in turn leads to
munity. From this perspective, the planner serves better planning. Fourth, it gives members of the
to facilitate the planning process and lend exper- community a sense of ownership of the plan. It
tise. Several points can be made in favor of this fosters cooperation among citizens and between
ideation (Kelly & Becker, 2000; Levy, 1997). First, it them and their government. That leads to fewer
avoids the elitist view of the planner as technical conicts and less litigation. Finally, citizen in-
professional who remains aloof and detached volvement is an important means of enforcing our
from the problem. While the planner has skills environmental and land-use laws. Having citi-
that a typical member of the public does not zens informed about planning laws and giving
possess, it should not imply that the planner is them access to the planning process ensures that
necessarily wiser (Levy, 1997). Secondly, planning the laws are applied properly.
problems are complex and multifaceted. It is Fostering citizen participation begins rst by
therefore unlikely that the planner or any other in- trying to dene precisely who represents the
dividual or group can have a complete or accurate public. One major issue when encouraging public
understanding of the needs or issues confronting participation stems from the observation that
the community. Only by taking the public into the outcomes of participatory processes do not al-
consideration and tying them into the planning ways reect the aggregate of citizen preferences or
process can their interests be fully represented. interests (Day, 1997). An all-too-familiar reality is
Here, as Levy (1997) notes, a plan formed with the fact that too few people take advantage of their
community input is more likely to be carried out opportunities to participate. As a consequence,
than a plan of equal quality that has been created outreach on the part of the planner is a necessary
only by professionals. Thus, by taking the public step in the formulation of plans and programs if
into the planning process at an early stage, issues the public is to participate in their development.
critical to the public can be represented in the plan, A variety of approaches can be offered to encour-
and people will be better informed regarding its age wider public involvement. These include the
important details. For example, in Athens, Ohio, use of:
efforts have been underway to engage the public advisory panels and committees
as the community reshapes its vision. Public meet- open meetings and forums
ings and forums that allow community groups press releases and media coverage
and individuals to voice their ideas and concerns public surveys and questionnaires
will ensure that the vision formed through plan- citizen and neighborhood groups
ning reects the shared ideas of the community. public presentations and speaking
Also, with community involvement, a level of engagements.
commitment to the plan is produced which only Some combination of these approaches will
enhances the plans long-term viability. Therefore, facilitate dialogue between the planner and the
there are several reasons why citizens should have community. However, no method is perfect, and
the opportunity to participate in planning. The many groups may perceive their needs to be
most important is simply that our system of gov- under-served.
ernment gives citizens the right to have a strong Perhaps the best way to have strong citizen in-
voice in all matters of public policy, including volvement in planning is to have strong planning
planning. A second reason is that only citizens can for citizen involvement. In other words, a success-
provide the information needed to develop, main- ful citizen involvement program must be carefully

designed and managed. Establish objectives. As- a mediator if the planning department and
sign responsibilities. Allocate money and staff. Set citizen advisory committees disagree about
a schedule. Monitor performance. These are basic a land-use issue.
steps to successful management of any program. Giving planners who deal with the public
Yet all too often these steps are forgotten in the case training in customer relations and commu-
of citizen involvement. For some reason, citizen nications.
involvement frequently is not seen as a program Using role-playing and simulation exercises
to be actively managed. Rather, it is treated as a to help planners, planning commissioners,
passive process, one that will somehow happen and other ofcials to understand the needs
automatically if a few notices are mailed and a and wants of citizens and interest groups.
hearing is held. Maintaining a registry of stakeholders, in-
It should be recognized, however, that citizen terest groups, and individuals with exper-
involvement doesnt just happen. The most wide- tise or interests in important land-use topics
spread public participation in planning is found in or areas. Use that registry as a source of con-
those communities where involvement is planned tacts when deciding whom to involve in
and managed carefully and aggressively. Some a particular citizen involvement effort.
techniques communities are using include: Update the list periodically.
Managing citizen involvement in the same Earmarking funding for citizen involvement
way as code administration or long-range in the budget. Goal 1 requires this, and for
planning that is, as a major element of the good reason: it helps make people aware
planning program. that citizen involvement cannot happen
Drawing up a citizen involvement plan for without a commitment of resources.
each major legislative action and for land Developing and maintaining an active net-
use decisions that involve important com- work of neighborhood organizations. Make
munity issues. sure the committees continue to receive in-
Developing a Committee for Citizen In- formation about permit applications, policy
volvement that can: issues, and major projects, such as revisions
advise planners and policy-makers on how to the plan or development codes.
to manage citizen involvement for specic When seeking members for a key commit-
projects, tee, using an open process, such as pub-
periodically evaluate the citizen involve- lished notices, contacting local civic groups,
ment program, and posting announcements.
work with staff to maintain an effective net- When one is confronting environmental prob-
work of citizen advisory committees, lems, citizen participation in political, commu-
act as a mediator to resolve disputes about nity, and neighborhood affairs is critical to the
public participation, creation and maintenance of a strong, vibrant
act as an ombudsman for citizens con- community. A community without regular inter-
cerned about public participation. action among citizens is less a community than a
Stafng the citizen involvement program random collection of people. Without active par-
witha professional coordinator from outside ticipation, it is difcult for a community to agree
the planning department. This arrangement on what problems to address and how to move
has several advantages. It frees planning forward collectively to solve them. This means
staff from citizen involvement duties that that citizens must be engaged in decision-making
might conict with or take second place to processes from the beginning (Kelly & Becker,
other planning tasks, such as code enforce- 2000; Hanna, 1995; Barber, 1981). Two useful in-
ment. It allows for broader community in- struments to foster early involvement include
volvement: citizen concerns are not limited neighborhood meetings (Table 3.6) and public
to land use. And the coordinator can serve as hearings (Table 3.7). To encourage participation,

Table 3.6 Basic guidelines for making a presentation at a and the diverse attitudes and opinions that must
public hearing. be reconciled. To illustrate this point, consider
1 Keep in touch with the planner assigned to the item. the dynamics surrounding a locally unwanted
The planner can notify you of postponement or new land use. The terms NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard)
information. and NOPE (Not On Planet Earth) are very famil-
2 Speak to the issue at hand. If a zone change in a master- iar positions when dealing with controversial,
planned area is being considered, address the merits of the
request and not, for example, whether the master plan
high-risk, or poorly understood environmental
should have been approved initially. problems. Both dene very strong perceptions
3 Give letters, petitions, and other documentation to the that can frustrate the planning process. While they
assigned planner before the hearing. The planner will can prove to be intractable positions, they have
distribute the material to the members of the public body. to be addressed. If not, they only serve to intensify
4 While there is usually no time limit on comments, be brief
and to the point; do not repeat comments made by others.
public mistrust of the planning process and en-
5 If many people are interested or intend to speak on the courage an irreverence for the ofcial version of
item, you may want to select one or more representatives reality that may be offered by the planner (Fischer,
to give the groups position. Anyone wishing to address 1993).
the item, however, may speak. Planners who view their role as technocratic
can inadvertently encourage contrasts in percep-
tion; one can be conferred a special status by her
Table 3.7 Basic guidelines for participation by or his peers after demonstrating a mastery over
neighborhood groups.
a technique or body of knowledge. The attitude
1 Keep in touch with the planner in charge of your which accompanies this ability to calculate un-
geographic area. equivocally correct and precise answers, excludes
2 Provide City Planning with a current contact person and
the public from participation and imposes bar-
phone number.
3 Invite planners to come to your meetings to discuss issues riers based on scientic knowledge and technical
of specic interest. jargon (Van Valey & Petersen, 1987). When oppor-
4 Prepare a map showing the boundaries of your tunities for public participation are provided,
neighborhood group. If it is provided to City Planning, the primary mechanism takes the form of a public
it will assist efforts to notify the group of proposals in
hearing. However, such hearings often confound
the area.
5 Take the time to understand the ordinances and the and discourage participation (Day, 1997). Public
process. hearings are criticized for:
occurring too late in the decision-making
its essential that citizen groups: keep in touch being scheduled at times that are incon-
with the planner in charge of their geographic venient for the public.
area, provide the planning staff with a current establishing an atmosphere that inhibits
contact person and phone number, invite plan- dialogue.
ners to come to meetings to discuss issues of conducting proceedings that intimidate the
specic interest, prepare a map showing the public.
boundaries of the neighborhood group, and take The perceptions created by a technocratic phi-
the time to understand the ordinances and the losophy encourage NIMBY activism and further
process. polarize community interests. The resulting dead-
Of particular concern when working with the lock frustrates the planners ability to achieve
public participation question are those problems consensus on critical issues and contributes to
or issues that are highly controversial, and poorly antiparticipation attitudes (Morris, 1994; Inhaber,
dened. In this case, identifying goals, under- 1998). Therefore, rather than dening NIMBY
standing the problem, and outlining any course of attitudes as an irrational response to problems
action can be made difcult by the complexities ordinary citizens cannot grasp, the simple solu-
and uncertainties surrounding the problem. The tion is to encourage more citizen participation, not
situation can be made worse by public perception less (Fischer, 1993). In fact, Fischer maintains that

planning analysis should be viewed as an evalua- effective policy-making. This technical aspect of
tion of alternative solutions employing criteria planning, focusing on the guidelines to follow
derived consensually. This view suggests a when preparing plans and the procedures that
collaborative approach to plan formulation that carry the process through to completion, have
emphasizes direct contact between those promot- been discussed in excellent detail by Anderson
ing locally unwanted activities and all affected (1995). Technical guidelines typically direct atten-
parties (Dear, 1992). tion to the comprehensive plan. Although this
Accepting the premise that the planners pri- is a reasonable place to begin, the environmental
mary obligation is to serve the public interest, the planning problem is unique. While many aspects
challenge for planning is how to effectively inte- of the environment are discussed in a comprehen-
grate technocratic and democratic contributions sive plan, there are features of the environment
when addressing complex issues. Five guiding that warrant special consideration. These are the
principles have been recommended (DeSario & goals and objectives specic to the environment
Langton, 1987): that can be sufciently different from those sur-
1 that the dangers associated with maximiz- rounding land-use and development issues that
ing expert and citizen contributions without they need to be treated as such.
joint review and interpretation be avoided. The concept of an environmental plan or com-
2 that the unique contributions of experts at prehensive environmental plan is not a new idea
the technical level and of citizens at the nor- (Miller & De Roo, 1997). A comprehensive envi-
mative level of policy-making be encour- ronmental plan is a mechanism communities
aged, but that a later stage of mixed review can use to meet the present responsibilities of en-
be created that involves experts and citizens vironmental protection and the future challenges
in examining issues of impact and trade-offs of enhancing environmental quality. With is ex-
regarding technocratic and democratic clusive focus on the environment, the envir-
considerations. onmental plan becomes an important way for a
3 that the issue of the role and power of citizens community to:
be made explicit at the outset, and appro- 1 Set environmental priorities and establish
priate procedures be developed to reect clear goals and objects targeted toward envi-
power-sharing arrangements. ronmental issues.
4 that adequate information, access to it, 2 Identify environmental resources important
and technical resources be made available to to sustainable development.
citizens. 3 Provide a blueprint for compliance with
5 that government be experimental in select- environmental regulations that affect the
ing, evaluating, and rening the procedures community.
for integrating expert and citizen contribu- 4 Explore alternatives to prevent pollution
tions that are most effective in dealing with and efciently manage environmental
the unique policy issues with which each are resources.
concerned. 5 Develop community support and awareness
With citizens fully engaged in the process, focus to environmental protection needs.
can be directed at developing the environmental 6 Create an environmental infrastructure that
plan. complements community well-being.
The rationale for producing an environmental
plan is essentially a response to the more typical
Developing environmental plans tendency to treat the environment in pieces. Thus,
while we recognize that environmental variables
Formulating plans and developing a format that are interconnected, our general approach to the
compartmentalizes the planning area into specic environment is to x symptoms one at a time (i.e.
themes provides a structure that facilitates inclu- protecting water, protecting air, protecting land).
sion of all the relevant information needed for With the growing recognition that environmental

protection cannot be successfully achieved unless Defining

Developing environmental
the environment is treated as an integrated whole, an needs
the community environmental plan becomes a environmental vision
central instrument for that integration. However,
for an environmental plan to be effective, the envi-
ronmental responsibilities of the community need
to be understood. These responsibilities extend
well beyond the larger environmental issues of
population, resources, and pollution, or the im-
mediate controversies that grow out of landscape
development pressures. The environmental re-
sponsibilities germane to the environmental plan
are those of local concern where local resources
Implementing Identifying
can be committed to their improvement: the feasible
drinking-water quality plan solutions
wastewater management
solid waste management Fig. 3.3 Features of the plan formulation process.
leaking underground storage tanks
hazardous waste management Table 3.8 Questions that characterize place.
emergency response to hazard
Who makes up the population?
groundwater protection
What is unique and important about the planning area
wetlands protection (socially, culturally, historically)?
ood plain zoning What are the strengths and weaknesses of the local
risk assessment and management economy?
pollution control. What are the important characteristics of the natural
With attention given to the local environment,
developing comprehensive environmental plans
shares many similarities with the general proce-
dures outlined previously. The main difference vision takes shape in response to a series of ques-
separating environmental plans from land-use or tions that focus the goal-setting process. Examples
general plans is one of focus. Environmental plans of questions that may be posed during this phase
are directed toward the environmental challenges include:
that face the community. To meet these challenges What features characterize the planning
emphasis is given to ve main phases in crafting area? This simple question addresses sever-
the plan (see Fig. 3.3): al issues related to establishing an under-
1 Developing an environmental vision. standing of place. Examples are given in
2 Dening environmental needs. Table 3.8.
3 Identifying feasible solutions. What are the communitys attitude and val-
4 Implementing the environmental plan. ues relative to the environment, economic
We will explore these plan formulation stages in growth, and lifestyle? Communities have
the sections that follow. different attitudes toward development:
some prize stability and traditional ways
of life, while others consider growth and
Developing an environmental vision
change to be important to community sur-
With attention directed at the local community, vival. In either case, planners need to under-
developing an environmental vision serves as a stand the extent to which qualities such as
framework that assists all parties involved in environmental preservation, growth, and
making choices about environmental goals. This development are valued by the community.

Table 3.9 Targets of change. Table 3.10 Approaches used to dene boundaries.

Target Screening questions Town or village boundaries

Service area boundaries
Natural environment Are there trends in the loss of natural Special districts
resources that should be reversed? County boundaries
What can be done to protect Physical characteristics
resources and prevent pollution?
Land use Is the current mix of land used a
good balance?
Should some areas be used Review the environmental regulations that
differently? affect the planning area.
What trends dene the region? Identify the environmental problems that
Infrastructure What level of service should be threaten environmental quality.
provided? Evaluate the effectiveness of existing
What is the age and capacity level? environmental management facilities and
Will infrastructure accommodate

Demographics What are the important

Bounding the planning area Delineating the plan-
demographic trends?
What level of growth can be ning area concentrates efforts on including
supported? problem areas that have actual or potential
Economic growth How will growth inuence the
public-health and ecological impacts, critical re-
quality of life? source areas that serve the community and require
Is there a need to attract growth? protection and preservation, and facilities used to
What type of growth is desired? protect public-health or environmental qualities.
Community concerns Are there health or risk issues that Boundaries can be dened in several ways. Some
need to be addressed? of the more common methods are outlined in
How does public health compare to Table 3.10.
other regions?

Existing environmental regulations There are nu-

merous state and federal regulations aimed at an
What changes or improvements within the array of environmental factors. These regulations
community are desirable? Here, a range of can inuence and help dene key environmental
possible areas of change may be examined needs. In fact, not only will these regulations
and opinion may be elicited for each. Aselec- help identify environmental issues that must be
tion of those pertinent to environmental incorporated into the plan, but they also dene
planning is provided in Table 3.9. standards and compliance measures that if not ad-
dressed may result in nes and penalties. Table
3.11 describes regulations that can be used to
Dening community needs
address best management practices in the plan.
The answers obtained from the questions relating
to the communitys environmental vision begin Identifying existing environmental problems This
to focus on specic needs. Need, in this context, step in dening need concerns efforts to devise a
explains those features of the environment that listing of any and all environmental problems that
are of greatest concern. Crystallizing an under- represent serious threats to health and ecosystems
standing of need and expressing need as a geo- in the planning area. Possible threats may include
graphic feature of the planning area requires the unsafe drinking water, specic pollutants or pol-
planner to: lution sources, or natural resources that may be
Establish the boundaries of the environmen- affected by pollution. An sample list is shown in
tal planning area. Table 3.12. Critical to compiling this list is the

Table 3.11 US environmental regulations to address What are the effects of different levels of
management practice. exposure?
Drinking water quality Safe Drinking Water Act To what degree is the local population
or ecosystem exposed to the substance or
Wastewater treatment The Clean Water Act of 1977
activity in question?
Wetlands protection Clean Water Act Section 404 Is there presently any evidence of harm to
Food Security Act
Swampbuster Section
human health or ecosystem functioning as
a consequence of exposure?
Nonpoint source pollution National Nonpoint Source
What are the known concentrations of the
Clean Water Act substance in critical receptors?
Solid waste management Resource Conservation and
Recovery Act
Effectiveness of existing facilities An important
step in identifying need involves the critical eval-
Hazardous waste Resource Conservation and
uation of the communitys environmental facili-
management Recovery Act
ties. Here, consideration is given to facilities such
Emergency response to Emergency Planning and as landlls, incinerators, transfer stations, recycl-
hazardous substances Community Right to
Know Act (SARA Title III)
ing centers, water treatment plants, wells, waste-
water collection and treatment centers, as well as
Asbestos-containing Asbestos Hazard Emergency
buffer zones, wet ponds, and swales for runoff
materials Response Act
management. The purpose of this review is to
Radon gas Indoor Radon Abatement Act determine whether a facility is performing effec-
Air pollution Clean Air Act tively and is capable of meeting present and future
demand. Inadequate performance may indicate that
operations may be functioning beyond carrying
Table 3.12 Environmental problems checklist.
capacity and require modication. Therefore, eva-
Air quality luating facility performance helps to (1) identify
Asbestos in buildings potential risks and (2) determine whether the com-
Chemical hazards/releases/spills
Drinking-water quality
munity is in compliance with local, state, or federal
Ecosystem/habitat quality regulations. Aseries of screening questions to help
Flood hazard review facility adequacy is given in Table 3.13.
Hazardous waste sites Following the careful denition of community
Nonpoint pollution need and after the environmental vision of the
community has been rened, attention can shift to
Solid waste the consideration of possible solutions and strate-
Surface water gies for enhancing environmental quality. The list
Underground storage tanks of possible solutions and their integration into the
Wellhead/watershed protection comprehensive environmental plan is examined
in the sections to follow.

planners ability to assess the level of risk each

Identifying environmental solutions
item may represent in relation to environmental
quality. A series of screening questions can be There are a variety of options for achieving envi-
used to help dene risk and highlight problems ronmental goals. To determine which if any are
that may require more detailed investigation. suitable to the given problem, information is
Examples may include: needed in order to ascertain
What harmful effects can the substance or What each solution can achieve.
activity cause to human health or ecosystem What factors limit a solutions effectiveness.
functioning? What the costs associated with the solution
Are these effects permanent or reversible? are.

Table 3.13 Facility effectiveness screening questions. Table 3.14 Planning solutions to common environmental
Design concerns
Is the plant design adequate for the existing demand? Environmental concern Solution alternative
Will it accommodate future demand?
Does the facility meet requirements of current Drinking-water quality Protecting the source
regulations? Improving treatment
Are maintenance problems increasing? technologies
Point of use/point of entry
Management concerns xes
Is management clear about the systems goals?
Have managers evaluated present and future levels of Drinking-water quantity Conservation
service? Leak detection
Is the facility adequately staffed? Identifying new supply sources
Does the staff understand their responsibilities? Wastewater treatment Use of onsite systems
Are the revenues generated sufcient to meet current Cluster systems
service demands? Centralized systems
Are funds being set aside for improvements and
expansions? Solid waste Source reduction, recycling,
Operational concerns
Are facilities operating at or near capacity? Hazardous waste Household hazardous waste
Can the facility adjust to changes in input type and collection programs
quantity? Nonpoint pollution Identifying sources
Are mechanisms that control processes in good operation? Developing management
Have potential hazards been identied? strategies
Have operating procedures been updated? Educating the community
Are good records kept?

How the solution can be implemented. advanced technical skills beyond that which can
Whether the solution will affect of con- be accessed in the community, or because they are
tribute to other environmental problems. too complicated to be administered successfully.
Whether the solution will foreclose on future After a list of possible options has been reduced
options. to a more feasible set, the planner must review
With preliminary answers to these questions, a list each and clarify precisely what each solution will
of generic options for key environmental issues achieve. During this review and evaluation, sev-
confronting the planning area can be created. eral of the remaining solutions may be rejected.
Options can be eliminated based on their degree The strategy to remain focused on is to never re-
of feasibility, but no reasonable option is omitted move a potential solution without an assessment
from consideration. For example, options may be of its performance capabilities. In many situations
eliminated that will not work because of situations it may be necessary to employ a combination of
specic to the planning area. These may include: solutions, and frequently different solutions
1 population/demographic characteristics can complement one another and net an overall
2 distance constraints greater benet. Alist of generic solutions arranged
3 local hydrography/topography by environmental issue is present in Table 3.14.
4 soil and geologic conditions
5 environmental chemistry.
Prioritizing objectives
Options may also be eliminated due to cost
considerations. Cost may be dened simply as a One of the more critical steps in developing a com-
matter of economic factors, although other ex- prehensive environmental plan involves the task
pressions of cost should be examined (i.e. social of targeting the most important problems that it
costs, ecological costs, health-related costs). Final- should address. While this sounds comparatively
ly, options may be eliminated because they require straightforward, setting priorities requires a will-

ingness to trade-off development objectives such

as attracting businesses into the community or Review goals
promoting tourism for those related to environ- recommendations
mental quality. A simple means of establishing
a ranking of objectives places each problem into Identify additional
a subjective categorization based on relative procedures
risk: Review
1 Urgent identifying those environmental
problems that present the highest risk to
human health.
2 Necessary dening problems with lower
levels of risk and where regulatory viola- Select procedures
tions exist. deemed effective
3 Desirable describing problems that pre- Evaluate advatages
sent no regulatory concern and exhibit low and disadvantages
levels of long-term risk. Eliminate
Once the major objectives have been selected and unsatisfactory
priorities established, the plan can be formalized
into a detailed statement of the communitys envi-
ronmental vision. The planning process can now
shift focus to consider the issue of implementa-
tion. Implementation is the mechanism whereby Assess remaining
the plan can be put into action, its performance for effectivenes
evaluated, and its focus revised as conditions and Select
needs change. most
appropriate Develop a

Plan implementation

The most carefully crafted plan may never achieve Fig. 3.4 Guidelines for plan implementation.
its designed effect simply because it lacked a strat-
egy for implementation. For example, a plan for those with satisfactory procedures
a highway bypass to reduce trafc congestion already in place that can guide imple-
through a town generally requires selecting a mentation.
route, purchasing right of way, conducting envi- those which cannot be implemented
ronmental reviews, designing the highway, plan- presently due to their general nature.
ning for construction, and acquiring funding. To those which should not be implemented
implement this plan requires a strategy to ensure at present due to legislative, economic,
that everything takes place in the sequence neces- political, or technical constraints.
sary to produce success. In this sense implementa- those which will require new or revised
tion explains a set of procedures that can be used implementation procedures.
to put our environmental plan into practice. A 2 Identify possible additional plan-
general outline detailing one possible strategy implementing procedures that can be rea-
to guide implementation has been offered by sonably entertained.
Anderson (1995). This procedure consists of ten 3 Conduct a preliminary review of the proce-
steps (see Fig. 3.4): dures identied.
1 Review the goals, policies, and recom- 4 Select procedures that will produce desired
mended actions in the plan to identify: and effective results.

5 Evaluate the potential procedures, solicit-

ing comments on their relative advantages
and disadvantages.
6 Eliminate procedures that are considered
ineffective, politically unacceptable, too
complex, or too costly to institute and
7 Prepare an analysis of the remaining proce-
dures to ascertain:
what the objectives of the program are.
how effective the program will be.
what the administrative requirements
who would be adversely affected by the
what the probable benets of the pro-
gram are.
what legal steps are required to enact and
administer the program.
8 Review the ndings from Step 7.
9 Select those procedures that appear to be
the most appropriate.
10 Develop a timetable for the introduction,
adoption, and administration of the se-
lected procedures.
Fig. 3.5 Tools for plan implementation.
Because long-range environmental plans are
general and in some instances purposely non- investment, or (2) public-control land utilization.
specic, not all plan implementation programs From either of these two directions, several types
are suitable for use without some modication. A of plan implementation programs can be devel-
generalized set of instructions for implementing oped (Fig. 3.5). Examples may include
long-range comprehensive environmental plans Construction of physical facilities
would give emphasis to (after Anderson, 1995): Provision of services
Selecting and using those plan- Regulation of land use and development
implementing measures that are clearly Project review
suitable to chart a course of change over a Fiscal policies.
20-year period. Programs, such as zoning ordinances and sub-
Preparing short-range programs that are division regulations, are the traditional tools of
specic enough to guide change using the planner; however, a wider mix of programs is
5-year increments. more typical. Examples of these broader strategies
Implementing short-range programs using can include public land acquisition programs,
procedures suitable for the immediate housing and development programs, redevelop-
future. ment, capital improvement programs, and the use
of transferable development rights. For instance,
when the plan to implement the Mid-Peninsula
Implementation methods and measures
Regional Open Space District was undertaken in
There are two broad categories of action that can California, a public land acquisition program was
be taken to implement programs and policies ex- one strategy used to realize the goal of providing
pressed in a plan (Levy, 1997): (1) public capital access to open space. Several of the more com-

Table 3.15 Land-use factors subject to zoning. dards that must be adhered to, and identify the im-
Type of land use
provements that must be installed such as streets
Activities permitted on private properties per land-use type and utilities. The ordinance will also regulate
Minimum lot size the manner by which parcels of land may be con-
The physical placement and spacing of structures verted into building lots, and stipulate which
Maximum percent of lot covered by structure improvements must be made before building lots
Maximum building height
Amount and design of offstreet parking
can be sold or building permits granted. Ideally,
Design of structures and sites subdivision regulations are designed to meet sev-
Minimum/maximum oor area eral purposes, and while most are targeted toward
Permitted noise levels residential development, many of the same con-
Design review cepts and controls can be used to govern commer-
cial and industrial subdivisions as well.
Growth management programs describe pro-
monly used implementation tools are described grams prepared, adopted and administered by
below. A more detailed treatment of these meth- local government that are designed to regulate:
ods can be found in Kelly and Becker (2000), Levy (1) the amount of urban growth, (2) the rate of
(1997), and Anderson (1995). urban growth, (3) the type of growth, and (4) the
location and quality of growth. Perhaps the most
1 Public regulatory/land-use controls Zoning de- well known growth management program was
nes the delineation of the planning area into dis- that used by the city of Petaluma, California, near-
tricts and the establishment of regulations within ly three decades ago. Such programs are intended
these districts to control the type, density, spacing, to discourage or severely constrain unwanted
and placement of permitted land uses. Zoning urban development, particularly in situations
ordinances typically include provisions that where growth would:
regulate site layout, structural characteristics or 1 Change the characteristics of the community.
buildings, and procedural actions pertaining to 2 Be detrimental to the economic base of the
compliance and zoning appeals. A general listing planning area.
of the land-use factors subject to zoning control is 3 Generate loads that would strain or exceed
provided in Table 3.15. As a form of control, zon- carrying capacities.
ing is an attempt to avoid disruptive land-use pat- 4 Produce adverse secondary environmental
terns and prevent the location of activities within impacts.
districts that may generate external effects that Design review describes procedures developed
may be detrimental to existing or future land uses. to facilitate the review of proposed building de-
The concept of zoning can be extended to include signs and regulate the site and structural charac-
the regulation of uses that may impose signicant teristics. In most cases, review focuses on the
environmental risks or describe conditions that physical design of individual structures, historic
are environmentally incompatible. districts, ofce parks, and industrial sites for indi-
Subdivision regulations dene any ordinance vidual buildings or groups of buildings.
adopted or administered by local government Impact assessment reports explain a set of proce-
which regulates the division of land into two or dures followed to analyze and disclose the poten-
more lots, tracts, or parcels for the purpose of tial effects of a proposed action or project on the
sale, lease, or development. Subdivision regula- local environmental system. Impact reports may
tions give communities power to ensure that new concern purely environmental consequences or
residential development meets community stan- they may be broadened to include social, econ-
dards and complements the goals and objectives omic, and scal impacts of the action as well. In
of the comprehensive plan. A subdivision ordi- each case the purpose of assessment is to identify
nance will specify the administrative procedures the potential short-term impacts of a proposed
to be followed in the division of land, design stan- project so that an informed decision concerning

the adverse and benecial effects of an action can Housing programs are created to provide hous-
be made. The assessment procedure followed is ing for residents within the planning area by im-
intended to: (1) identify all relevant adverse and plementing policies, strategies, and proposals
benecial effects, (2) identify mitigation measures that encourage (1) occupancy by the type of occu-
that would reduce adverse effects, and (3) identify pant, (2) occupancy by the income of occupant, (3)
alternatives to the proposed action (Canter, 1996). need-appropriate housing types, (4) home owner-
ship, and (5) alternate patterns of location.
2 Public capital investment programs It may be Transferable development rights dene the trans-
argued that accessibility is the main determinant fer by sale or barter of some or all of the right to de-
of the development potential and value of land velop a parcel of land located in one district to a
(Levy, 1997). The nature of accessibility to the parcel of land located somewhere else in the plan-
landscape and the value of land are heavily inu- ning area. The concept of transferring rights to de-
enced and shaped by public investment in critical velopment has been used to allow the sale of (1)
infrastructure. Public investment in infrastruc- air rights over historic areas and buildings as a
ture may take many forms, but most typically the preservation measure and, (2) development rights
term applies to government provision of roads, in rural areas where development is unwanted.
parking facilities, sewer and water lines, and
related facilities. Indeed, one of the more useful
means a community has to direct its growth is by Plan evaluation
investment (or unwillingness to invest) in road
construction, sewer lines, and water hook-ups. Do plans work? This and a series of interesting
Public investment programs can include a variety questions have been raised by Talen (1996) on the
of instruments used by government to extend or topic of plan evaluation. Since the success of plan-
withhold infrastructure improvements within the making can be determined only at some future
planning area. Examples include the following. point in time, the question as to how planners
Public construction projects are sponsored by a evaluate whether or not the plans they create are
public agency and designed to create or improve actually implemented or whether their plans ever
roads, transit systems, public buildings, or water achieve their desired objectives is anything but
and sewage systems. trivial. Evaluation in planning, however, is com-
Public land acquisition programs explain the plex, and embodies a variety of instruments and
purchase of land in fee simple or the purchase of methodologies (Talen, 1996). To help distinguish
limited rights to land in order to: (1) make a site between the evaluation of plans and other types of
available for full public access and use, or (2) ac- evaluation undertaken in planning, we can sepa-
quire limited rights to property such as water rate the concept into four main categories (Talen,
rights for lands draining into a reservoir, develop- 1996):
ment rights for open space districts, or air rights 1 Evaluation prior to plan implementation.
for land adjacent to airports. 2 Evaluation of planning practice.
Economic development programs dene activ- 3 Policy implementation analysis.
ities intended to generate wealth by mobilizing 4 Evalution of the implementation of plans.
human, physical, natural, or other capital re- According to this outline, category 4 denes
sources to produce marketable goods and ser- those procedures and instruments that focus on
vices. Such programs attempt to foster economic the question of implementation. Here, evaluating
growth, provide employment opportunities, and how well the plan is working can follow either of
develop a strong tax base through the creation of two paths:
mechanisms to (1) retain existing businesses and
a) Qualititative approaches these methods and
industries, (2) attract businesses, (3) nurture small
instruments employ evaluative mechanisms that
businesses, and (4) develop facilities that capture
are subjective and selective in nature. An example

might be the annual review of building permits to ment of issues of multicausality, and illuminate
see how well the permit process agrees with provi- expected outputs. Above all, since plans are for-
sions in the plan to encourage more multifamily mulated with the intent of being implemented, an
housing. By looking at the pattern a judgment can evaluative component must be part of the plan-
be made as to whether the community is reaching ning process to provide feedback as to how well
this goal. Using this approach, evaluative criteria the process is working. The key to integrating a
can be compared against objective indicators of dynamic evaluation component into the plan rests
success, such as levels of economic well-being or on the planners ability to (1) incorporate evalua-
related ideas. tive methods explicitly, and (2) provide a means to
measure the achievement of each goal as an inte-
b) Quantitative approaches are methods that
gral part of the plan. As Talen (1996) maintains,
rely on empirical investigations and quantitative
once planners know what elements of plans are
support to determine the success of a plan. Exam-
successfully implemented and what elements are
ples of this approach may include the systematic
not, they can move quickly to the next tier of eval-
sampling of key water quality indicators down-
uation. This aspect of evaluation directs efforts to-
stream from the municipal sewage treatment
ward the identication of the underlying factors
facility to see if investments made in new water-
associated with successful plan implementation
treatment technology have led to improved water
and where things went wrong. Systematic failure
quality. Two general approaches have been found
to meet the goals expressed in a plan may indicate
to be useful in this regard: (1) the use of map over-
that the community is pursuing the wrong goals
lays to quantify the level of agreement between
(Talen, 1996).
the actual form of development and what may
have been suggested in the plan, and (2) the use
of inventories to document measurable relation- Summary
ships between attributes used to characterize as-
pects of the planning area (Alterman & Hill, 1978; Planning becomes embodied in a plan. The nature
Calkins, 1979). Additional approaches to quanti- of that plan was described in this chapter. Speci-
tative plan evaluation have been presented by cally, the plan, dening the goals, objectives, and
Bryson (1990), and Kartez and Lindell (1987). policy recommendations of the planning area,
Most of these methods use regression-based ap- was examined as both a physical document with
proaches to establish the degree of t or correla- clearly identied elements that frame community
tion between actual outcomes and those specied aspirations, and as a program for the future that
in the plan. In the method described by Bryson describes a future state of the region and how its
(1990), success of outcome is subjectively scaled, arrangement will take form. In either regard,
as are the explanatory variables used to evaluate plans contain information. The type of informa-
implementation. Using these scores, the results of tion required and how this information is pre-
the regression model present the relationship be- sented was reviewed. However, a plan will never
tween goal achievement and (1) successful prob- achieve its goals unless it can be implemented. In
lem identication, (2) conict resolution, and (3) this chapter the basic mechanisms available to
impact on resource allocation. implement plans were examined and the larger
question of evaluating the success of a plan was
The methods reviewed above suggest that for discussed.
evaluation to be successful, evaluative criteria
must be carefully selected and dened. Useful
evaluative criteria are those attributes of the plan- Focusing questions
ning area or problems that can support the detec-
tion and measurement of change, provide a means How might the time horizon established for a
to dene success, facilitate the analysis and treat- plan inuence its success?

Describe the intellectual tools needed to draft Explain three important functions a plan is
and produce a working plan. designed to fulll.
Discuss the role of citizen participation in the Discuss the use of projection and forecasting
plan-making process. tools in plan design and analysis.
Integrated Environmental Planning
James K. Lein
Copyright 2003 by Blackwell Publishing

Natural Factors in
Environmental Planning

Environmental planning has been explained as sensitivity to the physical processes and patterns
a systematic attempt to integrate environmental that shape the environmental system. Therefore,
and earth science information into the land-use assessing natural systems and dening their role
and land development process. With this informa- in critical environmental processes is a central ac-
tion in hand, the environmental planner strives tivity for the environmental planner. Assessment
to reduce the adverse effects of human-induced begins with a search for information. Specically,
landscape change on both the social and environ- when natural factors are examined, the planner
mental systems characterizing the planning area. seeks and uses this information to help answer
The principal goal of this approach to planning is fundamental question regarding how the envi-
to identify alternatives that maximize human and ronment inuences the resource potential of land
environmental benets while minimizing the en- and the appropriate direction change can take
tropic inuences of land development programs. without adversely affecting the landscape. With
The distinguishing characteristic of the envi- respect to information search and assessment, for
ronmental planning approach is its focus on each variable that has been selected to character-
the utilization of environmental information to ize the environmental system, the planner would
guide decision-making concerning land devel- like to know whether a given environmental fac-
opment and regional growth and change. In this tor is relevant to the problem, what it explains,
chapter we will examine the type of environmen- what inuence it exerts on environmental and
tal information critical to the environmental plan- development processes, what specic informa-
ning approach, and review the essential natural tion is needed to form a complete understanding
factors that guide environmental planning and of its signicance, and how it is dened within the
decision-making. landscape system. Answers to these basic ques-
tions help to rene the salient features of the land-
scape and also identify the critical knowledge
The relevance of environmental needed to effectively guide environmental plan-
information ning. In addition, the natural factors selected for
review aid planning by dening important earth-
Environmental information speaks to the myriad science controls that help to shape a more harmo-
factors that dene the physical landscape and nious balance between human motivations and
impart an inuence on the planning process. natural form. As Legget (1973) reminds us, when
Integrating environmental information into this planning starts, the area to be developed is not the
process, however, requires an understanding and equivalent of a piece of blank paper ready for the

free materialization of the ideas of the designer, Table 4.1 Landscape-shaping forces.
but rather is an environment that has been ex- Wave action
posed for a very long period to the effects of many Wind action
natural modifying factors. Development of new Glacial Action
communities or the charting of regional growth Runoff:
must take into account the fundamental organic overland ow
stream ow
and dynamic character of nature so that human soil moisture
progress may t as harmoniously as possible into groundwater
this setting.

into a river as sediment, the balance of the natural

The role of natural factors system can be impacted. Therefore, for effective
in planning environmental planning, the planner must under-
stand the fundamental characteristics of the land-
Within the mosaic of the landscape, a natural fac- scape and learn how the land functions, changes,
tor may be thought of as a physical property of the and interacts with the life it supports. This point
environmental system that connects in some way has been eloquently stated by Marsh (1997).
to a structural attribute of the systems that dene The landscape on which we plan is dynamic.
human and social processes. This may be as sim- Its form and features are constantly subject to
ple as an expansive soil type affecting the integrity change. As a process, change is driven by system
of a homes foundation, or may be more complex, events such as precipitation, soil formation,
such as a regional climate that induces upper-level stream ow, and land use. These actors shape the
thermal inversions that degrade ground-level air landscape and direct the planner to not simply re-
qualities. Another way to explain these physical spond to patterns and features in a static setting,
and biological factors is to view them as natural re- but to consider the processes and the dynamics
sources that evidence the basic ecological premise of change that they reveal. Through observing
that everything is connected to everything else. the landscape, insight is gained regarding the
Regardless of how they are conceptualized, natur- processes that presently operate there (Marsh,
al factors dene controlling variables whose form 1997). Changes in these processes alter the func-
and consequence direct the balance between land- tional character of the environmental system, and
use activities, facilities, and the environment. become recognizable to us as observable changes
Admittedly the environment is difcult to charac- in landform, climate, soil, hydrology, vegetation.
terize succinctly simply because of its many den- One of the critical tasks of the environmental
ing attributes and the complex interrelationships planner, therefore, is to determine the formative
that exist among them. While changes in the at- processes that act on the landscape and what these
tributes that dene the environment and their processes mean with respect to present and future
interrelationships describe a new state of the use. A listing of these is given in Table 4.1. Because
landscape system, there is always an element of these processes vary both geographically and
uncertainty surrounding the precise implications over time, they produce terrain features that are
of this new state and its relationship to basic subjected to differential forces that sculpt, weath-
human needs and expectations, and what change er, and shape the landform. This is our blank
may mean to the future use of the landscape. sheet of paper, a page where the margins have
Therefore, within the interwoven fabric of time, been preset by natural forces that continue to act
scale, and spatial variability, select characteristics on landscape.
of the environment serve as indicators and regula- The patterns which evidence the relationship
tors of forces set into motion by human actions. between natural factors and landscape evolution
From the simple clearing of trees to provide for are held in a dynamic equilibrium as the stress of
housing to the accelerated erosion that is washed various driving forces applied to the landscape

converges against the inherent resisting forces main heading. This outline, or inventory, looks
that strive to maintain balance. For most natural like this:
landscape a state of balance exists between the 1 Physical environment
driving forces of water, wind, and human activ- a) Geology
ity and the resisting forces that dene the land- 1) surface and subsurface characteristics
scapesinternalstability(Marsh, 1997). Only when 2) geomorphic controls
there is an event powerful enough to exceed the b) Topography
strength of the resisting force will the landscapes 1) slope form
balance be upset. In the majority of instances, 2) slope composition
landscapes are resistant to all but the most ex- 3) slope stability
treme events. There are exceptions to this general c) Soils
rule, particularly where balance is conditional on 1) soil type composition and texture
a specic feature of the environment. Therefore, 2) soil properties
recognizing conditional factors present in the 3) geotechnical characteristics
landscape is critical to effective environmental d) Hydrology
planning: these factors induce change. Guiding 1) surface-water characteristics
land development in a manner that will not trig- 2) watershed drainage patterns
ger or compromise the status of these controlling 3) groundwater systems
variables is essential. Ignoring them will lead to a 4) fool plain characteristics
series of potentially adverse consequences that e) Climate
can be traced directly back to the changes intro- 1) regional and synoptic patterns
duced by land development practices (Marsh, 2) microclimates
1997). Therefore, identifying the important natur- 3) extreme events
al factors that inuence land potential and know- f) Hazards
ing why they are relevant is an integral part of any 1) earthquakes
plan targeted at achieving sustainable develop- 2) landslides
ment, and an essential ingredient of the planners 3) subsidence
professional knowledge. 4) drought
A comprehensive discussion of the problem of 2 Biological environment
environmental denition and description can be a) Terrestrial ecosystems
found in Canter (1996). Although this discussion 1) natural vegetation
is directed more toward the issues surrounding 2) natural fauna
the environmental impact assessment process, the 3) community functions
basic what we need to know knowledge out- 4) ecological functions
lined is common to the environmental planning 5) biological resources
problem as well. In general, the natural factors se- 6) sensitive habitats
lected to form a baseline against which planning 7) endangered species
and change can be evaluated must serve three b) Environmentally sensitive areas
related functions: 3 Human environment
1 They must aptly characterize the a) Demographic patterns
environment. b) Land use
2 They must contain sufcient information to c) Physical infrastructure
guide planning. 1) housing
3 They must be pertinent to the goals that 2) education
motivate environmental planning. 3) public services
The critical natural factors that must be under- 4) transportation
stood and applied in the environmental planning 5) recreation
process may be placed into three general cate- 6) utility systems
gories with specic attributes listed under each d) Cultural resources

Fig. 4.1 The landscape/layer cake model.

Taken together, the elements listed above dene potential of land. From this perspective assess-
the landscape and can be conceptualized as series ments are performed primarily to:
of themes or layers that relate and interact over Increase the efciency of human
time and space. When assembled into a composite investments.
view, these layers, as illustrated in Fig. 4.1, help to Minimize hazards to life and property.
dene the morphology of the surface and describe Protect water quality.
its form and functional characteristics. Through Minimize soil erosion.
assessment these functional qualities become Protect important aquifers and recharge
known, and supply the foundation information areas.
from which plans are made. Preserve open space.
Protect sensitive and unique natural
Assessing the physical Identify potential development conicts.
environment Because extensive knowledge of a site is
essential before any proposed change can be en-
Assessment of the physical environment is con- tertained, assessment must emphasize the inte-
ducted with several goals in mind. Perhaps the gration of natural factors into a denition of the
most important of these relate to the planners total landscape. This holistic view enhances the
need to understand how the physical environ- identication of physical components and their
ment exerts a controlling inuence on the resource interrelationships (Baldwin, 1985). While a de-

tailed discussion of this topic is beyond the scope dated or unconsolidated material composed of
of this chapter, the major considerations that de- one or more minerals. However, this denition
mand careful review can be examined, and the also includes materials with physical properties
dominant control mechanisms, introduced by a that an engineer might consider to be soil. There-
selection of physical processes germane to the fore, engineering denitions of rock characterize
environmental planning approach, can be exam- it as a hard, compact, naturally occurring aggre-
ined. From this general overview, the information gate of minerals. In general the engineering prop-
needed to produce workable plans and to guide erties of rocks are uniquely related to rock type
site-specic analysis can be better understood. We (Johnson & DeGraff, 1988). This observation is
can begin our evaluation from the ground up, particularly true when specimens are unbroken
starting with the geologic environment. and intact. For this reason the name of the rock
should provide information useful for engineer-
ing applications. For instance, in the example of
Geologic controls most igneous and metamorphic rocks, minera-
logy, texture, crystal size and structure are implicit
Geologic information provides the basis for un- in the name, as are the prevailing conditions at the
derstanding the physical processes that shape the time of the rocks origin. Not surprisingly, classi-
planning area. From bedrock properties which cation schemes for these rock groups are based
form the fundamental denition of stability, to the logically on these variables. Sedimentary rocks,
landform building processes and the active agents however, require more careful interpretation. The
of weathering, geology describes the stage on complex interaction of sedimentary environment,
which development takes place. In the same con- parent material, the detrital and/or soluble prod-
text, the geologic environment also explains a ucts of weathering, transporting mechanisms,
set of properties that conspire to (1) constrain the lithication, and postdepositional changes pre-
scale and intensity of development proposals, (2) clude simple classication (Johnson & DeGraff,
introduce hazard, and (3) produce limitations that 1988). This fact carries important implications
restrict the feasibility of committing land to par- when one is estimating engineering properties
ticular types of uses. For example, knowledge of based on the names and descriptions of sedimen-
rock types and the environments in which they tary rock types.
have formed, as well as their responses to weath-
ering, erosion, and tectonic activities, becomes
Properties of igneous rock
critical to the task estimating site conditions (John-
son & DeGraff, 1988). If the underlying bedrock is Igneous rocks have silicate mineral compositions
unstable, should the addition of water increase its and interlocking textures (Johnson & DeGraff,
weathering, then certain land uses may not be 1988). Engineering classication of these rock
suited to that location. Thus, knowledge of the re- types is based primarily on composition of crystal
gional geologic history of the planning area is of size. For comparatively recent igneous rock,
great value, since this information broadens inter- mineralogy and texture combine to produce
pretation of an area and the relationships that exist high strength and excellent elastic deformation
between features such as rock type, their physical characteristics. Thus, crystal size inversely affects
properties, their structure and geographic dis- strength. The emplacement mode of intrusive ig-
tribution, and how these factors inuence the neous rocks also has engineering signicance, as
appropriateness of a given development plan. does the origin of igneous extrusives. Knowing
the boundary limit and rock type provides infor-
mation on a variety of physical properties that
Rock type
may affect construction activities and slope stabil-
Rock may be dened in one of two principal ways. ity, as well as the use of certain rocks as construc-
Geologically, rock is a naturally occurring consoli- tion material.

Therefore, the engineering characteristics of the

Sedimentary rocks
underlying rock will inuence where specic
Sedimentary rocks present the greatest challenges structures are placed, how they are designed, and
to planners and engineers. Because sedimentary the methods used to build and maintain them.
rocks are the products of numerous marine, fresh- Any project involving the addition of great weight
water, and terrestrial environments, they exhibit a on the surface requires a detailed understanding
wide range of physical properties, lateral extents, of how rock will react under a variety of condi-
and thicknesses. In general, attempts to classify tions. The planner must therefore obtain answers
sedimentary rock are complicated by the fact that to several very basic questions pertaining to how
grain size separates the rocks composed of detrital the rocks involved will react when they are wet or
material, while composition separates rocks of dry, when they freeze and then thaw, when the dip
chemical and organic origin. An important char- of the rock is at, gentle, or steep, or when they
acteristic of all sedimentary rocks is stratication. are subjected to earthquakes or large-scale subsi-
Primary sedimentary structures such as bedding dence. Since certain characteristics of rocks
surfaces and cross bedding create discontinuities govern their stability, factors such as mineral
in addition to those formed by secondary struc- composition, degree of weathering, the structure
tures such as joints and faults. Primary and sec- of the rock mass, the porosity and permeability of
ondary structures reduce rock-mass strength and the rock, the depth to bedrock, and the depth to
may contribute to slope instability (Johnson & aquifer must be known. Each of these factors
DeGraff, 1988). The physical properties of sand- greatly inuences the ease of excavation, founda-
stone, shale, and limestone are also inuenced by tion support, and other critical construction prop-
differences in compaction, composition, grain erties that will determine whether a building
size range, texture, and the nature and amount design, type, or placement is appropriate for a
of cementing material. Vertical and horizontal given site.
gradation into other sedimentary rock types may
also be expected.
Weathering processes
Weathering denes a series of physical and chem-
Metamorphic rocks
ical processes that are responsible for producing
Metamorphism causes textural, structural, and sediments that may lithify into sedimentary rocks
mineralogical changes in the original rock, modi- or occur as engineering soils. When one is consid-
fying its physical properties (Johnson & DeGraff, ering the appropriateness for a given develop-
1988). These modication may improve some en- ment plan, perhaps the most important factor is
gineering properties, while others may contribute the role weathering plays in altering the engineer-
to reductions in strength, slope stability, and abra- ing properties of rock and rock masses. As an
sion resistance. Metamorphic rocks are classied active process, weathering will inuence all rock
primarily on the presence or absence of foliation. types, depending on their resistance, the type of
The signicance of this attribute of metamorphic weathering process involved, the environment to
rock is that foliation degrades a rocks engineering which the rock is subjected, the local climate, and
properties. time. Weathering processes can be either physical
or chemical.
Physical weathering describes the mechanical
Planning signicance
breakdown of rock as the result of thermal expan-
The key to using geologic information effectively sion and contraction, unloading, hydration, and
depends on the planners ability to see where swelling. The most signicant product of physical
this information ts. The previous discussion of weathering are talus slopes and rock falls that
rock and rock types is important simply because originate from frost wedging and gravity move-
most construction takes place on or into rock. ment of jointed rock masses. These features con-

tribute to construction and maintenance problems ing processes to create characteristic forms such
and identify hazards to structures and facilities as valleys, ridges, fans, moraines, dunes, and so
placed in proximity to locations where such forth. The principal agents responsible for these
processes are active. unique forms are water, ice, wind, and mass wast-
Chemical weathering explains the decomposi- ing. Thus, insight regarding the geologic structure
tion of rock by chemical reactions that alter its of the surface can be gained through the careful ex-
composition. Chemical weathering processes amination of landforms and the drainage patterns
include oxidation, solution, and hydrolysis. Of over them. For the planner, a set of questions can
these agents, solution and hydrolysis are perhaps be posed with respect to the geomorphology of the
the most signicant to the planner and engineer planning area that help improve knowledge of
(Johnson & DeGraff, 1988). These forms of chemi- form and process and clarify their planning impli-
cal weathering contribute to the weakening of cations (after Cooke & Doorkamp, 1990):
rock and its gradual disintegration. Where active, Which forces dene the present geomorphic
these processes can produce massive failures at situation, and underscore its present-day
the surface, leading to the formation of sinkholes problems, hazards, and resources?
where underground support has given way. For What is the nature and rate of geomorphic
example, the widening of joints in limestone and change at present, and how stable is this
the development of caves are good examples of landscape?
how solution alters subsurface properties. What will happen to geomorphic processes
if the area is developed?
We can examine a sample of geomorphic agents to
Geomorphic controls help shed light on these questions.

Geomorphology can be dened as the study of

The role of drainage
landforms. To the planner or engineer, the origin
and nature of the landform is a key indicator of the One of the more useful indicators of surface and
processes that actively shape the land surface. subsurface characteristics under similar condi-
These processes also provide important clues as to tions of climate is drainage density and pattern.
how the present land surface was formed and For example, when viewed from a map or aeri-
which geologic controls exert an inuence on the al photo, lower density or more widely spaced
location and scale of development. When examin- drainage channels indicate subsurface drainage
ing the geomorphic characteristics of the land- through thick, permeable soils, or through karstic
scape it is valuable to the planner to recognize that limestone terrain when compared with greater
when observing the land surface, there exists a drainage density or less permeable soils and bed-
delicate balance or equilibrium between land- rock units (Johnson & DeGraff, 1988). Drainage
forms and process, and the character of this bal- patterns also tend to help dene rock types and
ance is revealed by considering both factors as geologic structure (Way, 1978).
systems or parts of systems. In addition, the Typically, drainage patterns are classied
perceived balance between process and form is either by their density and dissection or texture, or
created by the interaction of energy, force, and by the type of pattern form they exhibit. Drainage
resistance. Therefore, changes in driving forces texture is dened in three principal ways:
and/or resistance may stress the system beyond 1 Fine-textured indicates high levels of sur-
the dened limits of stability. Furthermore, vari- face runoff, impervious bedrock, and soils of
ous processes are linked in such a way that low permeability.
the effect of one process may initiate the action 2 Medium-textured describes conditions
of another. where the spacing of rst-order streams is
With these conditions understood, we can see less than ne textured, and the amount of
that the landscape explains a pattern where ero- runoff is medium when compared to that
sion and transport agents combine with weather- associated with ne or coarse textures

Dendric Rectangular Trelis

Dichotomic Radial Parallel

Centripetal Braided Artificial

Fig. 4.2 Characteristic drainage types.

3 Coarse-textured indicates a more resistant or rst-order area of channelized ow, the tri-
bedrock which may be permeable and forms butaries, and the major channels which may be
coarse, permeable soils. depositing eroded materials, to form surcial
In addition to drainage texture, drainage pat- water-laid landforms. The main patterns classi-
tern is also a useful indicator of landform structure ed according to this scheme are illustrated in Fig.
and process. There are 23 major descriptions of 4.2. Each of the patterns shown can indicate the
drainage types. These categorizations encompass presence of specic rock types, soil materials, rock
the entire pattern of water ow, including gullies structures, and drainage conditions. An excellent

Convex creep slope

Seepage slope

Fall face



Fig. 4.3 Generalized slope characteristics.

description of the planning signicance of the mous with the concept of relief, topography de-
drainage patterns illustrated in Fig. 4.2 can be nes the overall conguration of the landscape.
found in Way (1978). Perhaps the most important expression of topo-
When the planner is assessing the geologic en- graphy to the environmental planner is slope
vironment, his or her search for information re- (Fig. 4.3). Aside from its inuence on the use and
volves around a series of questions that not only capability of land, slope exerts substantial controls
dene critical information needs but also point to on runoff, ground stability, and erosion. Slope,
the geologic factors that should be used to form an dening the inclination of a landform from the
inventory of the planning area (Flawn, 1970): horizontal, can be expressed in several ways:
What part of the planning area is most suited Steepness of slope dened by the vertical
for the desired future land-use need? gradient as interpreted from the contours of
Where in the planning area are excavation a topographic map.
costs high and where are they low? Length of slope the physical distance from
Where in the planning area are there highly the head to the toe of the landform.
corrosive earth materials? Percent of slope the ratio of slope dened
Where in the planning area do earth surface as a function of elevation over distance ex-
processes represent risk or hazards? pressed as a percentage.
Slope gradient the maximum rate of
change in altitude.
Topographic controls Slope angle the angle of inclination from
the horizontal.
Topography forms the basic denition of the form Slope form the morphology or shape of the
and character of the terrain. Considered synony- slope.

Slope composition the earth and rock mate- movements can vary considerably in their shape,
rial that constitutes the landform. rate, extent, and effect on surrounding areas
Slope stability the inherent resistance of the (Griggs & Gilchrist, 1977). Understanding slope
slope to failure. stability issues is paramount for effective plan-
The need to consider slope in planning is the di- ning. In general, the nature and extent of slope sta-
rect result of the realization that slope not only im- bility can be explained by examining forces on
poses limitations on the use of land, but that slopes in relation to 6 interrelated factors:
modern development practices have contributed 1 type of earth material
to a misuse of sloping land. Misuse of slope occurs 2 slope characteristics
in two fundamental ways (Marsh, 1997): 3 climate
1 The placement of structures and facilities 4 vegetation
on slopes that are unstable or potentially 5 water
unstable. 6 time.
2 The disturbance of stable slopes resulting in
failure, accelerated erosion, and ecological
Slope forces
deterioration of the slope environment.
There are three common disturbances that con- The propensity for downslope movement is de-
tribute to the majority of slope-related problems. ned by the interplay between a set of driving
These include (1) mechanical cut and ll where the forces that tend to move earth materials down a
gradient and length of slope is reshaped by con- slope and the set of resisting forces that act to
struction, (2) deforestation, where in hilly terrain oppose downslope failure. The most common
urbanization, agriculture, and extractive indus- driving force is the downslope component of the
tries encourage the removal of vegetation that weight of the slope material. This factor includes
alters the hydrologic regime and stability of anything superimposed on the slope, such as veg-
slopes, and (3) drainage alterations resulting from etation, ll material, or buildings (Keller, 1988).
the construction of buildings on slopes which The most common resisting force is the shear
change slope equilibrium and the surface and strength of the slope material acting along poten-
subsurface ow of water. tial slip planes. According to Griggs and Gilchrist,
Slopes are among the most common landform the shear strength of a material is dened as the
and although most appear to be stable and static, maximum resistance to failure. This quantity can
they should be viewed as extremely dynamic and be described in relation to:
evolving systems (Keller, 1988). Because of their 1 Internal friction due to the interlocking of
dynamic nature, slope stability is a major con- granular particles, and
cern in planning. There are a number of ways in 2 Cohesion due to the forces that tend to hold
which sloped earth materials may fail and move particles together in a solid mass.
or deform. Several of the more pronounced are Thus, as slopes become steeper, the shear stress
owage, sliding, falling, and subsidence. The (dening the force of gravity lying parallel to a
variables that inuence downslope movement in- potential or actual slippage) exerted on surface
clude factors such as the type of slope movement, material increases as the downslope pull of gravi-
the material composing the slope, the rate of rock ty increases. A number of internal and external
movement, and the amount of water present on factors can affect the balance between these forces.
the slope (Keller, 1988). External factors affect the stress acting on a slope,
while internal factors act to alter the strength of
slope material. Critical external factors include:
Slope stability
Change of slope gradient where an alter-
Depending upon the type of movement ation in the angle or degree of slope may
creeping, falling, sliding, or owing and the kind degrade internal resistance to downslope
of material involved rock, earth, or mud mass forces.

Excess loading where the addition of are closer together than 160 feet would be
weight at the head of a slope can destabilize over 25%.
internal equilibrium conditions. 6 Using the base map delineating the planning
Change in vegetative cover where the re- area, locate areas of 10% slope by placing the
moval of vegetation can effect the overland appropriate card scale at right angles to the
and subsurface ow of water. contour. At each location where the contour
Shocks or vibrations where energy waves lines and scale marks coincide, place a mark
can effectively shake slope material. on the base map. If the distance between con-
Important internal factors that require careful tours is greater than 400 feet (each index
review include: mark), placing a mark on the base map is un-
Change in water content. necessary, since this area would be less that
Groundwater ow. 10% and still fall within the same slope class.
Weathering. By connecting the marks placed on the base
Slope angle. map and the perimeter contour, the outline
of areas with slopes between 0 and 10% can
be delimited.
Characterizing slope
7 Following the same procedure explained
Slopes may be characterized in a number of ways, above in Step 6 for the remaining slope
and a variety of graphical devices have been de- classes completes the preparation of the
veloped to help visualize slope information. Per- slope map.
haps the most basic method to visualize slope is by 8 Each of the classes mapped should be
means of a slope prole. A slope prole is con- symbolized according to a color or shading
structed from the contour lines displayed on scheme that permits sound cartographic rep-
topographic maps. Interpretation of the prole resentation of the slope information and en-
permits a general categorization of slope form hances visual interpretation of slope data.
(Marsh, 1997). A more useful device for assessing The manual method of slope mapping using
slope and making judgments regarding slope index cards tends to be a tedious and labor-
characteristics is the creation of a slope map. The intensive process. Fortunately much of the drud-
purpose of such a map is to graphically indicate gery has been taken out of slope mapping by the
each slope and place slope characteristics into a widespread availability of digital elevation mod-
classication system to order and highlight their els (DEMs) and use of specialized routines found
signicance. The general sequence of steps within the toolbox of leading geographic informa-
needed to manually produce a slope map using tion systems (GIS) software. Whether hand drawn
a topographic map can be outlined as follows: or produced via a GIS, slope maps are an impor-
1 Determine the slope classes that will be used tant way of communicating critical information
to order slopes, e.g., 010%, 1125%, >26%. regarding the nature of slope in the planning area.
2 Note the contour interval and scale of the
base map, e.g., 40-foot interval, with a scale
of 1 inch to 2,000 feet (1 : 24,000). Soil considerations in planning
3 On one edge of an index card or similar
durable medium, carefully inscribe ve tick Soils describe a transitional environment juxta-
marks at 400-foot intervals (note that 40/400 posed between the lithosphere and the biosphere/
= 10%). Identify this scale as 10%. atmosphere complex. Although soils are fre-
4 On another edge of the index card inscribe quently overlooked as a major factor in planning
another series of ticks at 160-foot intervals analysis, their inuence on the design and sustain-
(40/160 = 25%). Identify this scale as 25%. ability of land uses is noteworthy. One possible
5 Only these two classes need to be marked on reason that may account for the lack of concern
the card, since any area where the contours for soils in planning has to do with the contrasting

denitions used to explain soils and soil character-

istics. Soils are the natural bodies in which plants A Horizon High organic
grow. They underlie the foundations of houses, content
factories, and commercial establishments, and de-
E Horizon Leaching and
termine whether these foundations are adequate. transitional zone
They serve as the beds upon which roads and
highways are constructed and inuence the life Accumulation
expectancy of these features. Soils are also used to B Horizon of leached
absorb and lter waste from sewage systems. materials
Therefore their importance is indisputable, al-
though a simple denition of what they are may
remain elusive.
Zone of active
Soil refers to the loose surface of the earth C Horizon
and can be explained as: (1) a medium for plant
growth, (2) a mantle of weathered rock, or (3) an
engineering material. Under these differing con-
ceptual views, soil may be dened simply as un-
consolidated mineral matter on the surface of the Bedrock
D Horizon parent
earth that has been subjected to and inuenced by material
a series of genetic and environmental factors. The
dominant inuences on soil are
Parent material the bedrock properties
from which soils are derived. Fig. 4.4 A typical soil horizon.
Climate the thermal and precipitation
regimes that inuence weathering and bio-
logical processes. constituents of a soil: mineral particles, or-
Macro- and micro-organisms which assist ganic matter, water, and air. Mineral par-
in modifying soil composition. ticles comprise 50% to 80% of the volume of
Topography characterizing slope and indi- most soils. Mineral structure allows the soil
rectly inuencing rates of erosion. to support its own weight as well as that of
Each factor, acting over time, produces a soil water and buildings placed overlying the
that differs from the material from which it was soil. A soils mineral composition helps to
derived in several ways, including its physical, dene its bearing capacity, a quantity that
chemical, and biological properties and character- describes a soils resistance to penetration
istics (Fig. 4.4). from a weighted object. Organic composi-
To the planner, the physical properties of soil tion can vary widely in soils. Generally,
greatly inuence its suitability with respect to the organic particles provide a weak structure
many land uses that may be placed on top of or with poor bearing capacities. Thus, soils
into its structure. In addition, the rigidity and sup- with high organic content tend to compress
porting power, drainage and moisture-storing and settle differentially under road beds
capacity, plasticity, ease of penetration by roots, and foundations. Furthermore, when dewa-
aeration and retention of plant nutrients are all in- tered, these soils may undergo substantial
timately connected to its physical condition (Foth, volume losses through decomposition and
1978). Several of the more salient properties of soil wind erosion.
with particular relevance to the land development Soil texture refers to the neness or coarse-
problem include: ness of the soil expressed relative to particle
Soil composition refers to the materials size. In more specic terms, texture charac-
that make up a soil. There are four primary terizes the relative proportions of sand, silt,

and clay. The rate and extent of many phy- ing to the location and design of septic-tank
sical and chemical reactions important to systems, the size of terrace ridges, and the
plant growth are governed by texture, since slope of terrace channels for erosion control,
it determines the amount of surface on as well as the suitability of land for agricul-
which these reactions can occur (Foth, 1978). tural uses.
Soil structure refers to the aggregation 3 Percolation explains the rate at which
of its primary particles (sand, silt, clay) into water in a soil pit or pipe placed into the soil
compound particles which are separated is taken up by the soil. Percolation results in
from adjoining aggregates by surfaces of leaching, which can deplete a soil of certain
weakness. Therefore, the structure of the dif- nutrients. Typically, when the amount of
ferent horizons of a soil prole is an impor- precipitation entering a soil exceeds the
tant characteristic of the soil, as are its color, water-holding capacity of the soil, losses by
texture, and chemical composition. Struc- percolation will occur. Percolation losses in a
ture tends to modify the inuence of texture soil are affected by the amount of precipita-
relative to the presence of moisture and air, tion, its distribution, runoff, and evapora-
the availability of plant nutrients, and the tion, and the overall character of the soil.
actions of micro-organisms and root growth. Other important qualities of soil relevant to the
Soil moisture and drainage A soils water environmental planning problem include:
content will vary with particle size, topogra- 1 Corrosivity, which varies with soil acidity,
phy, texture, and climate. Water can occur texture, drainage, electrical conductivity,
in two principal ways in either mineral or and the presence of corrosive agents such
organic soils: as sodium or magnesium sulfate.
1) Capillary water a form of molecular 2 Shrinkswell potential, which denes the
water held in the soil by cohesion among interlayer expansion of silicate clays, par-
water molecules. ticularly of the semetic and vermiculite
2) Gravity water characterizing liquid units, given changes in water content.
water moving in response to gravitation- 3 Depth to bedrock, a characteristic describing
al forces. This downward ow accu- the distance through the soil mantel before
mulates in the subsoil and underlying soil bedrock is encountered.
bedrock to become groundwater. 4 Heightened erodability, which describes the
Drainage properties of soil typically related to ease with which soils may be detached and
gravity, water, and the capacity of a soil to transmit moved by water, wind, ice, or gravity.
water downward. Three important factors help Each of these soil variables introduces limitations
dene soil drainage and also serve as critical that restrict or redirect the use of land and deter-
determinants of land-use suitability: mine its relative tness for development.
1 Inltration capacity which refers to the rate
at which water penetrates the soil surface.
Soil-related planning issues
Inltration capacity is greatly inuenced by
the structural stability of the upper horizons There are a number of concerns that the planner
of a soil. Other factors such as organic matter must factor into the decision-making process
content, soil texture, soil depth, and the pres- when interpreting soil information and reviewing
ence of impervious soil layers help to rene sites for various development proposals. For
the inltration capacity rate. example, organic soils are highly compressible
2 Permeability refers to the rate at which under the weight of structures and tend to decom-
water transfers through a given volume of pose when drained. In the case of mineral soils,
material. The permeability rate of a soil de- texture and drainage are important factors. Gen-
nes the ability of the soil to transmit water. erally, coarse-textured soils present the fewest
Permeability can inuence decisions relat- limitations; however, as clay content increases,

drainage and shrinkswell potential pose con- Table 4.2 Erosion control strategies.
straints for development. Perhaps the most press- Site selection practices
ing concern in planning with soils is the issue of Reducing soil exposure
erosion. Soil erosion is both a natural process and Structural control methods
one accelerated by human activity. As an active Land-use management
process, the wearing away of the land surface by
water, wind, ice, or poor land management prac-
such as (1) increased sedimentation and clogging
tices can assume many different forms. A series of
of streams and channels, (2) heightened ood fre-
the descriptions used to characterize different
quency and risk, (3) land degradation, and (4) re-
types of erosion has been offered by Foth (1978),
duced water quality. These considerations place a
and includes:
premium on developing methods to control and
Accelerated erosion erosion much more
reduce the soil erosion risk.
rapid than normal natural geologic erosion,
primarily as a result of the inuence of peo-
ple or animals. Erosion control
Geologic erosion the normal or natural ero-
Erosion can be controlled effectively if (1) study
sion caused by geological processes acting
and planning precede any kind of land surface
over long geologic periods and resulting in
alteration, and (2) a set of basic principles are
the wearing away of landforms and the
followed. Several methods have been shown to be
build-up of ood plains and fans.
effective, particularly with respect to urban devel-
Gully erosion the erosion process whereby
opment. A selection of these control strategies is
water accumulates in narrow channels and
listed in Table 4.2. The methods outlined are based
over short time periods, and removes the soil
on three guiding principles that can be applied to
from these narrow areas to considerable
any development proposal. First, ensuring that
environmentally appropriate sites have been se-
Natural erosion wearing away of the
lected for the proposed development. Secondly,
earths surface by water, ice, or other natural
taking steps to reduce the area and duration of ex-
agents under natural environmental condi-
posure of soil to erosion. Lastly, adopting mea-
tions of climate and vegetation, undisturbed
sures to mechanically retard runoff, or trapping
by humans.
the sediment removed from a site. Following these
Normal erosion the gradual erosion of land
recommendations and integrating them into
used by people that does not greatly exceed
development plans can reduce the adverse effects
natural rates.
typically associated with soil erosion.
Rill erosion an erosion process in which
numerous small channels of only several
inches in depth are formed.
Climatic and hydrologic
Sheet erosion the removal of a fairly uni-
form layer of soil from the land surface by
the overland ow of water.
Climate and planning
Splash erosion the spattering of small soil
particles caused by the impact of raindrops The effects of land use and land cover on local cli-
on very wet soils. mate have been well documented (Lein, 1989).
Soil erosion remains among the most signi- The question for the planner to consider is not sim-
cant problems in land management and environ- ply the relationship between land development
mental planning. Because virtually all land uses and climate, but the larger issue of how climate
contribute directly or indirectly to the process, can introduce opportunities for and constraints
erosion is pervasive and results in direct monetary on sustainable development. To understand cli-
losses as well as a range of indirect costs or effects, mates role in sustainable planning one need only

begin with the inuence climate has on thermal This budgeting of solar radiation is also a very use-
patterns, air pollution dispersion, energy ef- ful way to explore the effects of surface change on
ciency, and human comfort, and the ways in the disposition of climate at global to local scales.
which these factors can be modied by the form The ux of energy at the surface can be expressed
and material structure of the land surface. Gaining symbolically by the relation
this appreciation for climate in planning begins
with a review of the fundamental principles that Rn = (Q + q)(1 ) + I I (4.1)
determine and control local climate, and the pro- Where:
perties of the climate the stand to be modied by Rn = net radiation
changes at the surface. Q = direct solar radiation
Climate can be dened as the aggregate of q = diffuse solar radiation
atmospheric conditions involving heat, moisture, a = surface albedo
air movement, and their extremes, measured over I = atmospheric counter-radiation (long
periods of months to years (Henderson-Sellers & wave)
Robinson, 1986; Hidore & Oliver, 1993). Of the var- I = terrestrial radiation (long wave).
ious scales by which climate may be examined, As suggested by the above relationship, the
two of the more pertinent to the environmental concept of balance is critical to understanding the
planner are (1) the synoptic or mesoscale and (2) climate system. Because the only energy input to
the microscale. Climate at the synoptic scale de- the system is solar radiation, this extraterrestrial
scribes the regional patterns and processes that short-wave ux entering the earth atmosphere
form unique characteristics associated with dis- system must, on an annual basis, be balanced by
tinctive geographic features such as mountains or an equal amount of energy leaving the system.
valleys and explain regional controls that domi- Thus, as shown in equation 4.1, the radiant energy
nate or inuence atmospheric conditions. Here, available to drive climate (Rn) is the product of the
the seasonal uctuations of major pressure sys- energy reaching the surface directly or after diffu-
tems and the physical controls of climate within sion by clouds in the atmosphere (Q + q), reection
the mesoscale environment exert inuences that off the surface (1 - a), and transfer from the surface
give rise to distinctive climatic regimes such as to the atmosphere and from the atmosphere back
lake-effect characteristics, thermal inversions, to the surface. Any change in these terms will
summer drought patterns, and convective cir- change the value of Rn and alter climate. The im-
culation complexes (intense thunderstorm cells). plications are subtle, but they form the basis for
Local, microscale climates are dened by environ- understanding human-induced climate change.
ments where specic topographic and land-cover Therefore, promoting human activities that may
arrangements and congurations exert moderat- alter the composition of the atmosphere may re-
ing inuences on the pattern established by the sult in changes in the quantity and quality of radi-
dominating synoptic controls. Examples of these ation reaching the surface. Once at the surface,
small-scale patterns include forest climates, urban land cover can redirect the quantity of radiation
climates, and climates that are topographically reected off the surface. Changes in the quantity
induced. of radiation at the surface will change the rate of
Regardless of scale, an important means of terrestrial radiation, and so on. If atmospheric
characterizing climate is through the mechanisms scattering and absorption are included along with
that direct the exchange and budgeting of heat surface and atmospheric storage, the fundamen-
energy between the surface and the atmosphere. tal balance relationship can be expanded to pro-
Here, the input of solar radiation that drives the duce a more complete description:
climate system is subject to a series of transfer
mechanisms that redistribute this ux and in the Rn = Rg (1 ) c a + c + a + s + I I
process produce fundamental climatic regimes. (4.2)

Where: create exchanges of energy, mass, and

Rg = global radiation momentum.
a = albedo The input of articial heat generated by ma-
Cc = reection by clouds chinery, vehicles, and heating and cooling
Ca = reection by aerosols systems.
bc = absorption by clouds The way in which a large extent of impervi-
ba = absorption by aerosols ous surface removes precipitation quickly
Ds = absorption by the surface and alters moisture and heat balances by re-
I = atmospheric counter-radiation ducing evaporative processes.
I = terrestrial radiation. The ways in which the injection of pollutants
Given the net radiation input at the surface, the and dust into the atmosphere modies radi-
balance of energy is achieved for a specic surface ation and energy-balance processes.
by a series of transfer functions that dene the Based on these examples, as the surface is
energy conservation equation for the surface: transformed from a natural to a functional state,
development modies the ambient energy bal-
Rn = H + LE + G (4.3)
ance, air circulation, and evaporative processes
Where: through the introduction of multiple reection
H = sensible heat ux and absorption patterns, rough and uneven
LE = latent heat ux surface forms, and by altering vegetative cover.
G = surface heat ux. Modication also results from the addition of
The signicance of the relationships expressed sources of heat, dust, and pollutants that intensify
above it that they identify the processes involved as the pace of human activity increases. The
in forming climate at scales of interest to the envi- signicance of these changes will vary with pre-
ronmental planner. They also suggest pathways vailing synoptic scale controls, yet the ground-
whereby changes at the surface can modify cli- level consequences to human comfort, human
mate processes and alter surface conditions. For health, and energy efciency have been well docu-
example, changing surface vegetation and ex- mented. The examples presented above also sug-
posed soil to asphalt and concrete will change gest that the natural advantages or amenities
surface albedo, alter the ux of latent heat by associated with climate that guide siting and
removing vegetation, and increase sensible heat design may be degraded as the intensity, scale,
ux from the surface. Each of these deviations and pattern of development promotes continued
from the original conditions presents new micro- modication.
climates and can contribute to a redistribution of
solar radiation. While such microclimatic altera-
Hydrologic factors
tions appear to be subtle and insignicant, they
have been shown to carry important implications The process description used to explain climates
in site planning and design (Douglas, 1983). These role in planning is also a convenient way to char-
include: acterize the hydrologic regime and how it inu-
The way in which the walls and roofs of ences the planning process. Consideration of the
buildings and concrete paved surfaces hydrologic regime directs attention to the vari-
behave like exposed rock materials and ables that dene the hydrologic cycle. Perhaps the
display high heat capacities, conductivities, most comprehensive treatment of hydrologic
and evidence an ability to store and reect cycle and related processes with specic reference
heat energy at rates greater than that for to environmental planning can be found in Dunne
natural surfaces. and Leopold (1978).
The way in which the additional surface The hydrologic cycle can be represented sym-
areas of buildings with large vertical faces bolically as

P = E T R I S (4.4) be anticipated. The most noteworthy surface

changes include the clearing of forested lands, the
Where: overgrazing of land, and the introduction of im-
P = precipitation pervious surfaces.
E = evaporation As suggested by the processes involved, as
T = transpiration the composition of the surface changes, the
R = runoff rates of evaporation, transpiration, inltration,
I = inltration and runoff will deviate from their expected condi-
S = soil-moisture storage. tion. Through the transformation of land from
According to this relation, the input of precipita- natural to urban use the planner can anticipate:
tion at the surface is balanced by a series of output Decreased inltration with the addition of
or transfer mechanisms that redistribute water impermeable surface, less ground area is
back through the earth/atmosphere system. In a available to allow water to percolate into the
manner similar in concept to the surface-energy soil.
balance, any change in the variables on the right- Increased runoff with increases in im-
hand side of the equation will alter the availability permeable surface, overland ow will
and movement of water within the planning area. accelerate.
However, as built form replaces natural land- Accelerated erosion with faster rates of
scape, the movement of water is actually inu- overland ow the erosion potential of the
enced by two interrelated hydrologic systems: (1) surface will increase.
the human-modied hydrologic cycle and (2) the Altered ood regimes with changes in inl-
human-created water supply and water removal tration, runoff, and erosion, sedimentation
system (Douglas, 1983). These contrasting expres- and ooding will be more common and
sions of water, when coupled with the removal of contribute to urban ood problems and
vegetation, the addition of impervious surfaces, ponding.
the alteration of soil qualities, the modication of Although these concerns are often viewed indi-
drainage, and the utilization of both surface and vidually, they are highly interrelated and serve
subsurface water introduced by land develop- to illustrate the importance of examining both
ment practices, generate a series of hydrologic direct and indirect effects as land-cover changes
effects such as: are contemplated.
1 A change in total runoff at the surface.
2 An alteration of peak ow characteristics.
3 A decline in the quality of water. Biotic and ecological
4 Changes in the hydrologic amenities associ- considerations
ated with rivers, lakes, and streams.
Add to these documented effects changes intro- The ecological approach to planning is predicated
duced by the network of water collecting, treating, on a detailed understanding of ecological process
transmitting, and distributing systems created and the interrelationships that exist between geol-
to provide for development. With these active ogy, soils, climate, and hydrology and the struc-
systems, water is abstracted, relocated, and dis- ture and function of the ecosystems that dene the
charged in a manner that can upset the total planning area. Although the ecological approach
hydrologic balance of a watershed (Douglas, to planning is widely advocated, distilling the
1983). Therefore, recognizing the hydrologic im- essential knowledge of ecosystem processes
plications of land use and land-cover change on required to produce ecologically sound plans
the balance, inow, transfer, and outow of water remains a challenge (Steiner, 1991; Park, 1980;
is an integral step in planning sustainable urban Peck, 1998; Sukopp et al., 1995). Much of the prob-
systems. However, with any alteration of the sur- lem associated with ecological planning stems
face, a change in the natural hydrologic cycles can from the fact that urban landscape design contin-

ues to operate on the premise that ecological groups that explain their particular role or
processes are either non-existent in cities or have function:
little relevance to the issues of design and form Herbivores animals that feed on plant
(Hough, 1995). Ecological processes, however, material.
provide an indispensable basis for planning if the Carnivores animals that feed on other
planner recognizes the signicance of basic eco- animals.
logical principles. Fundamental ideas such as the Omnivores animals that feed on either
dependence of one life process on another; the plants or animals.
interconnected development of living and phy- Decomposers organisms that break
sical processes on the earth; the continuous trans- down waste plant and animal material
formation and recycling of living and nonliving and return nutrients to the soil.
materials, dene elements of a self-perpetuating When diagrammatically represented, these com-
biosphere that sustains life and directs the form of ponents form a fundamental system structure that
the physical landscape. These same elements be- can be used to illustrate key functional relation-
come central determinants of the form underlying ships. The dening elements of an ecosystem are
all human activities as well. connected by a ow of energy as the input of solar
radiation is transformed into a new energy source
that enters the food chain and cycles through the
Ecosystem planning
system. Other elements cycle through the system
The ecosystem has become the fundamental unit as well. These nutrient cycles include the carbon,
of study in ecology and represents a concept that is nitrogen, and phosphorus cycles, and serve to
of great value to all aspects of environmental plan- reinforce the concept of self-regulation and sup-
ning. It is here, at the ecosystem level, where the port the dynamic balance ecosystems achieve
ecological approach begins. For our purposes, an over time.
ecosystem can be dened simply as a self-regulat- Our review of basic ecology carries several im-
ing association of plants and animals interacting portant implications and points to the informa-
with one another and their nonliving environ- tion needs the planner will require to effectively
ment in a well-dened geographic area. Self- balance development with sustainable environ-
regulation is a key concept in this denition, and mental functioning. First, the functioning of an
serves as the starting-point for achieving sustain- ecosystem reveals that the plants and animals
able development goals. Through the arrange- dening its structure participate in a complex ow
ment of the various living elements of the system, of energy that supports and perpetuates the sys-
the relationships they assume together with the tem. To facilitate this ow each organism has a
nonliving elements that characterize the physical niche that denes all the physical, chemical, and
and chemical factors that form an environment, a biological factors that it needs to survive and re-
structure, pattern, and ow is established which produce. This niche includes considerations such
moves matter and energy through the system. as an organisms:
This idea, while rudimentary, is all too easy to Food niche the specic foods that compose
overlook as development pressures encourage a species diet.
change at the surface. Habitat niche the environment that the
The components that comprise an ecosystem species inhabits.
include Reproductive niche the pattern and charac-
1 Producers dening plants that convert teristics of species ability to regenerate.
sunlight into chemical energy through Physical and chemical niche environmen-
photosynthesis. tal elements required to sustain the species.
2 Consumers describing animals that feed Plans and development proposals will alter
directly or indirectly on producers, which niche relationships that can affect whether or not a
can be further divided into more specialized given organism can nd the food it requires and

the habitat it needs, mate successfully, and acquire tural elds, or between a sandy, forested plain and
the other factors it needs to survive. These effects a riparian corridor (Gordon & Forman, 1983). The
can be very subtle and reveal their effects after landscape is therefore an area where a cluster of
long periods of time have elapsed, or they can re- interacting ecosystems is repeated in similar form.
sult from major and immediate disruptions and Consequently, basic ecological principles pertain-
redirections in the quality and quantity of energy ing to energy ow, nutrient cycles, niche concepts,
owing through the components in the system. In balance, and successional dynamics of ecosys-
either case this pattern introduces a disturbance tems provide a useful backdrop for a more land-
which affects the stability of the ecosystem and scape-directed focus. This focus is provided by the
ultimately degrades its resource potential. At this developing science of landscape ecology.
point in out brief discussion it must be recognized
that natural ecosystems, due to their many inter-
Landscape ecological planning
dependencies and interrelationships, are invari-
ably richer in species and more stable that those The application of landscape ecology theory has
articially developed. The urban pattern super- had a pronounced inuence on environmental
imposed onto the natural landscape denes an planning (Foreman, 1998; Foreman & Gordon,
ecosystem contrived by people. All of the facilities 1986), and there is growing interest in using land-
and arrangements of its parts are for human use. scape ecology as a scientic base for land-use
The material and energy ow arrives from well decision-making (Hersperger, 1994). Two reasons
beyond the boundaries of a given urban com- may be cited to account for its appeal: (1) land-
plex. Furthermore, being articial, interdepen- scape ecology gives emphasis to the interface
dencies are missing and the system is not between humans and environment, and (2)
self-regulating or self-sustaining. landscape ecology recognizes the importance of
The contrast between these two systems, the change as a fundamental feature of the landscape.
natural and human, together with the disturbance A landscape-ecological approach to environmen-
development introduces as interrelationships tal planning, therefore, tends to be more focused
are severed by the implacement of built forms, on the nature of spatial change and the functional
suggests that land development processes will connections between biophysical and socio-
change the biotic community. However, because cultural processes and agents of change.
every environment has some recovery potential According to the principles of landscape ecolo-
and level of adaptability, the effects on the gy, the landscape system shares three important
natural system will vary in terms of intensity and characteristics: structure, function, and change
duration. (Hersperger, 1994; Foreman & Gordon, 1986). For
The complexity and variability of ecosystems the most part, structure describes the spatial rela-
and their response to disturbance is further com- tionship between the distinctive ecosystems or
plicated by the fact that planning focuses on land- elements present in the landscape. The main
scape and not on ecosystems. This distinction is landscape components that dene a landscapes
important, since the landscape is almost always spatial structure are patch, corridor, and matrix.
highly heterogeneous and can include such di- The overall landscape is therefore the synthesis of
verse elements as elds, woods, marshes, towns, these basic parts, while the distribution of energy,
and corridors (Gordon & Forman, 1983). For ex- materials, and species in relation to the size, shape,
ample, in a suburban area, a cluster of landscape number, type, and arrangement of each differenti-
elements such as a residential tract, a patch of ate the pattern. Accordingly, patch, corridor, and
woods, a commercial area, and an open, grassy matrix can be explained as functions of factors
eld would dene a pattern replicated through- such as origin, shape, size, connectivity, porosity,
out the landscape, whereas a different cluster of edge, heterogeneity, and conguration. Function
ecosystems would be found in adjoining agricul- denes the ecological processes at work in the

landscape. Explaining function requires an un- differ according to landscape and are superim-
derstanding of how energy, water, mineral nutri- posed onto natural disturbances and geomorphic
ents, plants, and animals move across landscapes settings, resulting in landscapes that vary widely
composed of various combinations of structural and form distinct boundaries.
features. Key factors used to dene function Comparing landscapes along a gradient from
include the relative structural attributes of the lesser to increasing levels of human modica-
landscape, ow gradients (locomotion, diffusion, tion can be accomplished by examining critical
mass ow), and scale. Coupled to these qualities ecological attributes. These attributes have been
are the natural processes and human actions that summarized by Gordon and Foreman (1983) and
inuence landscape evolution on the larger scale. include:
Because function inuences structure and struc- Horizontal structure In natural landscapes
ture inuences function, their interaction forms subjected to minimal human disturbance,
the logical basis for causal analysis. In this context, horizontal structure shows little contrast.
change is the product of the relationship be- Primary breaks result from natural distur-
tween function and structure expressed over time. bances and from geomorphology. As human
Change, therefore, implies temporal analysis and modication increases, sharp delineations
can be measured (or quantied) as an altera- between ecosystems become more numer-
tion in either structure or function. Subsequently, ous. This includes the proliferation of
change, or its absence, is typically expressed in straight lines in the landscape, forming the
relation to stability. Thus, natural and human dis- borders between ecosystems and corridors
turbances together with the natural processes that crossing ecosystems. The dominant human
direct ecosystem development form the driving imprint on structure involves: (1) increases
forces of change. in contrast, and (2) increases in linearization
The concept of a disturbance and the methods and rectangularization.
developed to compare landscapes under differing Stability Natural landscapes display con-
levels of modication provide essential informa- siderable potential energy in the form of bio-
tion to the planner: particularly with respect to mass, yet they are also stable. With increased
issues related to conservation, biodiversity, and modication, potential energy and stability
the development of sustainable land-use patterns. decrease.
Generally, all landscapes are dened by a com- Thermodynamic characterization Although
mon geomorphic origin and a common distur- ecosystems vary in degree of thermo-
bance regime. A disturbance regime describes the dynamic openness, natural landscapes
sum of types, frequencies, and intensities of dis- generally are more closed than modied
turbances through time. The disturbance itself is landscapes. Modied landscapes receive a
considered to be something that causes a commu- large external supply of nutrients and fossil
nity of ecosystem characteristics, such as species energy. Human activity tends to increase
diversity, nutrient output, biomass, and vertical or openness of energy and nutrient cycles,
horizontal structure, to exceed or drop below its which accounts for one of the principal ways
homeostatic range of variation (Gordon & Fore- by which human actions stress or modify the
man, 1983). Geomorphic processes such as uplift, stability of the landscape.
erosion, aeolian action, and deposition produce Chorology describes the processes and re-
physiographic units, which, in the absence of sults of species dispersal. In natural land-
human activity, contain various natural distur- scapes dispersion of reproductive structures
bances. Landscapes modied by human activities is rather viscous. Managed forests and grass-
are changed by new disturbances induced by hu- lands produce more uid chorologic sys-
mans. Examples include agricultural activities tems, while at the end of the modication
and urbanization. These human disturbances gradient, the most human-inuenced land-

scapes provide special opportunities for cos- a range of microhabitat proximities for
mopolitan species. multihabitat species.
Minimal grain denes the minimal land Grain size: The average area of all patches in
area in which nearly all species of a commu- the landscape affects many ecological fac-
nity are found. tors. A landscape containing a variance in
Net production characterizes the balance be- grain size (coarse and ne grain) is an impor-
tween photosynthesis and respiration. In tant conguration.
natural landscapes the annual balance of Risk spreading: Reducing the adverse con-
plant production is close to zero. With sequences of limited diversity by encourag-
increasing management, a positive net ing a greater mix enhances sustainability.
production is realized; however, in urban Genetic variation: Providing strains with
landscapes net production declines and can resistance to disturbance and responding to
be negative. environmental change by facilitating re-
Other critical factors to consider when examining establishment.
disturbance patterns include nutrient cycling, tac- Boundary zone: Boundary zones between
tics, phylogeny, and type of resistance. land uses are often suitable for outliers.
Although landscape ecology offers theory and When located along boundary zones, out-
empirical evidence to help understand and com- liers do not perforate and destroy the advan-
pare different spatial congurations, few land- tages of large patches. The curvilinearity of
planning principles based on this knowledge boundaries also reduces barrier effects and
have emerged (Foreman, 1998). One useful idea mimics the results of natural processes.
that has developed out of the landscape ecology Small patches of natural vegetation: Small
school is the aggregate-with-outliers principle patches or outliers of natural vegetation are
discussed by Foreman (1998). According to this valuable throughout the developed area.
principle, when considering the spatial allocation Small patches are a signicant supplement
of land uses, care should be taken to: to large patches in that they: (1) serve as step-
1 aggregate land uses; ping-stones for species dispersal, (2) provide
2 maintain corridors and small patches of habitat and stepping-stones for species re-
nature throughout the developed area; colonization following local extinctions, (3)
3 geographically arrange outliers of human provide heterogeneity in the matrix that de-
activity along major boundaries. creases wind and water erosion, (4) contain
From this simple beginning, several landscape edge species with dense populations, and (5)
qualities can be maintained and incorporated into maintain high species densities.
plans as a basis for design. By so doing the overall Corridors: Natural vegetation corridors en-
functioning of the landscape as sustainable hance important natural processes such as
habitat can be enjoyed and a balance can be species and surface-water movement, while
achieved between human use of the landscape corridors of diverse ne-scale land uses
and the natural processes at work there. A selec- result in efcient human and multihabitat
tion of qualities identied by Dramstad et al. species movement.
(1996) include: Incorporating these concepts into the physical
Large patches of natural vegetation: are landscape plan, however, requires a set of guide-
ecologically important because they: (1) lines or a model planners can follow. As a direction
protect aquifers, (2) protect low-order for environmental planning and design, the
stream networks, (3) provide habitat for aggregate-with-outliers model has been shown
large home-range species, (4) support viable to possess several signicant ecological benets
population sizes of interior species, (5) per- (Turner, 1989; Foeman, 1998). A range of benets
mit natural disturbance regimes in which to human populations has also been suggested.
species evolve and persist, and (6) maintain These include:

Providing a wide range of settings. A list of natural events that can be assigned a
Developing ne-scale areas where jobs, hazard designation would include:
homes, and schools can be located in close 1 Geologic and geomorphic events:
proximity. Avalanches
Enhancing the efciency of human move- Earthquakes
ment along corridors. Erosion
Introducing natural vegetation back into the Landslides
development pattern. Tsunami
Providing for specialization within aggre- Volcanic eruptions
gated built-up areas. 2 Climatic events:
Enhancing visual diversity in the landscape. Drought
Natural hazard considerations Tornadoes
Any review of the physical environment dis- Hailstorms
cussed within the context of planning would not Severe thunderstorms
be complete without a treatment of those physical Fog
processes and variables that represent hazards. Heat waves
While a more detailed discussion of hazard and 3 Biological processes:
risk assessment is presented later in Chapter 6, Infestations
here, an outline of natural hazards and their basic Fungal diseases
characteristics is provided in order to: (1) identify Bacterial diseases
critical environmental processes that produce Viral diseases
hazards, (2) describe their salient properties and Detailed treatments of the nature and mecha-
relationships, and (3) integrate environmental nisms that form these events can be found in the
hazards into the planning process. natural hazard literature (Murck, 1996; Blaike et
The concept of a natural hazard is somewhat al., 1994; Handmer, 1990). With specic reference
misleading when removed from a human- to each of the processes listed above, several criti-
centered view of the environment. Processes typi- cal factors must be known if the environmental
cally identied as natural hazards are nothing planner is to adequately address the nature of the
more than natural processes or events that have al- hazard. Seven of the more essential descriptions of
ways been present in the landscape. These hazards include:
processes only become hazards when humans 1 Frequency (interval and seasonality)
choose to occupy the same geographic location denes the time interval between events.
where such occurrences are common. Therefore, Certain hazards have a denite seasonality
to a large degree the naturalness of these hazards associated with their occurrence, while oth-
becomes a philosophical and psychological barri- ers display temporal frequencies inuenced
er that can be difcult to reconcile when attempt- by causal factors that operate from tens to
ing to minimize their adverse effects. Further thousands of years.
complicating the treatment of natural hazards is 2 Intensity describes the relative impact of
the observation that although natural hazards the event as a function of its magnitude and
destroy property and often take human lives, they local vulnerability.
also perform vital environmental functions 3 Duration explains the length of time the
(Keller, 1988). For this reason understanding the event is active. Some events are short-lived
nature of events that pose a hazard carries impor- and may last for only a few seconds. At the
tant implications that should inuence environ- opposite extreme are events such as drought
mental planning. that may least for several years.

4 Spatial extent characterizes the size of the nature are to be maintained. Central concepts such
geographic area affected by the event. as the dependence of one life process on another;
5 Exposure denes the population and infra- the interconnected development of living and
structure in proximity to the hazardous physical processes of earth, climate, water, plants,
event that stands to affect it. and animals; the continuous transformation and
6 Vulnerability explains the level of risk recycling of living and nonliving materials, are
associated with the event given the pattern more than the elements of a self-perpetuating
of exposure. biosphere, they are the central determinants of all
7 Magnitude measures the physical power human activities on the land (Hough, 1995).
of the event as determined by a widely used Successful integration of the driving forces of
metric such as the Richter scale for earth- urbanization with ecology is achieved through
quakes, or the Fugitta scale for tornadoes. the design process. As suggested by Hough
Provided with this information, the planner has a (1984), design is by denition a problem-solving
clearer understanding of the physical processes activity and a mechanism that fosters integration.
that are active in the planning and which of those Design directs connections between disparate ele-
processes pose a hazard. Above all, this informa- ments to reveal potentials that might not other-
tion serves as critical input to procedures used to wise be apparent. To this end, several principles
evaluate both the present levels of exposure and can be noted that, when brought together with the
vulnerability and future levels of risk associated social and economic objectives which propel plan-
with planned land-use changes. Information on ning, effectively guide plan design and frame
the nature of hazards also greatly affects design natural environmental factors as active decision
considerations, building codes, densities, and the criteria critical to the evaluation of development
future allocation of sensitive land uses in zones strategies (Hough, 1984).
that evidence hazards.
Physical systems and design Processes are dynamic. The form of the landscape
is the consequence of the forces that give rise to it;
The preceding review of the natural factors that geological uplift, and erosion of mountains; the
dene the foundation knowledge that drives hydrologic cycle and the forces of water; plants,
environmental planning serves to illustrate the animals, and humans living the land. The form of
importance of integrating earth-environmental the landscape, therefore, reveals its natural and
science data into the process of making plans. The human history, and the continuing cycles of natur-
rationale supporting this form of integration is al processes that steadily inuence its morpholo-
stated eloquently by McHarg (1969): gy. Understanding the dependence of form on
process and recognizing that human and natural
To learn of the evolution of the physical and processes are constantly at work modifying the
biological processes is an indispensable step land illustrates the need to incorporate a process
towards the knowledge one needs before mak- orientation into design. This prerequisite places
ing changes to the land; but it is far from enough. design in the role of initiating purposeful and
It is as necessary to know how the world benecial change, with ecology and people as its
works. Who are the actors and how do they foundation.
respond to the environment, to physical pro-
cesses and to other creatures?
Economy of means
Ecological processes are therefore more than a The idea behind this principle has been stated in
planning philosophy, they provide the basis for several different ways, yet each conveys the same
planning and design if balance and harmony with general meaning. From the principle of least effort

to the notion that small is beautiful, the economy- values (Hough, 1984). This position can inhibit
of-means principle encourages design to achieve more creative solutions that develop from ecolo-
the maximum output from the minimum input. gy-based design. Thus, design needs to approach
This suggests that simplicity, while a relative term, the question of how human development pro-
and balance with natural process should be com- cesses can contribute to the environments they
mon to any planning solution. change. Change becomes a positive force capable
of enhancing the landscape through habitat-
building, recycling wastewater, storm water con-
servation, and other related methods. In this way
In a purely ecological context, diversity implies development manages and reuses the resources it
richness and is used to express either the number draws on. Development becomes more than sim-
of species in a given area or the genetic variability ply something superimposed onto the landscape,
within a single species. If health can be described it becomes linked to existing natural processes.
as the ability to withstand stress, then diversity The natural factors discussed in this chapter
may also be used to imply health (Hough, 1989). and the design principles that grow out of them
Diversity also suggests choice and a mixture of draw the environment rmly into the planning
features from which selections can be made, process. However, knowledge of the environment
be those land uses, employment opportunities, has to be supported by the acquisition of site-
lifestyles, or landscapes. In design terms, diver- specic environmental information and method-
sity translates as the creation or preservation of ologies that can evaluate that information in
a mixture of settings that can enhance interest relation to the problems confronting the planning
and aesthetic appreciation, and stimulate social area. Landscape characterization and assessment
health. applies what we have learned in this chapter and
connects us to alternatives that guide the future
use of the landscape. In the next chapter the issues
Environmental connectedness
and methods that direct land evaluation and the
In an ever-urbanizing world there is a need to characterization of the landscape are examined.
maintain a sense of connectedness with the envi-
ronment. The natural environment provides one
of the most appropriate, exible, and diverse set- Summary
tings for connecting people to place. The constant
and direct experience of how the environment To successfully integrate environmental concerns
works, assimilated through the daily exposure to into the environmental planning process, the
and interaction with the landscape, should be a planner must possess a basic understanding of the
priority of design. There is nature in the city that environmental processes active in the planning
can be amplied through design, and a need exists area. With this information, the planner can better
to give emphasis to the natural systems that oper- comprehend the importance of critical environ-
ate in the urban landscape. mental features and discern the inuence they
have on qualities of the built environment. This
chapter presented a review of the fundamental
Change as constructive process
what I need to know information pertaining to
The natural tendency in planning, particularly the salient natural factors that direct environmen-
with respect to environmental planning and de- tal planning. Beginning with the geologic envi-
sign, is to focus attention exclusively on designs ronment and culminating with an overview of
that minimize destruction of environmental re- natural hazard considerations, the role of each
sources. Although the minimal-impact approach factor in landscape design and the dynamics of
is the obvious response to human-induced the processes involved were identied. Because
change, it suggests an acceptance of negative development is more than simply the superim-

position of built form onto the landscape, how In what ways do the natural factors reviewed
development becomes linked to existing natural in this chapter exert controlling inuences
processes becomes a central question to resolve in on development?
order to maintain environmental sustainability. How does one plan within the context of a
dynamic physical environment?
In what ways does environmental process sug-
Focusing questions gest options to direct and form the design of
development proposals?
Why assess the physical environment of the
planning area; what signicance does this
assessment convey?
Integrated Environmental Planning
James K. Lein
Copyright 2003 by Blackwell Publishing

Landscape Inventory
and Analysis

Information is a critical component of any tendency to collect only that information required
decision-making process, and environmental to address a specic problem. That information,
planning is no exception to this rule. As demon- because it is specialized, is often disconnected
strated by Lein (1997), every decision-making from the larger concerns of the planning area and
body relies on information to exist, and the acqui- fails to satisfy more generic information needs.
sition, processing, and dissemination of infor- This results in a one-dimensional view of the land-
mation are fundamental activities undertaken by scape that does not support the ecological premise
planning agencies. Information can be considered that everything is connected to everything else
a form of planning intelligence, and planning in- (Steiner, 1991). Yet, without providing a more
telligence is a type of strategic decision support in- systematic view of the landscape, seeing the
formation that enables the environmental planner connections between the natural elements of the
and the community to identify, understand, and landscape and gaining insight regarding their
manage the problems characterizing the planning interaction is difcult to achieve. Furthermore,
area. This intelligence is derived from organized because environmental planning is based on an
data and facts about the regional setting and those integrated view of the landscape, synoptic-scale
features that are of specic concern to planning. In data concerning the biophysical processes charac-
this chapter the methods used to collect and orga- terizing the region must be collected and analyzed
nize this information, and the evaluation proce- to provide the baseline knowledge from which
dures employed to provide the intelligence plans can be developed (Steiner, 1991). With these
needed to direct the environmental planning elements in place, the data gathered through
process, are examined. inventory and monitoring activities helps to sub-
stantiate environmental planning and improves
the credibility of the environmental plan. Deriv-
Regional landscape inventory ing the information needed to reach this point,
and monitoring however, depends on the implementation and
timing of programs developed to inventory and
Inventory and monitoring are among the most monitor the regional landscape.
basic tools that enable environmental planners An inventory, as its name suggests, is an item-
to establish critical baseline information and ized listing of current assets. If we consider the
measure change. Unfortunately, information per- geographic area of a watershed, it would be
taining to the natural environment has often been necessary to have information pertaining to that
used in an ad hoc manner (Steiner, 1991). There is a areas geology, climate, land use, land cover, and

vegetation, as well as a range of other factors, so employed directly in setting development options
that effect plans to manage the watershed can be and priorities, identifying problems, and increas-
drafted. Thus, whether in the context of environ- ing general knowledge about the region that can
mental planning or with reference to the local be used by decision-makers.
retail department store, the inventory represents a Typically the dominating or prominent fea-
basic accounting of the presence or status of tures of the landscape are chosen and described in
important and valuable resources whose present a manner such that a decision-maker unfamiliar
disposition is unknown. Through the inventory with the planning area can learn enough about its
process an understanding of these assets is ac- important qualities to ensure that plan develop-
quired and their quality, quantity, condition, and ment and implementation remains focused.
location become known. As a preplanning mecha- Natural Factors given consideration in a resource
nism, the inventory plays a vital role by providing inventory may include the follow items:
the detailed overview of the region necessary 1 Habitats found within or adjacent to the
before specic programs or policies can be draft- planning area.
ed. In this role, the inventory describes the salient 2 Major cultural resources found within or
environmental variables that characterize the adjacent to the planning area.
planning area, identies their geographic extent, 3 Major land uses and related land-use activi-
and carefully documents their important proper- ties found within or adjacent to the planning
ties. Once completed, the inventory forms a base- area.
line information source against which plans and 4 Major land and resource ownership patterns
programs can be evaluated, and provides a mech- and management responsibilities.
anism whereby the opportunities and constraints 5 Major historic, prehistoric, and archaeologi-
of the environment can be disclosed and recom- cal resources.
mendations can be offered to guide future devel- A comprehensive outline of the natural, cultural,
opment within the region. and amenity resources that can typically be exam-
For an inventory to be effective several organi- ined and subject to inventory are presented in
zation questions need to be addressed. Taking Table 5.1. Describing each of the factors presented
each question in turn, they help to rene the meth- in the table may involve the production of statisti-
ods used to develop the inventory and ensure its cal summaries, detailed maps documenting
adequacy. location and geographic arrangement, narrative
summaries reviewing and explaining important
features or relationships, photographs and other
What to inventory?
supporting graphic displays to enhance visualiza-
Unlike our department store analogy with tion of the planning area. Because the overriding
items arranged on stockroom shelves, the natural goal of the inventory is to present data and infor-
resource inventory is complicated by the mation to improve understanding, anything not
multidimensional nature of the environment. The related to improving communication and the
relevant factors to include in an inventory may transfer of critical environmental knowledge
be predetermined by local, state, or federal man- should be avoided.
dates. In other instances selection of the natural
factors to inventory may require careful delibera-
How to inventory
tion by the planner. Selecting the appropriate
factors to inventory depends largely on purpose. An inventory can be derived from a mix of prim-
In the majority of cases an inventory is conducted ary, secondary, and tertiary sources. Consequently,
to give decision-makers a comprehensive and data collection and data evaluation become criti-
detailed understanding of the physical and cal phases in the inventory process. Perhaps the
human characteristics of the planning area. Using most important step in data collection involves
this information-base, environmental data can be identifying the boundaries that will delineate the
L A N D S C A P E I N V E N T O R Y A N D A N A LY S I S 95

Table 5.1 Landscape factors subject to inventory. been used to approximate ecosystem boundaries.
Natural elements
By applying the drainage basin as the primary
Physiography: slope, drainage, unique features organizing spatial unit, data characterizing the
Geology: bedrock formations, faults, fractures, slumps, slips natural, cultural, and amenity resources pres-
Soils: type, composition, permeability, erosion potential ented in Table 5.1 can be collected and mapped.
Hydrology: drainage systems, springs, seeps, wetlands Cartographic treatment of inventory data is an
Vegetation: plant associations, unique communities
Wildlife: habitats
important method of communication, visualiza-
Climate: temperature, precipitation, wind ow, humidity, tion, and analysis by which the quality of the
evaporation inventory can be determined in large part by the
Cultural elements quality and accuracy of the maps created for dis-
Transportation: roads, rail lines, airports play. Therefore, one of the more critical decisions
Utilities: oil, gas, water networks that must be made early in the inventory process
Structures & excavations: buildings, mines, dumps has to do with the selection of a base map and scale
Ownership: name, assessed value
of representation. The base map will be used to
Historical/archaeological: signicant features and sites
anchor all the spatial information collected for
Visual and aesthetic elements the inventory. Factors that will inuence the
Major viewsheds
Minor viewsheds
appropriateness of the base map include: (1) scale,
Scenic areas (2) projection, (3) locational reference, and (4)
Unique features medium.
Points of interest 1 Map scale a map is a scaled representation
of a portion of the earths surface. The scale
of a map is simply the ratio between map
planning area and delimit the geographic extent distance and earth distance. However, scale
of the biophysical and sociocultural factors that greatly inuences the level of generalization
will be mapped and described. Although bound- required in order to represent geographic ob-
aries may be set by legislative goals, there is a jects and directly controls the degree of detail
hierarchical quality to an inventory that directs that can be seen on a map. It is therefore es-
description and mapping through different levels sential that an appropriate scale is selected to
of geographic scale and resolution. Generally, an that the representation of the surface can be
inventory proceeds from a regional scale to a local as accurate as possible and the features and
level of detail. This hierarchical structure is used patterns of natural factors shown without
to place the planning area into its larger environ- unnecessary abstraction or generalization.
mental context and to enhance the decision- Although the increased use of digital geo-
makers ability to see relationships that may exist graphic information systems (GIS) has
between the planning area and the larger regional reduced some of the concerns regarding
landscape. The drainage basin at the regional level scale, every map product, whether stored in
and the watershed (or sub-basin) at the local level a machine environment or printed on paper,
serves as the ideal natural delimiting feature for will posses a level of resolution (the smallest
ecological planning and analysis (Steiner, 1991; ground area that will be treated as an object
McHarg, 1969). Recall that a drainage basin is that can be represented on the map) as a func-
identied by locating the drainage divides be- tion of its scale that will direct how objects
tween channels of a particular order through the can be represented and symbolized.
use of contour (elevation) data and runoff pat- 2 Projection the characteristics of a particu-
terns. Since the drainage basin is delineated on the lar map are determined by the projection on
basis of physiographic and hydrologic criteria, it which it is plotted. The retention of shape,
creates a practical reference for connecting natural equivalence, direction, or distance are im-
and cultural attributes that facilitates system portant considerations when deciding upon
representations. The drainage perimeter has also the purpose of a map. Retaining one charac-

teristic generally results in the distortion of be systematic so that it can be applied easily.
other potentially important characteristics. Lastly, the inventory must be multidimensional
For mid-latitude regions, conic projections and give reasonable consideration to the totality
such as the Lambert or Albers projection are of the signicant environment.
commonly used on base maps, although The key decisions affecting how an inventory
other options are possible. may be compiled relate to the choice of elements
3 Locational reference Before maps can be and the appropriate level of detail that will
prepared that actually portray the locations effectively communicate their importance. The
of surface objects, a means of determining important factors to consider when planning the
location must be selected. Locational sys- inventory include: (1) the general characteristics of
tems can include latitude and longitude as the planning area, (2) the objectives and socioeco-
well as more specic reference grids such as nomic implications of the inventory, (3) the
the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) size of the planning area, and (4) the availability
grid system, or the State Plane Coordinate and quality of data. With reference to information
System. content, processing, and purpose, a resource in-
4 Medium traditionally mapped data were ventory can be targeted at three interrelated levels:
compiled and printed on paper or polyester A reconnaissance level appropriate for
lm. While maps placed on these media are describing regional patterns or elements
still very common and useful, the emergence that characterize large-scale regional trends.
of digital cartography and GIS together with A semi-detailed meso-scale level oriented
the advent of the worldwide web (www), toward general planning questions with
has introduced new source material for map more specic data needs.
compilation and display. Selection of map A detailed site-specic level required for
media must be taken into consideration since localized analysis involving siting decisions
this simple decision will inuence the ease of and the assessment of environmental
data storage, stability, accessibility, perma- impact.
nence, and ease of update and error correc- Although exhaustive collection of information
tion. While inventory data may be collected may not be required in all cases, concentrating on
from a variety of sources including eld those elements that supply information that de-
surveys and sampling, data are likely to be ne the planning area makes it possible to map
assembled and compiled into a digital form elements into homogeneous regions, and dene
for computer storage and processing. For elements in a clear and simple manner (Gonzalez-
this reason, digital formats are preferred and Alonso, 1995).
provide greater exibility when compared to
traditional map media.
Documenting the inventory
With a base map selected, the inventory can
proceed as an exercise in data collection, data The data selected and collected in the inventory
compilation, and geographic description and must be assembled into a format that will give
mapping. Since the inventory explains the rst decision-makers a clear indication of the land-
technical phase in the sequence on which scapes signicance and outline the main implica-
planning depends, the compilation of inventory tions that should direct future use. Therefore, the
elements is directed by the information content inventory and the recommendations that grow
of each data item. To be useful, it is essential that from it provide a basis for subsequent analysis
the information presented in the inventory meets and for raising questions concerning specic fea-
three fundamental requirements (Gonzalez- tures of the landscape, such as:
Alonso, 1995). First, it must be comprehensive its susceptibility to modication
and gaps in the information should be avoided its stability
wherever possible. Secondly, the inventory must its aesthetic qualities
L A N D S C A P E I N V E N T O R Y A N D A N A LY S I S 97

its conservation value Table 5.2 General resource inventory contents.

its opportunities and constraints. I. Introduction
Based on these points, it can be seen that an inven- a) site description
tory represents more than simply an exercise in b) purpose of inventory
data collection. It provides an initial assessment of c) table of contents
site characteristics that allows the potential of an II. History of Site and General Information
area to be critically examined. Therefore, to be a) land ownership patterns
useful, a detailed evaluation of each factor to- b) existing land use
c) aesthetic qualities and special features
gether with a series of planning recommendations
d) general planning recommendations
should accompany the discussion. This form of
cursory evaluation identies the issues, concerns, III. Natural Site Conditions
a) geology
possibilities, and limitations that are associated b) vegetation
with each natural factor, and allows options to be c) soils
entertained without specic goals or objectives in d) hydrology
mind that might otherwise limit thinking. e) climate
With respect to documentation, the ultimate f) wildlife habitat
goal of an inventory is to produce an organized IV. Summary of Planning Recommendations
and concise review of the pertinent material that a) review of planning considerations
b) recommended uses
clearly describes the planning area in both a narra-
c) development constraints
tive and graphic form. An inventory is typically d) other limitations
divided into ve major sections beginning with
an introduction and proceeding systematically
through each thematic factor. A generic outline
presenting the basic structure and contents of a inventory is interpreted. Using this discussion
natural resource inventory is given in Table 5.2. as a backdrop, this section of the inventory may
Each section in this document has a specic pur- conclude with a review of general planning
pose and establishes the background needed to recommendations that have been derived from
proceed to the sections that follow. The logic be- the analysis of data inventoried. Although a more
hind this design is simple. Beginning with the detailed treatment of these recommendations will
introduction, an overview of the planning area is follow later in the document, a general summary
offered and the purpose and scope of the inven- is presented here to help frame the material that is
tory is explained. Information presented in the introduced in the sections to follow.
introduction establishes the site and situational The next major section of the inventory can be
context of the planning area and helps communi- considered to form the heart of the document. In
cate a sense of place. With the general charac- this section the detailed information pertaining to
teristics of the regional setting described, the the natural site conditions selected for examina-
decision-maker has a reconnaissance-level per- tion are presented. While the sequence or order
spective of the planning area. Moving from this may vary, generally a ground-up approach is
general overview, the section that follows can in- used. This approach allows the environmental
troduce the human and cultural factors that dene factors that dene the planning area to unfold in a
the area, along with a brief historical treatment of manner that facilitates an understanding of factor
the region to document its origins and suggest its interactions and interrelationships.
evolution. In this section emphasis is also given to The nal substantive section of the inventory
aesthetic qualities and known management prob- contains recommendations regarding the present
lems that exist within the planning area. The prob- state and the potential concerns surrounding each
lems identied in this section can include a range factor. This section is critical to the success of the
of social, economic, and environmental issues that inventory, particularly if it is to have value as a
should be recognized as the information in the basis for goal-setting and plan-making. Recom-

mendations address the particular types of use, Natural environmental

pattern of development, design concerns, and factors
locational constraints that where identied dur-
ing the inventory and analysis process. The con-
cept of a constraint is particularly important to Land
this purpose. Constraints can explain environ-
mental limitations evident with respect to a given
factor, from expansive soils, ood risk, slope insta- Land
bility, and sensitive habitats, to historic sites, cul- qualities
tural amenities, and areas of scenic value. Each
constraint is documented and the overall devel-
opmental suitability of the planning area for fu- Land
ture use is described in relation to how each factor suitability
imparts its inuence. Although recommendations
are merely suggestions, they often identify impor-
tant alternatives that can be better accommodated capability
Technical Political
by the site given its biophysical and socioeconom- and and
ic characteristics. Moving the inventory into a social economic
more coherent expression of opportunity or con- factors Land factors
straint directs our attention to the methods of land value
evaluation and analysis.

land use
Land evaluation and analysis
Fig. 5.1 The general method of land evaluation.
A large tract of land is being considered for
some form of use. The question is what use is best
suited for that area. This is the general question an existing use should be protected against
that guides the land evaluation process and the changes that are difcult to reserve, the natural
methods that have been developed to assess environmental factors that dene the regional
the tness of land for development. However, landscape are subjected to six interpretative
numerous environmental factors inuence the stages that when completed yield an expression of
development process and require careful evalua- the optimum conguration of land use within the
tion. From topography, surface drainage, climate, planning area (McRae & Burnham, 1981). The
and soil, to the incidence of natural hazard, and stages dening this evaluative process are illus-
disease, a range of environmental characteristics trated in Fig. 5.1. By denition land evaluation is
affect the current as well as the future state of the the process of estimating the potential of land for
landscape system and impart some direct inu- alternative uses (Dent & Young, 1981). Through
ence on the land use placed at a given location. this evaluation process a comparison is made be-
Consequently, there are considerable benets to tween the requirements of specic types of use
be realized from a simultaneous assessment of the and the resources offered by the environment to
landscape factors critical to the sustainable use of support them. Fundamental to the evaluation pro-
the planning area. The regional landscape inven- cedure is the widely understood fact that differing
tory is the rst phase in this more comprehensive land uses will dene differing requirements. Since
process of landscape evaluation. nearly all human activities use land to some de-
Drawing from the fundamental principles that gree, the opportunities and limitations of this in-
(1) land should be used for the purposes for which creasingly scarce resource must be translated into
it is best suited and that (2) land of high value for a form that can aid decision-making (McRae &
L A N D S C A P E I N V E N T O R Y A N D A N A LY S I S 99

Burnham, 1981). Land evaluation is the methodol- As an analytic tool, a land evaluation may be
ogy designed to achieve this objective. presented in terms that are qualitative, quantita-
As a general methodology, land evaluation can tive, physical, or economic (Dent & Young, 1981).
be conducted directly by trial and error, or indi- A qualitative evaluation is one in which the
rectly through the application of an analytical suitability of land for alternative purposes is
approach that attempts to explain or predict land expressed in qualitative terms only. For example,
performance under specic categories of use. The observation of land areas based on soil, slope, and
logic that makes land evaluation possible relates distance criteria may suggest that a given land
to the fact that land varies in its physical and area, because of its soil type, steepness of slope,
human-geographic properties. Therefore, this and distance from major roads, may be of mar-
inherent variation should affect land use, sug- ginal value for a particular type of crop produc-
gesting that given a proposed use, some land areas tion. Therefore, the use of terms such as highly,
are more appropriate in physical and/or econom- moderate, or marginally suitable or not suitable
ic terms. This observable variation is in part sys- when considering a specic type of use imply
tematic with denite and knowable causes. qualitative judgments have been made to place
Because causal inuences can be known, the vari- land into one of these categories. Typically, quali-
ation, whether expressed in physical, political, tative evaluations are employed mainly at a recon-
economic, or social terms, can be mapped. Fur- naissance scale, or as a preliminary to more
thermore, the behavior of the land when subjected detailed investigations. While the results of this
to a given use can be predicted with some degree type of land evaluation may be highly general-
of certainty, depending on the quality of data and ized, it permits the integration of many environ-
the depth of knowledge relating land to land use. mental, social, and economic factors.
Hence land suitability for various actual and pro- Quantitative physical evaluations provide
posed uses can be systematically described so that numerical estimates of the benets to be expected
decision-makers can apply these predictions to from the use of land. Quantitative evaluation
guide their decisions. is most frequently carried out as the basis for
Providing this specialized information is the economic evaluation, where results are expressed
function of land evaluation and information be- in terms of prot and loss. Here, monetary values
comes a key ingredient in this process. Typically are applied to data from quantitative measures to
three sources of information are required: (1) land, obtain cost expressions and to derive prot and
(2) land use, and (3) economics. Land data is loss treatments of inputs and outputs. However,
obtained directly from the natural resource Dent and Young (1981) note that an economic
inventory. Information regarding the ecological evaluation is not strictly conned to prot and loss
and technical requirements of various land-use considerations. Other consequences such as the
types is acquired from the subject areas that have environmental or social can be included and
developed applied and theoretical knowledge re- combined with economic data as a basis for
lated to each category. Economic data may not be decision-making.
necessary if the results of an evaluation are needed Regardless of the type of evaluation con-
to address purely physical issues; then only gener- ducted, the goal of evaluation is to predict change
al economic and social patterns are required. and to provide better insight concerning the con-
However, if the results are required in strict eco- sequences of a development plan. Thus, as a plan-
nomic terms, then data on specic costs and prices ning tool, land evaluation becomes a necessity
is needed (Dent & Young, 1981). These data needs wherever changing the landscape is contem-
coupled with the observation that direct evalua- plated (Dent & Young, 1981). Prediction, in this
tion methods tend to be of limited value unless context, directs attention to the concept of suitabil-
large amounts of data can be collected, support ity. Generally, all land evaluation procedures
the use of indirect evaluation techniques (McRae attempt to express this idea and relate it either
& Burnham, 1981). qualitatively or quantitatively to alternative types

of land uses. Therefore, given different forms of data through the use of specic analytic tech-
use, with varying environmental opportunities niques and models to derive expressions of
and constraints, land evaluation methods strive to suitability or constraint.
produce an expression of suitability that can be 4 Plan formulation explaining the integration
used to direct how land should be utilized. Using of land evaluation and ecological assessment
this expression, a comparison is made between results into the policy-making process.
the requirements of the contemplated land use(s) Connecting data to the plan is accomplished
and the qualities of the land that are present to through the application of one or more evaluative
support it. The suitability of land can be assessed (analytic) techniques. With each technique
and expressed in several ways. Three of the more adopted, certain assumptions or conventions are
common include: (1) capability, (2) suitability, and assumed that inuence how well a given method
(3) value. A variety of analytic techniques have can be applied and its results interpreted
been introduced to perform regional landscape (McAllister, 1986). When one is conducting an
analysis and land evaluation that apply these assessment of a plan or design, assessment
terms as a control which directs the future use of typically implies that a comparison is being
land resources (McAllister, 1986; Anderson, 1980; made between two states, one of which is the con-
Steiner et al., 1994; Davidson, 1992). dition that will result from implementing the plan.
The effect of the proposal can be examined by
Methods of landscape 1 The original state existing before the action
assessment was taken, referred to as the baseline state.
2 The state that would have evolved in the
Techniques for regional landscape evaluation and absence of the action.
analysis are general tools that assist with the task 3 A goal or target state.
of assembling a large number of important land- 4 The ideal state.
scape variables into an expression that can be used The appropriateness or suitability of a proposal,
to direct decision-making. Through integration, therefore, relates to how well the various states
data from diverse sources can be interpreted, eval- compare. Thus, given baseline conditions, one
uated, and communicated in a manner that guides asks how closely the goal state, ideal state, and the
the process of choosing among alternatives and non-action state agree.
identifying optimal patterns that maximize bene- Not all assessment methods provide the same
ts and reduce or avoid costs. More importantly, level of comparison. Generally, differences among
these techniques complement the method of methods are revealed by the way they address
regional landscape analysis applied in environ- concerns related to the categorical descriptions
mental planning. This method, derived from the used to estimate and report natural factors and ef-
procedures outlined previously by McHarg (1969) fects, the manner by which magnitude and signi-
and Steinitz (1977), dene a combination of proce- cance of change is estimated, and the procedures
dures which form a model that describes the used to derive ratings intended to indicate the rel-
general process. The four main phases of this ative importance of each factor. With reference to
model are as follows: the description of factors included in the selected
1 Inventory describing the compilation of methodology, the fundamental rule for selecting
data on natural environmental conditions to categories is that they must be mutually exclusive
serve as critical baseline information on and exhaustive. Concerning the question of
which further analysis may draw. magnitude and signicance, mathematical or
2 Data interpretation explaining the process statistical procedures are considered to be the
of categorizing inventory data to dene most reliable means of estimation. However, in
patterns and trends. both cases, assessment relies heavily on the use of
3 Data synthesis denes the combination of expert judgment. This is particularly the case in
L A N D S C A P E I N V E N T O R Y A N D A N A LY S I S 101

situations where: (1) scientically valid proce- Table 5.3 Characteristics of land rating schemes.
dures are lacking, (2) data needed to implement a Scaling method Characteristics
procedure does not exist, or (3) where cost factors
prohibit the use of certain procedures. The ques- Simple rating method A set of guidelines or standardized
procedures are followed in
tion of measurement can be addressed in a num- assigning judgmental
ber of ways. First, the notion of rating implies either importance scores
a subjective or quantitative ordering of a variable.
Constant value weight Rating applied to each unit of a
Therefore, one distinction considers the source of given type of impact
the rating. Ratings can be derived from a variety
Scaled value weight Derived from a mathematical
of sources: measurable physical characteristics, function, they are used to avoid
monetary values, or expert judgment (McAllister, possible inaccuracies of
1986). Finally, rating type describes the general ap- constant weights
proach that was used to scale qualities, quantities, Rescaled impact weight Scaled weights adjusted by expert
or effects. Four scaling methods frequently ap- judgment; used to overcome
plied in environmental assessment include (1) factor dependencies problems
simple, (2) constant, (3) scaled value weight, and
(4) rescaled weight. The general characteristics of
these rating schemes are summarized in Table 5.3. ity analysis, (2) methods of developmental suit-
A more detailed discussion of these approaches ability analysis, (3) methods of carrying capacity
can be found the McAllister (1986). analysis, and (4) methods of land evaluation
Recognizing the distinctions that exist among and site assessment. Each of these techniques is
various assessment techniques available helps the reviewed below.
planner identify the approach that will produce
the most meaningful results. In general an assess-
ment technique should be: Land capability analysis
Systematic any technique must be system-
atic to ensure that the results it provides are Land capability analysis is a technique designed
replicable. to classify land units based on their ability to sup-
Simple the techniques selected should not port general categories of use. The term capability
be overly complex. has specic meaning in this context. When used in
Quick the techniques must be able to reference to land, capability implies that a given
generate useful results within a reasonable area, due to its inherent characteristics, may be
length of time. qualied for a specic type of use (i.e. agriculture,
Inexpensive the techniques should not open space, urban). Determining the qualica-
impose unnecessary costs. tions land must possess to be considered appro-
Legally acceptable the techniques should priate relies on relating the land area to a set of
conform to the various legal and administra- environmental factors that inuence how well a
tive requirements to which it is subject. given land use will perform. The environmental
Comprehensive the techniques should be factors typically employed in capability analysis
capable of incorporating all of the relevant include soil erosion potential, susceptibility to
factors important to the decision-maker. ooding, climate, and slope stability, together
While strict adherence to these points may not be with other factors that stand to degrade the utility
possible in all situations, they focus attention on and productivity of land. The analysis of land
the practical aspects of the analysis problem and capability, therefore, requires an evaluation of the
offer some insight to help evaluate whether a degree of limitation posed by permanent or semi-
certain technique is feasible or not. The methods permanent attributes of land to one or more land
available to the environmental planner fall within uses (Davidson, 1992). The logic guiding analysis
four broad categories: (1) methods of land capabil- is comparatively simple. Capability is based on

the premise that as the degree of constraint gomery (1961). The USDA method employs a
increases, land should be allocated to lower cate- three-tier structure in its classication system:
gories or less intensive forms of use. Although Tier 1, Capability Class the top level in the
this technique was originally developed to assist classication with a total of eight classes de-
with agricultural planning and designed to help ned and labeled I to VIII inclusive, indicat-
identify agricultural land uses that would not con- ing the degree of limitation in descending
tribute to environmental degradation, the concept order of severity.
of capability is exible enough to permit broader Tier 2, Capability Subclass indicating the
interpretations. type of limitation encountered within the
There are two principal ways whereby land class, these subclass designations identify
capability can be assessed. One example is limitations such as erosion hazard, climate,
through the use of categorical systems. Categori- fertility, or excess water that restrict the use
cal systems are implemented by testing the values of land. The limitations recognized at the
of appropriate soil and site properties against cri- subclass level are:
teria for a set of land-use categories. Site condi- Subclass e (erosion), dening soils where
tions are compared against these evaluative susceptibility to erosion is the dominant
criteria and if the minimum criteria are not met, limitation.
then the land area in question automatically falls Subclass w (excess water), explaining
to the next class and the process repeats until a conditions of poor soil drainage, wetness,
match is identied. Land characteristics are then high water table, and overow as the domi-
tested against less stringent criteria as the evalua- nant limitation.
tion process continues through the classication Subclass s (soil), describing soils that have
system until a category is identied where all the limitations associated with shallowness,
criteria are satised. A second means of deriving low moisture-holding capacity, or salinity.
an estimate of land capability is through the use of Subclass c (climate), identifying land where
parametric systems. Parametric systems apply climatic conditions limit land use.
mathematical formulas to combine site properties Tier 3, Capability Unit a subdivision of the
into a quantitative expression. Although paramet- subclass where the variation in degree or
ric systems differ in respect to the factors that are type of limitation is similar across soil type.
included for mathematical manipulation, three Thus within the same narrow range of envi-
general approaches are common: ronmental conditions, capability units de-
1 Additive systems of the form P = A + B + C ne land areas that share a similar response
2 Multiplicative systems of the form P = A B to management and improvement practices.
C Soil and climate limitations in relation to the
3 Complex systems of the form P = A (B + C) use and management of soils are the basis for dif-
D. ferentiating capability classes. Assigning land
In each of the examples listed above, P is the para- areas to capability units, capability subclasses,
metric rating or score and A, B, C, and D represent and capability classes is conducted on an evalua-
soil and site properties. The basic features of cate- tion of 8 environmental factors. These are summa-
gorical and parametric approaches are examined rized in Table 5.4. The assignment process itself
below. is based on a series of assumptions that have
been discussed in detail by Klingebiel and
Montgomery (1961). When carefully applied to
Capability classication
a well-dened problem, land areas falling within
A variety of land capability classication tech- one of the eight classes can be described and
niques have been introduced (Davidson, 1992). mapped accordingly (Davidson, 1992):
Perhaps the best known of these is the USDA Class I: soils with few limitations that restrict
method formalized by Klingebiel and Mont- their use.
L A N D S C A P E I N V E N T O R Y A N D A N A LY S I S 103

Table 5.4 Criteria used for placing soils into Table 5.5 Advantages and disadvantages of the
capability classes. USDA system.

1. Ability of the soil to give plant response to use and Advantages:

management based on organic matter content, ease of Division into small number of ranked categories is easily
maintaining nutrients, percentage base saturation, understood
cation-exchange capacity, parent material, water holding Qualitative and suggests realistic approach given
capacity knowledge limitations
2. Texture and structure of the soil to the depth that Versatility
inuences the environment of roots and the movement of Easily applied
air and water A general-purpose classication system
3. Susceptibility to erosion Stresses adverse effects of poor management
4. Soil permeability Useful way of relating environmental information
5. Depth of soil material to layers inhibiting root penetration Results easily displayed on maps
6. Alkalinity
7. Physical obstacles
8. Climate
Interactions between limiting factors difcult to express
Division into too few categories overgeneralizes
Class II: soils with some limitations that Implied ranking suggests true land value
reduce capability. Fails to include socioeconomic factors
Emphasizes limitations rather than lands positive potential
Class III: soils with some severe limitations
Difcult to use where reliable soil information is lacking
that require special management.
Class IV: soils with very severe limitations
that restrict certain activities and require imprecision and subjectivity must be balanced,
special management. however, by the exibility such categorical sys-
Class V: soils with little or no erosion hazard tems offer. Flexibility of use has contributed to the
but with other limitations that restrict exten- design of similar measurement frameworks in
sive activities. Canada, Great Britain, and the Netherlands, each
Class VI: soils with very severe limitations modeled after the USDA approach (Davidson,
and that are unsuitable for cultivation and 1992).
restrict use to pasture and range.
Class VII: soils with very severe limitations
Parametric methods
that make them unsuited to cultivation and
restrict use to woodland or wildlife. Dividing land into a small number of categories
Class VIII: soils and landforms with limita- that are mutually exclusive and supposedly ex-
tions that preclude their commercial viabili- haustive imposes an articial structure that does
ty and restrict use to recreation, aesthetic, or not correspond well with the variability inher-
watershed purposes. ent to complex environmental interactions. By
Implementing the USDA method is largely relaxing the need for discrete classication and
subjective since the criteria for establishing class replacing nominal categorization of land with
limits are not generally specied. Therefore, the continuous scale assessment, more realistic re-
technique can be considered a formal representa- sults can be obtained (McRae & Burnham, 1981).
tion of expert-technical judgment. Although the Applying parametric techniques in a land capabil-
results can be useful, the advantages and disad- ity analysis involves:
vantages associated with land capability classi- 1 Establishing a land unit to assess.
cation must be well understood in order to guide 2 Obtaining the required data.
its appropriate application. The strengths and 3 Developing the appropriate measurements
limitations of the USDA method have been for that data.
examined by McRae and Burnham (1981) and are 4 Translating the raw measured data into a
summarized in Table 5.5. Problems related to coding or rating scale.

Table 5.6 Calculation of the Storie Index Rating System. reduced subjectivity
Index parameters:
ease of adaptation
Factor A Rating based on characteristics of physical prole attractive simplicity
Factor B Rating based on surface texture amenability to computer manipulation.
Factor C Rating based on slope The main limitations are related to concerns
Factor X Rating based on other site conditions surrounding
Index calibration: Percent: misleading impressions of accuracy
Soil type X brown upland soil with calibration difculties
shale parent material and depth Factor A = 70.0 parameter inconsistencies.
to bedrock at 90 cm
An alternative means of evaluating land shifts the
clay loam texture Factor B = 85.0 focus from capability to the concept of develop-
rolling topography Factor C = 90.0 mental suitability.
moderate sheet erosion Factor X = 70.0

Index rating: Developmental suitability

SIR = 0.70 0.85 0.90 0.70 = 0.37 or 37%
Source: Adapted from McRae and Burnham (1981).
Developmental suitability may be dened as the
tness of a given tract of land for a well-dened
5 Performing the desired mathematical com- use (Steiner, 1983). When compared to the concept
bination of measured properties. of capability, suitability explains the condition
6 Applying the resulting scores to the entire where a singular use is described that is the most
planning area. appropriate use for a site in the landscape. There-
A selection of additive, multiplicative and fore, while capability narrows the search for
complex schemes has been reviewed in detail by alternative land uses that may be qualied,
McRae and Burnham (1981). Perhaps the most suitability renes this search further to identify
widely known parametric method is the Storie the single use that ts with the environmental con-
Index Rating System (Storie, 1978). This multi- ditions present at a given location. To illustrate
plicative system computes a land-quality rating this important terminological distinction, con-
index based on the general relation sider the example of a county that is exploring
options for currently undeveloped land areas.
SIR = A B C D (5.1)
The county wishes to identify what uses might be
Where: appropriate and seeks workable alternatives.
A = character of the soil prole Through the application of land capability analy-
B = texture of surface soil sis, broad categories of general land use are iden-
C = slope tied that suggest where land may be qualied
D = miscellaneous factors (i.e. drainage, to support urban, agricultural, and recreational
alkalinity). uses. Within each of these categories, develop-
Ratings for each factor are provided and ex- mental suitability analysis is performed to deter-
pressed as percentage scores in Storie (1978). An mine which specic types of urban, recreational,
example of the scores applied in a hypothetical and agricultural uses are the most appropriate.
calculation are shown in Table 5.6. Thus within the general land-use category of
As with the categorical approach, parametric urban, suitability analysis can suggest which
systems possess important advantages and disad- areas may best support residential, commercial,
vantages that should be understood before these or industrial forms of development.
methods are applied. The main advantages of Variations in the degree of suitability are deter-
these systems when compared to categorical mined by the relationship, actual or anticipated,
methods include: between benets and the required inputs associ-
L A N D S C A P E I N V E N T O R Y A N D A N A LY S I S 105

ed in map form and combined cartographically so

Landscape attributes that when viewed collectively they provide in-
sight into the type of use intrinsically suited to that
location. This generalized procedure for conduct-
ing a developmental suitability analysis has been
described by Lein (1990). In nearly all cases, ob-
taining an expression of suitability becomes a
function of the analysts associative logic when re-
lating landscape qualities as indicators of con-
straint to a specic developmental design. As
noted by Lein (1990), this method of analysis con-
tributes to the common practice of compiling a se-
Suitability analysis model ries of data maps each representing a selected
environmental theme or variable, interpreting a
combined pattern, and drawing conclusions from
their composite prole. However, the practical
limitations of complex manual overlaying opera-
tions, coupled with the inability to consistently
conrm the results obtained through visual in-
spection of superimposed map surfaces, gave
way to alternative procedures (Hopkins, 1977;
Steiner, 1983; Bailey, 1988).
Recommended land uses At present, 7 general approaches to develop-
mental suitability analysis have been introduced
Fig. 5.2 The suitability analysis lter. (Table 5.7). With some variations, an algorithm is
typically applied to a set of environmental vari-
ables and produces an expression of suitability
ated with the use in question for the tract of land through either direct or implied mathematical op-
under consideration (Brinkman & Smyth, 1973). erations. The environmental variables selected for
Focused on the concept of suitability, effective inclusion in the suitability algorithm are assigned
analysis depends on the techniques that make some type of value, rating, score, or weight. Using
systematic use of environmental information these numerical approximations of tness, devel-
and relate the condition of the environment to the opmental suitability is derived as a function of
activity it is proposed to accommodate (Ortolano, cross-factor addition or multiplication of these
1986). In this context, suitability analysis can be numerical expressions as dictated by the respec-
looked upon as a lter, where land-use require- tive algorithm. The cross-factor results are then
ments are passed through an environmental assembled into an arbitrarily derived classica-
screen. Land uses passing through this screen can tion scheme to allow a portrait of developmental
be considered the most suitable for the site under suitability to take form (Lein, 1990).
consideration (Fig. 5.2). Several algorithms are available to assist with
Identifying the potential opportunities or con- the analysis of developmental suitability, and
straints of a site requires selection of those land- most have been extended to take advantage of the
scape attributes that would support or inuence map-data processing capabilities of a geographic
the functioning and sustainability of the activity information system. Six common methods have
under consideration. A variety of techniques have been reviewed extensively in the environmental
been proposed to perform a suitability assessment planning literature: (1) the Gestalt method, (2) the
(Hopkins, 1977; Fabos, and Caswell, 1977). Tradi- method or ordinal combination, (3) the linear
tionally, selected landscape attributes are depict- combination method, (4) the nonlinear combina-

Table 5.7 General methods for developmental times soil does not equal slope. Another important
suitability analysis. assumption is that rating or scoring schemes can
Method Description be applied uniformly across factor levels. Finally,
it is generally assumed that subjectively derived
Gestalt method Determination of suitability classes
through eld observation, air
weights are exible given changing environmen-
photo interpretation, or tal conditions.
topographic maps without These assumptions, however, lack absolute va-
consideration of individual lidity. This fact tends to frustrate the scientic as-
environmental factors pects of suitability assessment and implies that the
Ordinal combination Mapping the distribution of land majority of combinatorial techniques are invalid
types, subjectively rating their when viewed critically or insufcient if used as the
suitability, then physically
sole means for expressing developmental con-
overlaying each map to describe
a composite suitability prole straint. Of course, if these or similar techniques are
invalid or awed, then why are they used in prac-
Linear combination Rating and weighting
environmental factors, then
tice? There are several responses to this question.
applying an algorithm to produce First, it is important to recognize that environmen-
a mathematical expression of tal planning is as much an art as it is a science.
tness Therefore, while we may strive to develop analytic
Nonlinear combination Use of a nonlinear function to tools that embrace the rigor and objectivity of pure
combine ratings into a suitability science, our reality is a blend of imprecise concepts
score coupled with environmental relations that defy
Factor combination Modication of the Gestalt method exact quantication (Lein, 1993b). Consequently,
to accommodate interdependence techniques that perform composite landscape as-
among factors sessments should not be looked upon as a calculus
Clustering Application of statistical clustering of certainty, but rather as simplifying tools that re-
algorithms to nd natural grouping duce the complexity of the planning problem to a
among environmental variables
more manageable set of conditions. By keeping
Logical combination The use of rule and heuristics to this point in mind, the planner may apply these
assign suitability scores to techniques and use technical judgment effectively
environmental factors
within its proper context. Suitability analysis,
though conducted using addition, multiplication,
or some other logical operation on a set of environ-
tion method, (5) the Rules of Combination mental conditions, is not an exercise in mathemat-
method, and (6) statistical grouping techniques ics. Instead it characterizes an algebra involving
(Hopkins, 1977; Anderson, 1980; Lein, 1990). symbol manipulation whose logic must be clear
While the intent of each technique is to provide an and explicit to ensure that its results are interpret-
objective measure of suitability, each of the proce- ed correctly. For this reason, developmental suit-
dures introduced tends to be based on a common ability analysis represents an expert judgment
set of assumptions. First is the assumption that method of evaluation (McAllister, 1986). As an ex-
landscape factors are independent. This implies ercise in the guided use of expert judgment, the
that environmental parameters do not share func- general methods used to express suitability and
tional relationships. We know, however, that land- form a geographic pattern of landscape opportu-
scape variables are greatly interdependent. Next nity and constraint can be examined.
is the assumption that mathematical properties
hold when assigned values are compared across
Gestalt methods
factor levels. Here, the implication is that adding
or multiplying variables creates mathematically The Gestalt concept when applied to develop-
valid results. We understand, however, that three ment suitability analysis requires consideration of
L A N D S C A P E I N V E N T O R Y A N D A N A LY S I S 107

the landscape as a whole rather than as an assem- opmental suitability of the planning region. The
blage of elements. Homogeneous regions are de- procedure begins by mapping a set of selected
termined through observation using data sources environmental variables according to specic
that characterize the landscape in its entirety, such categorical representations (i.e. soil types, slope
as aerial photographs, topographic maps, or eld classes, vegetation types). These mapped charac-
observations. From these sources, an expression teristics reect distinct dimensions along which
of suitability forms from a three-step process: variations between land parcels can be described.
1 The study area is partitioned by implicit Types mapped for each factor dene nominal
judgment into homogeneous land units labels used to place variables along a measure-
based on the interpretation of landscape ment dimension. For example, land use might be
patterns. typed according to well-recognized categories
2 A table is created that verbally explains the such as residential or industrial, while slope may
effects or constraints that will occur in each of be typed as low, moderate, high. The next step in
the regions should the potential land use be the process requires creating a cross-tabulation
located there. Each land unit is then evalua- table comparing factors to proposed or potential
ted and a relative score or grade is assigned. land uses. The elements of this simple two-
3 A set of maps, one for each land use, is pro- dimensional matrix are lled by entries dening
duced to show these regions in terms of their the relative suitability rating for each land use of
suitability. Value judgment is implicit and each type across all the factors. The ratings explain
can be expressed graphically for each land an ordinal scaling of all the characteristics of the
unit delineated on the map. type. For instance soil type might include consid-
The Gestalt technique yields valid or invalid ana- eration of its permeability, depth to water table,
lytic results depending on the skills of the analyst organic content, and pH, together with the com-
and the circumstances surrounding the project. parative costs of the land use it placed on the
Several problematic issues concerning this ap- type. These ratings, expressed according to an or-
proach to suitability assessment have been noted. dinal measurement scale, can be derived from a
First is the realization that the process is based on number of sources such as maps, reports, or expert
implicit judgment rather than explicit rules. As a judgment. From here, a series of factor maps can
consequence, the results can be difcult to evalu- be produced showing the suitability of the land-
ate since the methodology is not well docu- scape for each land use under review. The nal
mented. Therefore, the procedure relies on ones step in this process consists of physically overlay-
mental ability to assimilate many interactive ing the suitability maps of each individual factor
factors, which creates results that can be difcult for each land use to create a composite characteri-
to communicate to decision-makers. zation of suitability over the region. If the number
of factors is few, the visual interpretation of the
composite map is relatively straightforward.
Combinatorial methods
However, as the number of factors increases, the
Generating an expression of suitability using associative logic needed to draw effective inter-
combinatorial methods describes the general pro- pretations and recognize patterns in the data can
cedure of applying a mathematical operation di- confound meaningful interpretations. The great-
rectly or implicitly on a set of factor maps that est limitation of this approach, however, sur-
depict important landscape qualities. Three prin- rounds the implied addition of ordinal scale
cipal methods dominate this approach: (1) ordinal numbers and the assumed independence of fac-
combination, (2) linear combination, and (3) non- tors. These aws notwithstanding, the need to
linear combination. express suitability as a composite quality or score
Ordinal combination The ordination combi- that will evidence spatial variation and can be dis-
nation method explains a three-step procedure played geographically over the planning region is
that creates a composite map detailing the devel- clearly demonstrated by this approach.

Linear combination The logical aws inher-

Grouping techniques
ent in the ordinal combination method are avoid-
ed when the types with each factor are rated on An alternative strategy to suitability classication
separate interval scales. The ratings for each type that avoids issues surrounding factor indepen-
produced in this manner are typically multiplied dence and mathematical invalidity involves the
by a weight to reect the relative importance of use of the methods that dene homogeneous
that factor. The new weighted rating for a given regions explicitly. These techniques apply multi-
area is then added to produce a suitability score. variate statistical procedures to group or cluster
According to this approach, suitability becomes land units into regions based on measures of
the product of the linear combination of factors. similarity (Betters & Rubingh, 1978; Omi et al.,
As demonstrated by Hopkins (1977), multiplica- 1979; Cifuentes et al., 1995). Three multivariate
tion by weights can also be used to change the unit techniques have been shown to be particularly
of measure of the ratings by the ratio of the multi- useful: (1) cluster analysis, (2) discriminant analy-
plier, so that all ratings fall along the same interval sis, and (3) factor analysis/principal components
scale. analysis. When compared to judgment-based
Perhaps the most critical aspect of the linear methods of suitability analysis, multivariate
combination method considers the procedures techniques provide a rational framework for
used to rate factors. Although there are no formal analyzing the similarity of units that vary with re-
rules to guide the process, a logic is assumed that spect to numerous environmental conditions. In
aims to produce a rating that can be interpreted addition, these techniques rely on a numerical
meaningfully. Several schemes for deriving rat- treatment of data that implies direct measure-
ings are described by Largo (2001) and Hopkins ment across several dimensions. This type of ap-
(1977). Afamiliar rating scheme follows the analo- proach lends itself to more robust ordination and
gy of assigning grades to a set of examinations. produces results that can be easily represented
The rst step in this process requires establishing in map form.
a total possible suitability score. This value is di- As a procedure for determining developmen-
vided among various factors and each assumes tal suitability, multivariate methods require cer-
a given proportion of the total. Each type (class) tain information to guide the interpretation of
of each factor is then rated as to its suitability in results:
relation to the proportion of the total score 1 Criteria to assess suitability given a set of
assigned to the factor. Although the linear combi- possible uses, the criteria needed to ade-
nation method corrects the measurement prob- quately express suitability must be specied.
lems associated with ordinal approaches, the These criteria may involve selected environ-
problem of factor independence remains. Linear mental characteristics as well as other factors
combination methods are unable to address the considered relevant to the problem.
situation where the relative suitability for a spe- 2 Criteria to determine importance the crite-
cic land use of a type on one factor depends on ria developed to assess suitability will vary
the type on any of the other factors. Despite this in importance depending on the land use
drawback, applying the linear combination under consideration. These contrasts and
method can be justied on the grounds that: variations in importance should be exam-
Factors might be known a priori to be ined across all land uses.
independent. 3 Conditions that determine favorability for a
The method is cost effective and easy to given use given different land uses, the con-
implement. ditions of favorability may vary for each cri-
Factors typically used in the model terion, therefore each criterion may have a
can be deductively determined to be somewhat different set of conditions consid-
independent. ered advantageous or adverse to each use.
L A N D S C A P E I N V E N T O R Y A N D A N A LY S I S 109

4 Suitability classication scheme a classi- formation of the clusters as land units are grouped
cation system should be developed in accor- into similarity classes. This pattern is rened as
dance with the specied criteria. Above all, the clusters are examined and the statistical
the method of classication should be objec- groups are assigned to informational categories.
tive and provide for a hierarchical character- The interpretation of the cluster pattern and the
ization of suitability. naming of the resulting groups is a critical phase in
It is with this nal point, classication, that multi- this application. In general, interpretation relies
variate techniques make their contribution. on the use of judgment supported by the careful
examination of the means and variances on the en-
Suitability by clustering Cluster analysis denes a vironmental variables used as input. For example,
set of techniques for accomplishing the task of at the conclusion of an analysis it might be ob-
partitioning a set of objects into relatively homo- served that Cluster 1 displays a high mean on vari-
geneous subsets based on inter-object similarities. ables x2, x3, and x7, while Cluster 2 shows high
There are four strategies employed in a clustering mean values on variables x1, x5, x6. If variables x2,
procedure: x3, and x7 explain soil characteristics, then Cluster
1 Partitioning methods 1 may reect soil qualities or conditions. There-
2 Arbitrary origin methods fore, from these comparative proles of the input
3 Mutual similarity procedures variables the distinguishing qualities of the clus-
4 Hierarchical clustering methods. ters can be identied.
Although a discussion of each is beyond the scope
of this section, a detailed explanation of cluster Suitability by discriminant analysis Discriminant
analysis can be found in Davis (1986) and analysis is a procedure for identifying relation-
Kachigan (1986). ships between qualitative criterion variables and
Typically, clustering begins by measuring each quantitative predictor variables. The technique is
of a set of n-objects on a set of variables (k). Next, a particularly useful for identifying the boundaries
measure of similarity, distance, or difference is cal- between groups of objects, where the boundary is
culated and used to compare objects in the set. dened in terms of the characteristics of the crite-
Using these calculated similarity measures, an al- rion variables that distinguish (discriminate) the
gorithm expressing a specic sequence of rules is object in the respective criterion groups.
employed to cluster the objects into groups based Discriminant analysis is an adaptation of re-
on the inter-object similarities. The logic underly- gression analysis and is designed for situations
ing a given clustering algorithm is based on the as- where the criterion variable is qualitative. In
sumption that objects that are similar belong to the regression analysis an equation is solved that
same group. The ultimate goal of any clustering describes a weighted combination of values on
method is to arrive at a cluster pattern of objects various predictor variables. This equation enables
that displays small within-cluster variation, but prediction of an objects value on a quantitative
large between-cluster variation (Kachigan, 1986). criterion variable given its measure on each of the
The differences between the resultant clusters predictor variables. Asimilar concept is employed
(groups) can be interpreted by comparing each to in discriminant analysis, only here the equation is
their mean values on the input variables. The two called a discriminant function. The discriminant
main considerations that inuence the applica- function uses a weighted combination of predic-
tion of this technique and the selection of a spe- tor variables to classify an object into one of the cri-
cic clustering procedure relate to: (1) obtaining a terion variable groups. This function is therefore a
measure of inter-object similarity, and (2) specify- derived variable dened as the weighted sum of
ing a procedure for forming the clusters based on values on the individual predictor measurement.
the similarity measures. This derived variable is termed a discriminant
An expression of suitability develops out of the score.

The general form of the discriminant function 3 Direct the choice of meaningful variables in
can be expressed as: an analysis.
4 Assist visualization of multidimensional
= 1X1 + 2 X2 + . . . nXn , (5.2)
where X1, X2, . . . , Xn represent values on various 5 Identify underlying or latent structures in
predictor variables, while b1, b2, . . . bn explain data.
weights associated with each variable. The value l In the majority of applications, PCA is employed
denes an objects discriminant score. Central to to reduce the dimensionality of a data set and pro-
the application of this technique are the dening duce a set of components that are uncorrelated
characteristics or parameters that guide its use. and ordered in relation to the variance explained
These include: (1) the weights associated with by the original data. Following this procedure, en-
each predictor variable, and (2) the critical cut-off vironmental data describing important landscape
score for assigning objects into their criterion qualities can be represented as a matrix of the
groups. Typically, these parameters are deter- form:
mined in such a way as to minimize the number of
f1n f1p
classication errors.
Applying discriminant analysis involves the Fn = M M

following steps: fmn fmnp

1 Selecting from a tentative list of variables Where f 1n represent observations 1 . . . m with
those that contain the most useful classica- attributes n . . . p.
tory information. The matrix Fn can be linearly transformed to
2 Constructing the relevant disciminant contain a set of eigen vector components V1. The
functions or scores based on the selected resulting new variables, termed principal compo-
variables. nents, can be expressed according to the relation:
3 Interpreting the discriminant functions in
Vij = aij X1 + aij X2 + . . . aij Xn . (5.3)
order to identify factors that reect major
group differences. When the input data explain geographic qualities
4 Examining the discriminant functions in or quantities, the components express composite
order to study the effects of several variables spatial patterns that are dened in terms of
on an individuals group identity. component loadings. These loadings quantify the
5 Making the nal classication and validat- relationship each component shares with the
ing the results. underlying patterns found within the original
data. The principal component transform has
Suitability by factor methods Factor analysis de- several characteristics that are of special interest
scribes a family of procedures for removing the re- when applied to the problem of suitability analy-
dundancy from a set of correlated variables and sis. First, the total variance is preserved in the
representing these variables as a smaller set of transformation. Second, the transform minimizes
derived variables or factors. Perhaps one of the the mean square approximation of error. Lastly,
more applicable derivations of this approach is the this is the only transform that generates uncorre-
technique referred to as principal components lated coefcients.
analysis. An important issue that inuences the useful-
Although it is not strictly a method of factor ness of PCA relates to the problem of component
analysis, principal component analysis (PCA) is a structure and interpretation. After the reduction
multivariate statistical procedure used to deter- of observation space has been accomplished,
mine the underlying dimensionality of a data set. which initial variables contribute the greatest
The main objectives of the PCA transform are to: share in the variance is often difcult to deter-
1 Reduce the dimensionality of a data set. mine. Equally difcult to explain is the overall
2 Determine a linear combination of variables. meaning of the component patterns. Thus, regard-
L A N D S C A P E I N V E N T O R Y A N D A N A LY S I S 111

less of the application area, it is generally impos- Table 5.8 Sample rule in knowledge-based
sible to specify beforehand the number or signi- suitability system.
cance of the components that will emerge from IF:
PCA. Consequently, since PCA may be regarded Proposed use is single family dwelling
more as an exercise in mathematical manipulation AND septic system is YES
than a pure statistical procedure, its value is best AND soil_permeability is 2.0 to 0.2 inches/hour
judged by performance rather than by theoretical Soil_limitations are moderate
considerations. Therefore, interpretation of the re-
sulting components, their structure and meaning
relies on judgment, the use of supporting informa- Table 5.9 Sample conclusion window of
tion, and careful validation. suitability limitations.

Values based on 0.0 to 10.0 system

Extensions based on 1 ood limitations are. . . . Severe 10.0
articial intelligence 2 groundwater limitations are. . . . Severe 10.0
3 bedrock limitations are. . . . Moderate 9.0
The suitability analysis problem has attracted 4 slope limitations are. . . . Moderate 9.0
5 drainage limitations are. . . . Slight 8.0
interest from a variety of elds beyond environ-
mental planning. Several of the more promising
methodological approaches to assessment have
emerged from the eld of articial intelligence made up of rules and facts describing the suitabil-
(Lein, 1997). One AI technology in particular has ity of selected environmental characteristics rela-
been shown to be a viable alternative to tradition- tive to a set of potential users (Table 5.8). By
al methods of suitability analysis (Lein, 1990). This responding to a series of system queries, informa-
alternative identies a branch of AI research re- tion is returned to the user listing the alternatives
ferred to as expert systems. An expert system is that best match the environmental conditions of
a computer program designed to mimic the rea- the site (Table 5.9).
soning process of a human expert in a narrowly When compared to traditional methods of as-
dened subject area. Using this expert knowl- sessment and the limitations associated with each,
edge, the system can approach problems using the expert system becomes an attractive alterna-
symbolic forms of data and information process- tive that facilitates the synthesis of facts and quali-
ing and reach conclusions similar to those a tative experience into an automated support tool
human expert would reach. In a paper by Lein that can:
(1990), a rule-based expert system was developed Help clarify knowledge and effective
and applied to the suitability assessment problem. problem-solving strategies.
The system was designed to incorporate the sub- Preserve knowledge and encourage its
jective-technical judgment common to the proce- sharing.
dures discussed previously, and treat them Integrate knowledge and experience from
explicitly in the assessment process. The proto- several different elds.
type system functions as a consultative expert sys- Apply heuristic knowledge.
tem and uses a backward chaining inferencing A related AI technology that has been applied
strategy. The demonstration program consists of to the suitability analysis problems is the articial
110 rules, 223 qualiers, and 45 choices that guide neural network (Wang, 1994). Based on an abstrac-
the planner through an assessment of suitability. tion of the human brain, an articial neural net-
The primary intent of the prototype is to assist work is a mathematical model comprised of a
the planner in identifying relevant information series of highly interconnected computational ele-
and to direct the interpretation of effects. The user ments linked together to form a specic architec-
of this system interacts with a knowledge-base ture. From this structure, information is processed

according to a set of external inputs (stimuli). (Lein, 1993). Applying this expression, carrying
To demonstrate the feasibility of this approach, capacity can be integrated with a range of social
Wang (1994) developed a back-propagation neur- and economic indicators to dene an optimal
al network that takes as input a series of environ- level of development. Based on this optimum, the
mental variables then maps the input data to one environment may remain intact relative to its
of four suitability classes. Because neural network potential for sustained output. When one is con-
models are powerful pattern classiers, the are sidering the question of measurement, connec-
extremely useful in situations that dene high- ting the concept of carrying capacity back to its
dimensional problem spaces and complex inter- biological origins helps to frame an assessment
actions between variables. As illustrated by Wang methodology.
(1994), a neural network can assess land suitabili- In the biological sciences, carrying capacity de-
ty and provide classication accuracies of 80% or nes the relationship between the resource base,
better. Therefore, when neural networks are com- the assimilative and restorative capacity of the en-
pared to existing methods of analysis several vironment, and the biotic potential of a species.
advantages can be noted: The biotic potential of a species, dening the max-
1 They can be trained to make decisions based imum rate of population growth that could be
on a more complex decision rule. achieved given the number of females that reach
2 They are simple in structure and compara- and survive through their reproductive years, is
tively easy to construct. the controlling variable in this relationship. Biotic
3 They can be modied to t other potential, given adequate food supplies, living
applications. area, and the absence of disease and predation,
contributes to population increases that must be
balanced by the environmental system. In the
Carrying-capacity analysis ecosystem, environmental resistance regulates
biotic potential by imposing limits on food sup-
Carrying capacity has been a central concept in ply, space, and other inhibiting factors. Within this
planning and environmental management for relationship, carrying capacity emerges as the
well over three decades (Mitchell, 1989). The con- limit or level a species population size attains
cept emerged from the biological sciences, but given the environmental resistance indigenous to
when it is applied in the context of environmental its location.
planning, carrying capacity can be dened as the Whether it is explained within a biological
degree of human activity that a region can support context or from the perspective of a planner,
at an acceptable quality of life without engender- carrying capacity is inuenced by three critical
ing signicant environmental degradation assumptions:
(Bishop et al., 1974). Alternatively, Hayden (1975) 1 There are limits to the amount of growth and
and Cook (1972) have dened carrying capacity as development that the natural environment
the maximum ability of an environment to con- can absorb without threatening environ-
tinuously provide resources at the level required mental stability through environmental
by the population. Both denitions are valid and degradation.
suggest that the interaction between population, 2 Critical population thresholds can be iden-
development, and the local resource base is gov- tied beyond which continued growth will
erned by thresholds or levels of intensity that will trigger the deterioration of important natu-
inuence long-term sustainability. ral resources.
Arriving at an expression of carrying capacity 3 The natural capacity of a resource to absorb
has traditionally relied on the subjective judgment growth is not xed.
of those familiar with the region in question, cou- These assumptions have led to numerous attacks
pled with the measurement of surrogate estima- on the concept and the methodologies used to
tors that could be related in a statistical algorithm derive estimates of carrying capacity. Criticism
L A N D S C A P E I N V E N T O R Y A N D A N A LY S I S 113

tends to focus on questions concerning the deni- to problems where such measures can provide
tion of threshold levels, the representation of envi- meaningful information. Three useful expres-
ronmental equilibrium, and the manner by which sions of carrying capacity are:
carrying capacity estimates are interpreted (Lein, 1 Environmental carrying capacity dened
1993a). These concerns have been summarized by by biophysical characteristics (variables) in-
Hassan (1982), and recognize the fact that (1) it is cluding measures of air and water quality,
difcult to calculate environmental thresholds, (2) ecosystem stability, and soil erosion. These
external inuences can frustrate the closed- variables dene thresholds such as emission
system perspective and introduce uncertainty, standards, BOD, and net primary produc-
(3) strict concern for environmental potential tivity, that can be measured and linked by
limits the scope of analysis when applied to theory or empirical evidence to specic
human systems, and (4) assessment relies heavily consequences. Employing these measures
on subjective-professional judgment. allows careful examination of the assimila-
While the practical problems listed above con- tive capacity of the environment and the
spire to frustrate the simple estimation of carrying ability of environmental sinks to accom-
capacity, the concept remains a useful applied modate change.
methodology largely for its facility for: 2 Physical carrying capacity describing the
Raising questions about development capacity of infrastructure such as roads,
strategies. highways, water supply systems, landlls,
Providing insight regarding the relationship etc., to maintain an acceptable level of per-
between environmental degradation and formance under population growth and
human activities. development pressures. Because physical
Assisting in setting priorities in response to infrastructure is designed with specic
growth pressures. capacity levels in mind, growth forces can
Therefore, as Lein (1993a) maintains, the phil- exceed the predetermined optima and result
osophical appeal and heuristic value of the in a degradation of performance and envi-
carrying-capacity concept compensates for the ronmental quality.
pragmatic difculties encountered with its 3 Psychological carrying capacity directs
application. focus to the social environment and explains
The majority of methods designed to assess the role perception, attitude, behavior, and
carrying capacity (C) employ a deterministic solu- culture play in the way people react to their
tion to the general relation: surroundings. Embedded in this expression
are cultural and psychological factors that
C = f (potential resources, technology).
inuence individual behavior and responses
Two central conditions are implied by this relation to the quality and condition of amenity
and inuence the manner by which carrying ca- resources, recreational area, institutional
pacity estimates are derived: (1) identication of a settings, and the aesthetic aspects of the
growth variable, and (2) identication of a limit- environment.
ing factor. A growth variable can represent either
population or a measure of human activity such as
Making carrying capacity work
the number of new dwelling units per year or the
number of park visits per day (Ortolano, 1984). Admittedly, carrying capacity, while it is intuitive-
Limiting factors may include natural resources, ly appealing, is difcult to implement. However, it
physical infrastructure, or other nite elements can be used to help formulate plausible alterna-
that may restrain growth as a function of available tive scenarios for how a region may develop or to
technology. Limiting factors applied in carrying- rene a basic understanding of possible environ-
capacity assessments help dene three general ex- mental constraints. To operationalize an exercise
pressions of the concept and direct its application in carrying capacity analysis it is necessary to:

1 Identify the relevant growth variables and this chapter the collection and analysis of land-
limiting factors. scape information was examined. Drawing on the
2 Establish minimum and maximum values basic principles of regional landscape analysis
for each limiting factor. and the formulation of a natural resource inven-
3 Derive a quantitative link between limiting tory, this chapter described how land evaluation
factors and growth variables based on either methods can be applied by the environmental
mathematical models, empirical relation- planner and how this information can be used to
ships, or expert judgment. balance human development with the large goal
4 Develop growth scenarios to explain (char- of maintaining environmental functioning. The
acterize) the dynamics of the processes principal methods examined were land capability,
involved. developmental suitability, and carrying-capacity
5 Estimate the restrictions imposed by each analysis; and the ability of each to provide an ex-
limiting factor on the growth variable(s). pression of landscape opportunity or constraint
6 Review carrying-capacity estimates and was evaluated.
rene methods as needed until results com-
municate constraint effectively.
Although the procedures for applying the concept Focusing questions
to environmental planning are still evolving,
Ortolano (1984), Mitchell (1989), and Westman What does it mean to inventory a site and what
(1985) have reviewed several useful examples. does an inventory communicate?
Dene the process of land evaluation and dis-
cuss the two basic types of land evaluation
Summary method.
What is the ultimate goal of developmental
Before decisions can be made regarding the future suitability assessment methods and what are
state of the planning area, information pertaining the limitations associated with rating and
to the region must be collected, assembled, and weighting techniques?
analyzed. Because planning is an information- How do the terms suitability and capability dif-
driven activity, methods to manage information fer, and what does this difference mean?
and direct its use are critical to successful plans. In
Integrated Environmental Planning
James K. Lein
Copyright 2003 by Blackwell Publishing

Natural Hazard

Critical to the responsibilities of the planner is the to human control strategies are made many mag-
provision of a safe and healthful environment. nitudes more severe as a consequence of our
This particular responsibility directs attention in management efforts. The alternative paradigm of
part to efforts designed to minimize risk and re- planning with nature rather than attempting to
duce vulnerability to natural hazards. In Chapter tame it encourages sustainable solutions to haz-
4 we briey examined a set of natural processes ard management and more realistic programs to
that by virtue of their incidence describe hazards reduce vulnerability (Burby, 1998). In this chapter
to human populations that share a common geo- we will examine the nature of hazard and explain
graphic location. These processes, while deemed the relationship between natural hazards and
hazards by people, have always existed, and sim- environmental planning.
ply dene events that shape the earths surface
and identify earth-system responses to the dy-
namics of climate, geology, and hydrology that Dening hazards and risk
explain the realities of a living planet. Therefore,
the environment is not hazardous as much as it is a The terms hazard and risk are applied in close
challenge to human populations that seek to use association but are often used imprecisely with
its resources where the presence of certain natural different implicit meanings. A hazard can be de-
events introduces an element of risk to life and ned as the potential to cause an adverse effect
property. From this perspective we can examine that can lead to harm. Extending this basic deni-
the nature and distribution of natural hazards, tion to include natural events, a natural hazard
recognize the risks associated with each, and ex- represents the potential interaction between hu-
plore strategies to avoid risk and minimize the mans and those natural events that are extreme in
threat to human life and property. nature (Tobin & Montz, 1997). The hazard repre-
The concept of planning with hazard is a sents the potential, not the event itself, and this
somewhat novel approach when compared to the distinction is important because it recognizes the
typical mitigation and control strategies that have probabilistic nature of hazards and the uncertain-
been employed in the past. Yet, it is an important ty that underlies both the concept and the generat-
departure that recognizes the simple fact that ing events that introduce it to a population.
rivers ood, hurricanes form in the mid-Atlantic Therefore, by denition, natural hazards consti-
and track toward coastal areas, and some forests tute an ever-present threat to society and repre-
do need to burn. This observation also follows the sent an intrinsic force with which all societies
realization that many natural events when subject must cope to some degree (Tobin & Montz, 1997).

The hazard exists largely because humans or their In other instances, risk may be expressed using
activities are constantly exposed to these natural mathematical expectation to predict the likeli-
forces, whether on the coastline of North Carolina hood of an event (E) from a set of variables (X),
or along the Hayward Fault on the eastern shore of such that
the San Francisco Bay. Once an event occurs it is
E = ai Xi + a j X j + . . . anXn . (6.3)
referred to as a natural disaster, where the term
disaster is dened in relation to the signicance of Human reasoning, by contrast, tends to follow a
its impact on society. The difference between a less rigorous model that is based largely on the use
hazard and a disaster is therefore made on the of vague or imprecise concepts that take meaning
basis of causality. We conceive disaster owing to only within the context of language (Lein, 1992).
its physical form and geographic consequence, Risk reasoning in this example becomes a function
but the potential is ever-present. of individual knowledge, behavior, and prior ex-
Risk may be dened as either the occurrence of perience. As demonstrated by Klein and Methlie
an event that results in harm, or as the probability (1990), the theory of human reasoning suggests
of that occurrence and its consequence. Risk is that people apply very few formal principles
therefore a presence that can be characterized when considering risk or any other type of prob-
quantitatively or qualitatively in terms of its lem situation. Instead, people rely on heuristics
likelihood, and can be conceptualized in two (rules of thumb) tailored to the semantic context of
fundamental ways (Whyte & Burton, 1980): the problem. When one is considering risk, prob-
1 Risk as hazard a perspective that considers lems often develop when normative models of
risk as synonymous with hazard: an event or probability cannot be used to drive meaningful
act that holds adverse consequence where estimates or when such estimates must be inter-
the degree of risk is related both to its proba- preted by decision-makers who do not reason in
bility and to the magnitude of its effects. terms of mathematical probabilities. As a conse-
2 Risk as probability a perspective that quence, it often becomes necessary to distinguish
explains risk according to probabilistic state- between empirically based ndings of risk and
ments or models: risk denes the probability those derived from judgment. This need is becom-
value of an undesirable event. ing increasingly apparent, particularly in situa-
Accordingly, reasoning about risk has developed tions where risk characterization relies on expert
following two contrasting approaches: the nor- judgment; a situation amply demonstrated by
mative model of scientic reasoning based on Flemming (1991) and Bonano et al. (1989).
probability theory, and a human-based approach The relationship between hazard and risk is
drawing from symbolic logic and symbol further complicated by the difculty in separating
manipulation (Lein, 1992). Based on the scientic- effects from their actual causes. Hazards have
reasoning model, risk develops from the probabil- three important components that function in
ity of a consequence (A) given that event (B) has concert to punctuate their signicance. These
occurred. This relationship may be expressed as hazard components include a physical perspec-
the conditional probability (p) where: tive, a human dimension, and a spatiotemporal
disposition (Tobin & Montz, 1997).
p( A) p(B A) The physical dimension directs attention to the
p( A B) = , (6.1)
p(B) geophysical world and the processes that conspire
to dene hazards. From this perspective, the phys-
or in the case of logic stress analysis, a Bayesian ical world is seen as an external force separate
probability drawn from a sequence of events of from the human world. Although the traditional
the form: idea that natural hazards are the exclusive result
of geophysical processes has been replaced by a
p( A) p(B A) more considered view, knowledge of physical
p( A B) = . (6.2)
p(Bn ) p( A Bn ) process remains a critical aspect of hazard identi-
N AT U R A L H A Z A R D A S S E S S M E N T 117

cation. Amoderating inuence, that has tempered of a specic process or event they help punctuate
the conceptualization of hazard and denes where and how in time events manifest. For
process as those external forces that act on human example, declines in rainfall may have occurred
populations, has come from attempts to produce well before drought is identied; similarly, a se-
human explanations of natural hazards. This area vere thunderstorm with damaging hail may pass
denes the human dimension component of the through the planning area in a matter of minutes,
hazard and directs focus toward the interaction only to be followed by another storm complex the
between physical process and human forces that next day. Contrasted to this pattern are processes
in combination determine the signicance of dis- such as earthquakes above a certain magnitude
asters and produce a more realistic description of that have reoccurrence intervals of hundreds to
risk. For example, Smith (1992) suggests that thousands of years. Therefore, connected with
natural hazards result from a conict between each hazard is an implicit expression of time.
geophysical processes and people. Hazards, These time traits complicate how society responds
according to this view, develop at the interface to hazard and, more importantly, how risks are
between the natural event and the human-use perceived and understood.
system. In some circumstances the focus of con- Because natural hazards form out of natural
cern eliminates physical processes entirely and processes they dene a unique geographic
concentrates attention on the disruption to society expression that places their origin and impact into
following hazard events. The human dimension a denable spatial context. The geographic nature
considers how events interfere with everyday of hazard assumes two critical explanations that
life, disrupt communities, strain local services and must be understood by the planner: (1) location
resources, and leave an aftermath that can persist and (2) scale. Some natural processes are spatially
long beyond the initial event. Consideration of a ubiquitous in that they operate nearly everywhere
hazards human dimension must therefore on the planet to some degree. Extremes of heat,
evaluate not just the primary consequence of an dryness, and wind velocity may be examples of
event, but the secondary and tertiary effects, and geophysical processes that are not specic to a
beyond, that continue to shape the human-use xed geographic location. Conversely, certain
system. Recognized in this description are those natural processes are conned to specic geo-
events that can be triggered by human activities graphic areas or zones, and exhibit a higher fre-
and consequences that can include economic, so- quency of occurrence in particular locales. Thus
cial, psychological, and technological factors. fault movements are geographically restricted to
While it is accepted that when one is character- regions were tectonic processes are active, tor-
izing natural hazards, both physical processes nadic activity is more frequent in climatic zones
and the human mosaic are important elements of where conditions favor their development, land-
the risk equation, an equally critical factor in slides can be anticipated in areas where slope, soil,
dening hazard and risk is the timing of the event and geologic conditions are unstable and induce
and its geographic extent (expression). Time and mass wasting. These illustrative examples sug-
space have a range of inuences on the nature of gest that hazards display a geographic patterning,
hazard and the denition of risk. For example, and link to geographical processes that share a dis-
when one is considering a natural hazard, time cernible regionality. Geography also conspires to
may be expressed in relation to an events: inuence the spatial scale or extent of the hazard.
Frequency Scale, when considered in relative terms, denes
Duration the size of the geographic area where the event
Seasonality and its consequence will form. Some natural
Timing. events may be highly localized and conned to a
Each of these temporal characteristics must be limited geographic area. Other events may occur
dened in relative terms, with sensitivity to their on a scale capable of affecting a much broader
conceptual overlap. When placed into the context geographic area. It is possible to even consider the

global effects of some hazards as their inuence weather, such as temperature, wind speed, hu-
reaches well beyond where they physically occur. midity, radiation, and precipitation, become im-
A drought, for example, may inuence a large portant when the patterns they form characterize
area, perhaps at the continental scale, while the potentially problematic situations. Several of the
implications of that drought on agriculture may more common events of weather that achieve
have a global impact. Treating scale as an elastic hazard status include:
concept, it can be seen that areas from several Tornadoes
square miles to portions of entire continents Tropical cyclones
can be subject to extreme processes that can Severe storms
introduce hazard and place large populations at Extremes of cold and heat.
risk. It is critical for effective planning to under-
stand the meaning of hazard and to place risk Tornadoes A tornado can be described as a vio-
into its proper context. A complete understand- lently rotating column of air, a vortex spawned by
ing, however, is not possible without considera- a thunderstorm, in contact with both the thunder
tion of those physical processes that induce cloud and the ground, often accompanied by a
hazardous events. funnel-shaped cloud, progressing over the land
in a narrow path (Grazulis, 1993). Recognized as
among the most powerful of weather phenomena,
A typology of hazard a tornado can produce rotating velocities ap-
proaching 500 mph and affect a ground area rang-
Natural processes are neutral in their disposition ing from 1/4 to 3/4 miles wide. The path a tornado
toward human populations; however, when these follows can be as short as a few tens of yards to
processes contribute to injury, death, or damage to over 15 miles long. Extreme events have been
property they are dened as hazards. But we also known to travel over areas measuring up to one
recognize that human activities may alter the fre- mile wide and 300 miles long (Petak & Atkisson,
quency with which these events occur, increase or 1982). Although a tornado can occur anywhere
decrease their severity, alter the size of the area im- severe thunderstorms develop, certain geograph-
pacted, inuence the rate of exposure of people ic areas evince climatic regimes that foster more
or property, and inuence the vulnerability of frequent tornado development. In the United
hazard-exposed populations (Petak & Atkisson, States the areas comprising the mid-western and
1982). For the purposes of rapid identication, southeastern regions display a higher frequency
natural hazards can be dened in relation to the of tornadoes and tend to be areas of heightened
underlying physical processes responsible for vulnerability. Although tornadoes can occur at
their genesis. These driving natural processes can any time throughout the year, in North America
be placed into three categories: (1) meteorological, weather conditions between April and August are
(2) hydrological, and (3) geological. Within these the seasonal maximum for these events.
general categories hazards can be discussed Generally, tornadoes form in association with
according to their squall lines with both isolated thunderstorms and
Physical mechanism thunderstorms accompanying frontal passages.
Temporal distribution As the storm system develops, one or more
Spatial distribution tornadoes may form at intervals along the storm
Onset pattern. track, travel a few miles, lift, and then reform
further downeld. With an incidence time lasting
minutes to hours, tornadoes reach much higher
Meteorological processes
speeds than a hurricane, but affect a much smaller
Extreme meteorological events develop when the geographic area. To communicate the power and
factors that dene day-to-day weather exceed intensity of these systems several scales of mea-
critical thresholds. The typical elements of surement and classication have been devised.
N AT U R A L H A Z A R D A S S E S S M E N T 119

Table 6.1 The FujitaPearson tornado scale.

Scale Wind speed Effects

F-0 4072 mph Chimney damage, tree branches broken

F-1 73112 mph Mobile homes pushed off foundation or overturned
F-2 113157 mph Considerable damage, trees uprooted
F-3 158205 mph Roofs and walls torn down, cars thrown
F-4 207260 mph Well-constructed walls leveled
F-5 261318 mph Homes lifted off foundation and carried considerable
distances, autos thrown near 100 meters

One of the more widely adopted scaling methods waters where the winds are light, the humidity is
is the Fujita classication system (Table 6.1). The high, and the surface water temperature over a
Fujita classication system assigns a numeric wide surface area is warm (79F/26C) (Ahrens,
value to a tornado based on its wind speed in 1991). Over the tropical and subtropical north At-
1/ mph increments. The Pearson scale is another
4 lantic and north Pacic oceans these conditions
complementary classication system for catego- prevail in summer and early fall. This corresponds
rizing tornado events. This scale applies a logic with the seasonal peak of hurricane frequency
similar to that used by the Fujita method, but the during the months between June and November.
Pearson scale classies tornadoes based on path In general, several necessary conditions must
width and length. Using these scales, the magni- be present for hurricanes to develop (Pielke, 1990):
tude of hazard can be expressed and that informa- 1 An ocean area with surface water tempera-
tion can be used to devise adjustment strategies tures above 26C (79F).
for tornado events. For example, for a given struc- 2 Small wind speed and direction changes
ture, the expected damage from tornado exposure between the lower and upper troposphere
increases as a function of the Fujita rating of occur- of less than 15 km/h.
rence. With an event given a Fujita rating of 5 (F5), 3 The presence of a pre-existing region of
we could anticipate that 65% of all exposed lower tropospheric horizontal wind conver-
woodframe structures would collapse. This gence (a tropical wave).
would compare with an F1 event where only 1% of 4 A distribution of temperature with height
structures would collapse. Perhaps the most which will overturn when saturated, result-
vexing problems associated with tornadoes from ing in cumulonimbus clouds.
a planners perspective are that: 5 A location at least 4 to 5 degrees away from
1 While conditions under which they form the equator.
are understood, the mechanisms that cause Hurricanes transition through a series of stages
them to form remain unclear. marking their birth to death. Initially a mass of
2 They are extremely difcult to measure thunderstorms with only a slight wind circulation
directly. develops into a tropical disturbance. When sus-
3 Mitigating the effects of tornadoes is frus- tained winds increase to between 20 and 34 knots
trated by the fact that these events, while and a centralized trough of low pressure appears,
localized, are highly random. the disturbance becomes a tropical depression. As
the pressure gradient intensies and wind speeds
Tropical cyclones More commonly known as hur- increase to between 35 and 64 knots, the tropical
ricanes, tropical cyclones involve a mix of devas- depression becomes a tropical storm. Once wind
tating winds, ood producing rains, and speeds exceed 64 knots (120 km/h) the tropical
potentially lethal storm surges. A hurricane is an storm is classied as a hurricane.
intense storm of tropical origin with sustained Hurricanes that develop over the north Pacic
winds exceeding 74 mph. They form over tropical and north Atlantic are directed by an easterly air-

Between 1 and 4 per year. Fig. 6.1 Typical hurricane pathways

for North America.

ow. Gradually, these systems swing poleward scale is based on actual conditions observed dur-
around the subtropical high, and if they move far ing the life-cycle of the storm.
enough north, they are captured by the westerly
circulation and are steered in a northerly direc- Severe storms Extratropical cyclones can pro-
tion. However, the path of a given hurricane can duce a variety of hazards including hailstorms, se-
vary considerably. The typical pathways hurri- vere winds, severe snows, and ice storms (Smith,
canes follow are illustrated in Fig. 6.1. 1992). Some mid-latitude cyclones create special
While the high winds associated with a hurri- hazards because they develop very quickly. These
cane can inict considerable damage, most of the rapidly deepening depressions are often difcult
destruction related to these events is caused by to forecast since their rate of deepening is often
high seas, huge waves, and ooding. Flood risk is underpredicted. In North America, particularly in
due partly to the force of wind pushing water onto the central and Great Lakes regions of the United
the shore and to intense rainfall that can exceed States, ice and glaze storms are a signicant winter
25 in (63 cm). The combined effect of high water hazard. In these geographic areas, the hazard
and high winds produces a storm surge that inun- arises when thick accretions of clear ice form on
dates low-lying areas and easily overruns beach- exposed surfaces. Ice accretes on any structure
front properties. The SafrSimpson scale was whenever there is liquid precipitation or cloud
developed in an effort to estimate the possible droplets, and both the air and the objects temper-
damage a hurricanes sustained winds and storm ature are below freezing. When these events occur,
surge might inict on a coastal area (Ahrens, electric power transmission lines, landscaping
1991). The damage assessment expressed by this trees, and forests are at the greatest risk for dam-
N AT U R A L H A Z A R D A S S E S S M E N T 121

age. Here, the added weight of ice may be suf- may not represent hazards, they do explain
cient to bend or in some instances bring these changing conditions that may accentuate haz-
objects down. ardous conditions. For example, the altered heat
balance of the urban environment contributes
Temperature extremes Periods of unusually cold to the formation of hot sectors in the urban
or hot weather have been shown to cause a direct landscape. In these sectors airow is reduced,
threat to human life (Smith, 1992). As suggested in emissions concentrate near the ground, and evap-
the literature, the average human body is most orative cooling is substantially reduced by the
efcient at a core temperature of 37C. Given absence of vegetation. Where building heights
natural variations in temperature, physiological increase, more turbulent airow is common, as is
comfort and safety can be maintained within only the reduction in direct solar radiation reaching
a narrow thermal range. When the heat balance of the surface. In these urban canyons, cooler and
the body deviates beyond this range, physiologi- windier conditions prevail. The general pattern
cal stress results. Extremes of cold also create haz- of local climate inuenced by urbanization is
ards in the form of ice and frost, while extremes shown in Fig. 6.2.
of heat can be a contributing factor to elevated
wildre risks.
Hydrological processes
In a review of atmospheric hazards, Smith
(1992) identies several important considerations Hydrologic processes are characterized by the
related to the effects of thermal extremes. First, ux parameters that dene the hydrologic cycle.
with reference to physiological hazards, stress to These transfer mechanisms inuence the dis-
the human body can result from a combination tribution of water at the surface and describe the
of low temperature and high wind speeds. This general availability of water to the environmental
wind-chill hazard is common to high latitude and system. When events transpire that move these
high altitude environments. However, the great- parameters above or below their expected condi-
est threat is associated with unexpected outbursts tion, a stress relationship can develop that can
of very cold air into the mid-latitudes in winter. inuence ecosystem functioning and the water
Such a pattern occurs in North America with the resource systems on which human settlement
development of a high-pressure ridge that forms depends. Perhaps two of the more common
over the northwestern margins of the continent. hydrologic events that evidence deviations suf-
The circulation around this ridge allows arctic air cient to assume hazard status are oods and
to penetrate well into the mid-west and brings drought.
cold and frost conditions well into Florida.
Extremes of high temperature can also produce Mechanics of ooding Physically a ood is a high
life-threatening situations by imposing severe ow of water which overtops either the natural or
heat stress on the human body. The problem can the articial banks of a river channel (Smith, 1992).
be particularly acute when high temperatures Under natural conditions, the hydrologic pro-
are combined with high relative humidity. When cesses of the uvial system have created and
these situations arise, heat stress can be common, maintained stream channels with channel main-
as the bodys ability to cool through evaporative tenance maximized during bank full discharges.
processes becomes less effective and efcient. In Whenever ow exceeds bank full capacity, and the
prolonged events the physical discomfort can river spills over onto the adjacent oodplain, the
quickly escalate into increased heat-related mor- river is at ood stage. All rivers produce this con-
talities (Quayle & Doehring, 1981). dition at some time, suggesting that ooding is a
Atmospheric processes can also be modied by natural feature of river systems. Consequently,
the changes in surface composition introduced by such events cannot be considered a hazard unless
urbanization. These modications have become the nature of the ood threatens human life and
recognized as the urban climate, and while they property.

Late afternoon temperature

90 32
88 31
86 30

Rural Urban core Suburban zone

Fig. 6.2 The generalized pattern of urban climate.

When one is dening the concept of a ood, its during the summer season. These rainfall events,
physical cause can be expressed in two ways. One because they are temporally and geographically
explanation stresses the hydrologic denition and concentrated, can generate large volumes of water
denes ood magnitude in terms of peak river with a high damage potential. Although rainfall
ow. This denition contrasts with a more hazard- may be the driving force behind ood events,
oriented explanation. This alternate expression processes such as the seasonal melting of snow
relates the ood event to the maximum height or and ice can be contributing factors in some areas.
stage that water reaches. These two denitions The seasonal melt can create widespread ooding,
require a careful distinction between the primary particularly during years of high snow accumula-
causes of oods that result from the driving tion. Melting during these periods contributes to
forces of climate, and those secondary ood- spring ood events that can be compounded by
intensifying conditions that occur as a conse- ice jams that may temporarily dam river channels.
quence of drainage basin morphology. When a ood occurs, the area of the streams
Perhaps the most important cause of oods is oodplain that will be inundated by water
excessive rainfall. Rainfall events capable of pro- resulting from a stream ow level of a specied
ducing oods can vary from seasonal storms that ood-frequency is referred to by the name of that
provide precipitation to a large geographic region frequency interval. This ood frequency interval
to nearly random convectional storms that can and the geographic area it will encompass have
generate ash-ood conditions over a compara- tremendous importance to hazard assessment
tively localized area. In addition, some ood and planning. To illustrate this point, consider a
events can be causally linked to larger atmospher- ood characterized by a two-year return interval.
ic processes such as the ENSO (el Nio) or its op- Such an event will inundate all of the area delin-
posing process, la Nia. Within the mid-latitudes eated as the two-year zone of the oodplain. Simi-
prolonged rainfall is frequently related to tropical larly, a ood stage with a 100-year frequency will
cyclones or intense atmospheric depressions. Lo- inundate the entire 100-year zone of the ood-
calized convectional systems are also responsible plain. The geographic expression and extent of
for producing high-intensity rainfall particularly these zones is depicted in Fig. 6.3.
N AT U R A L H A Z A R D A S S E S S M E N T 123


100 year

Fig. 6.3 Delineation of ood zones:

town of Manchester one hundred
year ood hazard zone.

The ood frequencyoodplain relationship 4 The impact of oating debris against the
illustrated in Fig. 6.3 suggests spatial patterns that structure.
can greatly inuence the present and future use of 5 The adverse effects of water intrusion on the
ood prone areas. For this reason, oodplains are structure and its contents.
typically divided into six ood classes or six haz- Frequently overlooked aspects of the ood
ard zones (Petak & Atkisson, 1982). The classica- hazard problem are those factors that contribute
tion system categorizes the oodplain into zones to ood-intensifying conditions, particularly
A through F, where zone A denes the most haz- those associated with human activities. Floods
ardous area subject to the most frequent ooding, can be made more intense for a given precipi-
while zone F is the least hazardous. According tation level depending on topography, the hy-
to the logic of this classication system, the six draulic geometry of the drainage basin, soil
ood/hazard zones delineate areas that would be characteristics, and the density of vegetation
inundated by the 25, 510, 1025, 2550, 50100, cover. In addition to these natural parameters,
and greater that 100-year ood event. Within the changes in land cover and land use are also
drainage basin, however, the geographic shape contributing factors. In this regard, two of the
and extent of these zones will be inuenced by more powerful forces that conspire to intensify
local terrain characteristics and river morphology. ood conditions are urbanization and defor-
Thus, the dimensions of a ood zone will differ, estation. Urbanization alters the magnitude and
and the depth oodwater can reach given a speci- frequency of oods in several ways. Four well-
ed magnitude will vary along the course of the documented impacts of urbanization on ooding
river. Within these zones the damage sustained by are summarized in Table 6.2. Deforestation in-
structures is generally a function of: creases ood run-off with associated increases in
1 The type, strength, and elevation of the surface erosion that decrease channel capacity
structure. through sediment deposition. The removal of
2 The depth of the ood waters during the vegetation causes peak ood ows to increase,
event. and changes the hydrologic regime of the river
3 The force exerted against the structure by basin, as evidenced by its unit hydrograph
moving oodwaters. (Fig. 6.4).

Table 6.2 Impacts of urbanization on ooding.

Time to peak Peak flow
Increased impervious cover
Increased run-off

Discharge (m3/sec)
Increased pollutant and sediment loads
Decreased vegetation cover
limb Falling

Drought Drought is a complex hydroclimatic Time of flood

phenomenon and is perhaps the most persistent
environmental hazard experienced in the contigu-
ous United States (Soule, 1992). When compared Time (hours)
to other environmental processes, drought is
often referred to as a creeping hazard because it Fig. 6.4 Characteristics of a ood hydrograph.
develops slowly over several months with pro-
longed effects often spanning a period of years
(Smith, 1992). One of the more problematic issues
related to drought is the question of denition. precipitation departures to average amounts on
Generally drought can be explained in one of monthly, seasonal, or annual timescales.
three ways (Drought Information Center, 1999),
to which a fourth can be added. 2 Agricultural drought Agricultural drought
links various characteristics of meteorological (or
1 Meteorologicaldrought Meteorological drought hydrological) drought to agricultural impacts,
is dened usually on the basis of the degree focusing on precipitation shortages, differences
of dryness (in comparison to some normal or between actual and potential evapotranspiration,
average amount) and the duration of the dry soil water decits, reduced groundwater or
period. Denitions of meteorological drought reservoir levels, and so forth. Plant water demand
must be considered as region specic since the at- depends on prevailing weather conditions,
mospheric conditions that result in deciencies of biological characteristics of the specic plant, its
precipitation are highly variable from region to re- stage of growth, and the physical and biological
gion. For example, some denitions of meteoro- properties of the soil. A good denition of agricul-
logical drought identify periods of drought on the tural drought should be able to account for the
basis of the number of days with precipitation less variable susceptibility of crops during different
than some specied threshold. This measure is stages of crop development, from emergence to
only appropriate for regions characterized by a maturity. Decient topsoil moisture at planting
year-round precipitation regime such as a tropical may hinder germination, leading to low plant
rainforest, humid subtropical climate, or humid populations per hectare and a reduction of nal
mid-latitude climate. Locations such as Manaus, yield. However, if topsoil moisture is sufcient for
Brazil; New Orleans, USA; and London, England, early growth requirements, deciencies in subsoil
are examples. Other climatic regimes are charac- moisture at this early stage may not affect nal
terized by a seasonal rainfall pattern, such as the yield if subsoil moisture is replenished as the
central US, northeast Brazil, west Africa, and growing season progresses or if rainfall meets
northern Australia. Extended periods without plant water needs.
rainfall are common in Omaha, Nebraska, Fort-
aleza, Brazil, and Darwin, Australia; a denition 3 Hydrological drought Hydrological drought is
based on the number of days with precipitation associated with the effects of periods of precipita-
less than some specied threshold is unrealistic in tion (including snowfall) shortfall in surface or
these cases. Other denitions may relate actual subsurface water supply (i.e., stream ow, reser-
N AT U R A L H A Z A R D A S S E S S M E N T 125

voir and lake levels, groundwater). The frequency drought resulted in signicantly reduced hydro-
and severity of hydrological drought is often electric power production because powerplants
dened on a watershed or river-basin scale. Al- were dependent on stream ow rather than stor-
though all droughts originate with a deciency of age for power generation. Reducing hydroelectric
precipitation, hydrologists are more concerned power production required the government to
with how this deciency plays out through the convert to more expensive (imported) petroleum
hydrologic system. Hydrological droughts are and stringent energy conservation measures to
usually out of phase with or lag the occurrence of meet the nations power needs.
meteorological and agricultural droughts. It takes In most instances, the demand for economic
longer for precipitation deciencies to show up in goods is increasing as a result of increasing popu-
components of the hydrological system such as lation and per capita consumption. Supply may
soil moisture, stream ow, and groundwater and also increase because of improved production
reservoir levels. As a result, impacts are out of efciency, technology, or the construction of reser-
phase with those in other economic sectors be- voirs that increase surface-water storage capacity.
cause different water use sectors depend on these If both supply and demand are increasing, the
sources for their water supply. For example, a pre- critical factor is the relative rate of change. Is
cipitation deciency may result in a rapid deple- demand increasing more rapidly than supply? If
tion of soil moisture that is almost immediately so, vulnerability and the incidence of drought
discernible to agriculturalists, but the impact of may increase in the future as supply and demand
this deciency on reservoir levels may not affect trends converge.
hydroelectric power production or recreational For the purposes of environmental planning,
uses for many months. Also, water in hydrologic the simplest conceptualization of drought denes
storage systems (e.g., reservoirs, rivers) is often it as an unusually dry period that results in a short-
used for multiple and competing purposes (e.g., age of water (Smith, 1992). From this perspective
ood control, irrigation, recreation, navigation, deciencies in precipitation may serve as the trig-
hydropower, wildlife habitat), further complicat- gering effect; however, a careful distinction must
ing the sequence and quantication of impacts. be made between the shortage of precipitation
Competition for water in these storage systems and the shortage of useful water. Therefore, the
escalates during drought and conicts between concept of drought cannot be separated from the
water users increase signicantly. water resource and water allocation issues that
surround water at its utilization. A precipitation
4 Socioeconomic drought Socioeconomic deni- deciency associated with drought poses the
tions of drought associate the supply and demand potential to produce water supply problems,
of some economic good with elements of meteoro- particularly in regions that rely on surface sources
logical, hydrological, and agricultural drought. It as the main origin of supply. Consequently the
differs from the aforementioned types of drought signicance of drought and its relevance to the
because its occurrence depends on the time and planning problem relates primarily to three con-
space processes of supply and demand to identify trolling factors:
or classify droughts. The supply of many eco- 1 The purposes for which water is required.
nomic goods, such as water, forage, food grains, 2 The ways in which the local hydrologic
sh, and hydroelectric power, depends on cycles react to precipitation decits.
weather. Because of the natural variability of 3 The degree of buffering that is available to
climate, water supply is ample in some years but offset precipitation shortages.
unable to meet human and environmental needs When one is monitoring the duration and intensi-
in other years. Socioeconomic drought occurs ty of drought, it is convenient to apply an index
when the demand for an economic good exceeds that encapsulates the spatial pattern of the inci-
supply as a result of a weather-related shortfall in dence of drought in terms of a single numerical
water supply. For example, in Uruguay in 19889, rating (Katz & Glantz, 1986). A variety of indices

Table 6.3 Procedures followed for calculating PDSI. en areas according to severity or signicance
Step 1 Estimate potential evapotranspiration, potential soil
facilitates assessment of a droughts geographic
recharge, potential run-off, and potential loss for an pattern. Diaz (1983) has proposed a useful
average period of a month for each climatic drought classication method. According to this
subdivision. system, a sequence of three or more months with
Step 2 Use the month-by-month water balance PDSI values less than or equal to -2.0 is considered
accounting to obtain coefcient of evaporation, to represent a drought event, a period of six or
recharge, run-off, and loss. more months a major drought event, while a mild
Step 3 Compute the amount of precipitation that should drought is dened by PDSI values as less than or
have occurred during a given month to sustain equal to -1.0.
potential evapotranspiration, run-off, and moisture
storage that would be considered normal and
climatically appropriate for existing conditions. Geologic processes
Step 4 Subtract the normal and climatically appropriate
Geological processes relevant to a discussion of
value from areally averaged precipitation to obtain a
preciptitation excess or decit. natural hazards typically describe events related
to tectonic activity or the forces of erosion and
Step 5 Calculate a moisture anomaly index (Z) and
determine the nal drought index term from the
mass wasting. When compared to other environ-
general relation Z/3.0. mental hazards, the time-scales within which
geologic processes behave frequently make them
difcult to conceptualize in accurate terms. As a
result, the energy released when these events
have been proposed and several of these have occur is either underestimated or subject to
been compared in the drought literature (Oladipo, alarmist reactions. Despite these contrasting
1985). Two of the more widely applied drought in- modes of response, geologic processes introduce
dices in the United States are the Palmer Drought signicant inuences on the utilization of land
Severity Index (PDSI) and the Crop Moisture resources and the density, design, and location
Index (CMI). Although both indices are accepted of specic land uses. While the list of potentially
as representative measures of drought conditions, signicant geologic processes to consider is
their focus is primarily directed toward meteoro- exhaustive, those germane to environmental
logical denitions of drought. planning include landslides and mass move-
The Palmer index (PDSI) provides an objec- ments, subsidence and collapse, earthquakes
tive method for developing a meteorological and faulting, coastal processes, and volcanic
characterization of drought. The index expresses activity.
drought as a function of precipitation, potential
evapotranspiration, antecedent soil moisture, and Landslides and mass movements Mass downslope
run-off. Allen (1984) has reviewed the computa- movements may occur in a wide variety of geolog-
tional procedures followed to derive the index, ic materials. Soil, rock, or the combination of the
and full details are given by Palmer (1965). The two may fail or migrate downslope under a range
general procedure is summarized in Table 6.3. of environmental conditions. Some slides may in-
The crop moisture index (CMI) was developed volve a comparatively small amount of material,
primarily to assess and evaluate agricultural while others may result from deep failures of large
drought. The CMI calculates crop moisture con- masses of solid rock. Movement can occur on
ditions by considering the interrelationships be- very gradual slopes, on steep terrain, and under
tween the deviations of precipitation levels from diverse climatic conditions. The slides and move-
normal, soil-moisture supplies, and evapotran- ments characterized above are part of a more gen-
spiration demand. eral erosional process referred to as mass
Placing the derived drought index values into a wasting. This fundamental surcial process de-
classication scheme that groups drought strick- scribes the downslope movement of earth surface
N AT U R A L H A Z A R D A S S E S S M E N T 127

Table 6.4 Principal forms of downslope movement. Gilchrist, 1977). Therefore, when the strength of
Soil or bedrock creep The slow downslope movement or
the material that comprises the slope is overcome
the gradual plastic deformation of by a downslope stress, the slope fails. Two factors
the soil mantle at nearly are central to this process: (1) shear strength which
imperceptible rates. denes a slopes maximum resistance to failure,
Rockfalls The abrupt free-fall or downslope and (2) shear stress which is dened as the compo-
movement of rocks and loosened nent of gravity that lies parallel to a potential or
blocks or boulders of solid rock. actual surface of slippage. When the equilibrium
True landscapes The failure of material at depth and condition of a slope is disturbed, the shear stress
the movement of that material along on the material increases. The stress acting on a
a rupture or slip surface. slope may be affected by several external and in-
Earth ows The downslope movement of soil or ternal factors. Any of these may be sufcient to
overburden that become saturated contribute to slope failure. External factors affect
by heavy rains.
the stress acting on a slope and include:
Debris or mud ows The rapid but viscous ow of mud or Changes in slope gradient
other surface material. Excess loading
Snow avalanches The rapid downslope movement of Changes in vegetative cover
snow, ice, and associated debris such Shock and vibrations.
as rock and vegetation.
Internal factors alter the strength of the material
comprising the slope and involve consideration
Changes in water content
materials under the force of gravity. Mass move- Groundwater ow
ments can range from soil and rock creep, where Weathering effects.
rates of movement are measured in centimeters
per year, to debris avalanches where velocities Subsidence and collapse Land subsidence is not
may reach 400 km/h. Landslides fall within the typically considered a major geologic hazard, yet
middle range of these extremes and can be identi- where it occurs it can pose serious problems to
ed by the presence of a surface rupture. land use and infrastructure. While the process of
Various forms of downslope movement carry land subsidence is gradual in most geographic
important hazard potential. Depending on the settings, collapse can be sudden with catastrophic
type of movement and the kind of material in- consequences. Seven major causes of land-surface
volved, mass movements can vary widely with subsidence and collapse have been identied.
respect to their shape, rate, spatial extent, and These include:
impact on the surrounding environment. Conse- 1 The withdrawal of large volumes of water,
quently, they can pose variable levels of hazard petroleum, or natural gas from weakly con-
that planners must understand. Brief descriptions solidated sediments.
of those critical to the planning problem are given 2 The application of water to moisture-
in Table 6.4. decient deposits resting above the water
To understand the landslide hazard it is impor- table.
tant to recognize the factors that make an area 3 Tectonic activity.
susceptible to failure. Once the triggering mecha- 4 The solution or leaching of soluble subsur-
nisms are identied it may be possible to initiate face material by groundwater.
appropriate planning solutions to minimize the 5 The removal of subsurface deposits of coal or
hazard and reduce risk. In general, mass down- other mineral resources with inadequate
slope movements occur when the component of surface support.
weight along a surface exceeds the frictional 6 The melting or disturbance of permafrost.
resistance or cohesion of the material (Griggs & 7 The differential settlement of articial ll.

Because the tectonic processes described above

actively shape and reshape the surface, crustal
processes produce distinctive geomorphic fea-
tures that identify landscapes where faulting is (or
was) present. However, it is important to recog-
nize the distinction between active and inactive
faults, particularly when assessing seismic haz-
ards. An active fault is one along which movement
has occurred in historic or recent geologic time.
Active faults suggest that movement is likely to
reoccur. Inactive faults are typically older geologic
features that provide little evidence to suggest that
motion has occurred along their traces in historic
or recent geologic time. The lack of recent move-
ment gives reason to assume that a recurrence of
movement along the inactive fault is unlikely.
The geomorphic features found along fault
zones include:
Fig. 6.5 General characteristics of an earthquake. Fault Valleys
Earthquake and faulting Earthquakes may be Linear ridges
characterized as natural events that involve the Offset streams
moving or shaking of the earths crust. While Sag ponds
the specic triggering mechanisms remain uncer- Landslide scars.
tain, it is believed that earthquakes are produced Careful interpretation of these landscape features
by the release of stresses accumulated as a result of provides useful insight as to where seismic activ-
rock rupture along opposing fault planes in the ity occurs and the extent to which fault processes
Earths outer crust (Fig. 6.5). One common source are active in the region. The next step to forming a
of rupture results from the continuous collisions complete understanding of the hazard involves
between plates that comprise the Earths 10- to consideration of its effects. An earthquake can af-
50-mile-thick outer and oating crust. Three fect the surface directly or indirectly. Direct effects
different mechanisms are associated with the include ground shaking, surface faulting, and dis-
constantly migrating patterns of these plates: placement. Indirect effects involve processes char-
1 Divergence describes the situation where acterizing one or more forms of ground failure.
tectonic plates spread, move apart, and Ground shaking is a term used to describe the
increase in area. vibration of the surface and subsurface during an
2 Collision results when plates converge and earthquake. The severity of ground motion at a
reduce in size, forming a subduction zone as given location depends upon several factors: (1)
one plate overrides another. the total energy released in the form of seismic
3 Transcursion occurs when two plates slide waves, (2) the distance from the source of the
laterally past each other, producing a series earthquake (epicenter), and (3) the composition of
of tears or transcurrent faults. the surface and subsurface geology. This ground
As shown by Smith (1992), these tectonic motion is characterized by three types of elastic
processes give rise to a variety of primary and wave (Table 6.5). Typically, horizontal ground
secondary seismic hazards (the secondary earth- movement produces the greatest structural dam-
quake hazards include soil liquefaction, land- age during an earthquake. The magnitude and in-
slides and rockfalls, and tsunami and seiches). tensity of ground shaking is measured in either of
N AT U R A L H A Z A R D A S S E S S M E N T 129

Table 6.5 Types of seismic wave. Table 6.6 The Modied Mercalli Intensity scale.

P wave Primary, longitudinal, irrotational, push, pressure, Scale/

dilatational, compressional, or pushpull wave. level Observed effect
P waves are the fastest body waves and arrive at
stations before the S waves, or secondary waves. I Not felt except by a very few under especially
The waves carry energy through the Earth as favorable conditions.
longitudinal waves, moving particles in the same II Felt only by a few persons at rest, especially on
line as the direction of the wave. P waves can upper oors of buildings.
travel through all layers of the Earth. P waves are
generally felt by humans as a bang or thump. III Felt quite noticeably by persons indoors, especially
on upper oors of buildings. Many people do not
S wave Shear, secondary, rotational, tangential, recognize it as an earthquake. Standing cars may
equivoluminal, distortional, transverse, or shake rock slightly. Vibration similar to the passing of a
wave. These waves carry energy through the truck. Duration estimated.
Earth in very complex patterns of transverse
(crosswise) waves. These waves move more IV Felt indoors by many, outdoors by few during the
slowly than P waves, but in an earthquake they day. At night, some awakened. Dishes, windows,
are usually bigger. S waves cannot travel through doors disturbed; walls make cracking sound.
the outer core because these waves cannot exist Sensations like heavy truck striking building.
in uids, such as air, water, or molten rock. Standing cars rocked noticeably.

Lg wave A surface wave which travels through the V Felt by nearly everyone; many awakened. Some
continental crust. dishes, windows broken. Unstable objects
overturned. Pendulum clocks may stop.
VI Felt by all, many frightened. Some heavy furniture
moved; a few instances of fallen plaster. Damage
two ways. One approach to determine magnitude
uses the Richter scale. The Richter scale measures VII Damage negligible in buildings of good design and
construction; slight to moderate in well-built
the vibrational energy of the seismic wave. It is ordinary structures; considerable damage in poorly
based on a logarithmic scale, and each time mag- built or badly designed structures; some chimneys
nitude is raised one unit, the amplitude of the broken.
seismic wave increases tenfold (Smith, 1992). The VIII Damage slight in specially designed structures;
intensity of ground shaking is explained accord- considerable damage in ordinary substantial
ing to the Modied Mercalli Intensity scale. buildings with partial collapse. Damage great in
Because ground shaking displays a close poorly built structures. Fall of chimneys, factory
stacks, columns, monuments, walls. Heavy
relationship to structural damage, the Mercalli
furniture overturned.
scale provides a subjective method to categorize
intensity based on the extent of physical damage IX Damage considerable in specially designed
structures; well-designed frame structures thrown
observed (Table 6.6). out of plumb. Damage great in substantial
Another direct effect of an earthquake is buildings, with partial collapse. Buildings shifted
surface faulting or displacement. It has been off foundations.
observed that during larger earthquakes, fault X Some well-built wooden structures destroyed;
slippage may extend to the surface, resulting in most masonry and frame structures destroyed with
abrupt ground displacement. This displacement foundations. Rails bent.
along the fault plane may be either horizontal or XI Few, if any (masonry) structures remain standing.
vertical. In addition to sudden surface slippage, Bridges destroyed. Rails bent greatly.
more gradual forms of slippage may be noted. XII Damage total. Lines of sight and level are distorted.
This slower, less pronounced displacement is Objects thrown into the air.
known as fault creep, and in some cases it may be
Abridged from The Severity of an Earthquake, US Geological
more signicant a hazard than surface faulting Survey General Interest Publication, US Government Printing
since it neednt be accompanied by an earthquake. Ofce: 1989-288-913.
Fault creep describes the overall motion along an

active fault and is typically characterized by lat- the direct forces of wave action. The sources and
eral displacement of the surface measured in losses of beach sand, the interaction of waves,
terms of millimeters per year. Failure to recognize tidal action, and wind help determine the size,
the presence of creep along a fault zone will lead to shape, and extent of beach and the changes these
the gradual deformation of foundations and features will experience. Three general conditions
structures, sidewalks, roads, and underground can be used to describe the prevailing state along
utility networks. the shoreline (Griggs & Gilchrist, 1977):
The indirect effects of earthquakes are most 1 Accretion predominates over erosion as the
pronounced in geologic settings that are unstable. beach progrades and builds seaward.
The strong ground motion generated during an 2 The shoreline is stable and neither erosion
earthquake produces rapid changes in the condi- nor accretion dominates.
tion of these unstable materials. The changes pro- 3 Erosion predominates and losses of beach
duced by ground motion, such as liquefaction and sand exceed supply.
loss of strength in ne-grained materials, con- Several factors are important regulators of the
tribute to landslides, differential settlement, sub- formation of beaches and greatly inuence the
sidence, ground cracking, and other alterations at rate at which sand is supplied to support beach
the surface (Griggs & Gilchrist, 1977). building. These include stream run-off, sea cliff
erosion, and drifting sands from inner continental
Coastal processes The attractiveness of coastal shelves.
landscapes has encouraged the widespread de-
velopment of shoreline and near-shore areas for
Coastal erosion
residential and commercial activities. Coastal
environments, however, are extremely dynamic, The greatest concerns to coastal development
with active processes continuously changing are the processes that contribute to coastal retreat
nearly every facet of the coastal zone. The inherent and the erosion of coastal areas. Marine erosion is
instability of coastal areas places important em- similar in many ways to erosion produced by
phasis on the processes operating there and how streams. The most pronounced effects are recog-
these processes interact with increasing popula- nized during short periods separated by longer
tion concentrations within coastal regions. As the time intervals where only slight erosion may
coastal landscape is subject to more intensive result. There are four natural mechanisms that
forms of use, the environmental stress already direct coastal retreat and erosion:
evidenced in these regions is likely to intensify as 1 Hydraulic impact describing the action
well. Therefore, continued use of the coastal envi- of waves striking against a sea cliff. This
ronment must account for its dynamic nature and process becomes signicant where rocks are
the diverse forces and processes that interact well bedded, jointed, or fractured.
to perpetuate this landscape and maintain its 2 Abrasion characterizing the grinding force
constant state of ux. Two of the more critical of beach materials as they encounter coastal
active forces in this landscape, particularly rocks.
when viewed with respect to hazard potential, 3 Solution explaining the wetting and drying
are beach-forming processes and coastal erosion of rocks within the intertidal zone. In areas
(Klee, 1999). dominated by sedimentary rock, prolonged
soaking may contribute to dissolution, hy-
dration, ion exchange, or swelling of grains,
Beach processes and beach formation
loosening them and allowing the material to
The shoreline undergoes change as a result of sea- be washed away.
sonal and storm induced cycles. The beach, there- 4 Biological activity describing the direct
fore, is a buffer zone that shields coastal areas from mechanical boring, scraping, and indirect
N AT U R A L H A Z A R D A S S E S S M E N T 131

chemical solution of pholads, limpets, and There are, however, many different forms of
sea urchins on rock material. In some in- volcano, each with distinctive eruption patterns
stances between 25 and 50% of the surface (Ritter, 1986).
area of rock can be riddled with boring, In considering the nature of volcanic eruptions,
which makes it more susceptible to hy- magnitude is often measured in terms of explo-
draulic and mechanical erosion. sive capacity, where the release of energy is
Coastal erosion becomes a major concern in equated with x tons of TNT. One method
areas where roads, homes, and other structures that attempts to quantify this relationship is the
have been constructed in proximity to beaches or Volcanic Eruption Index (VEI). The VEI denes
sea cliffs. In these areas oceanic conditions such as 8 classes of eruption on a scale from 1 to 8. The
exposure to the sea, wave energy, and the presence scale in based on measures of ejecta, height of the
or absence of a protective beach play a major role cloud column, and related criteria (Nuhfer et al.,
in dening the hazard. Of equal importance is the 1993). In many cases the composition of lava pro-
rock material that comprises the sea cliff or shore- vides a reasonable indication of the explosive po-
line environment. Here, the controlling factors are tential of a volcano. For example, basaltic magma,
rock hardness, bedding, and the density and ori- because it is low in silica content, high in iron and
entation of jointing. Added to these natural forces magnesium and uid, tends to have a low explo-
are the erosional effects induced by human activi- sive potential. Rhyolitic magma, however, be-
ty. Human action may accelerate or reduce natural cause of its relatively high levels of silica, acidic
rates in a number of ways, several of the more nature, and viscosity, has a high explosive poten-
signicant including: tial. Temperature is another factor to consider,
Loading at the edge of a sea cliff beyond the particularly with respect to lava ow. When lava
bearing capacity of the formation. reaches the surface at a temperature between 800
Alteration of normal drainage. and 1,200C, it will move rapidly, slowing as it
Vegetation and landscaping that promotes cools.
physical weathering in rock joints. Eruptions, lava ow, and related seismic activi-
Vehicular vibrations transmitted into a sea ty can produce a series of events that pose a haz-
cliff from roads or parking facilities. ard. The primary effects of volcanic activity
Volcanic activity Recent evidence suggests that Pyroclastic Flow
there are approximately 500 active volcanoes in Air fall Tephra
the world. However, as Smith (1992) notes, this Lava Flow.
gure must be used only as an approximation, While secondary effects describe events such as:
simply because it is difcult to accurately deter- Lahars
mine when a volcano no longer poses a threat. Landslide
Therefore, as a general rule, any volcano that has Volcanic gases
erupted within the last 25,000 years can be consid- Tsunami.
ered active. With respect to their geographical dis-
tribution, the location and behavior of volcanoes
is strongly controlled by plate tectonics, with 80% Hazard, risk, and uncertainty
of the worlds active volcanoes found in subduc-
tion zones where one plate is actively being con- The natural events discussed in the previous sec-
sumed by another. Along these subduction zones tion concern us when they result in negative con-
the most prevalent form of subduction volcano is sequences that harm people or property. Yet the
the stratocone volcano. This geomorphic feature nature of hazardous events, their spatial and tem-
produces explosive conditions and reects the poral distribution, and the exact nature of their
classic conceptual image of volcanic activity. consequences and impact are shrouded in an en-

velope of uncertainty. Put simply, we know that natural hazard can shape both individual and
San Francisco is located on the San Andreas fault, societal perceptions and actions, it is critical to not
but we are not absolutely certain when the next only understand risk in technical terms, but
major earthquake will occur, where on the fault it also to describe how risk is perceived and man-
will be located, what its magnitude will be, or aged. This more detailed conceptualization places
what its consequences will be with respect to loss emphasis on the process of risk characteriza-
of life or property. To a large degree those answers tion and its role in hazard decision-making and
are subject to the laws of probability and under- planning.
score the uncertainty inherent to hazard assess-
ment and planning. For this reason, planning with
Risk characterization
hazards should operate on the premise that haz-
ardous events are a given; and the planner must The process of risk characterization has been
work toward a better understanding of risk and discussed in detail by Stern and Fineberg (1996).
develop strategies to narrow uncertainty down to Typically, risk characterization is dened as the
a level that can be more effectively managed. process of estimating the consequence of human
As Tobin and Montz (1997) note, there is a ten- exposure to a hazard. As a process, risk characteri-
dency to erroneously equate risk with hazard. zation has traditionally followed as the nal step
While the concept of risk is an integral part of haz- in procedures aimed at assessing risk. Recently, it
ard, the terms are not synonymous. We can dene has been suggested that viewing characterization
hazard simply as an event that can produce harm, as a summary stage in assessment carries serious
while risk explains the probability that an event deciencies (Stern & Fineberg, 1996). This has led
will occur. Therefore, risk can be considered as the to a reformulation of the concept, which now
product of the probability of occurrence and antic- places risk characterization at the very beginning
ipated loss given the hazard. This relationship of an assessment process that must:
may be expressed simply as: 1 Be decision driven.
Risk = probability of occurrence vulnerability. 2 Recognize all signicant concerns.
3 Reect both analysis and deliberation.
Although this is a useful representation, the for- 4 Be appropriate to the decision.
mula does not take into account geographic differ- In this context, the purpose of risk characteriza-
ences in population size or other factors that affect tion is to enhance practical understanding and to
and rene the description of risk. From a planners illuminate choices as they apply to hazards. The
perspective, risk is a multiplicative function of ultimate goal of this process is to describe a poten-
hazard, exposure, vulnerability, and response that tially hazardous situation in as accurate, com-
can be expressed more appropriately as: plete, and decision-relevant a manner as possible,
Risk = f (Hazard Exposure addressing the signicant concerns of the inter-
Vulnerability Response), ested and affected parties and making this
information understandable and accessible to
all concerned (Stern & Fineberg, 1996).
Hazard = the occurrence of an adverse event.
Risk characterization begins with the formula-
Exposure = the size and characteristics of the
tion of a problem (the likelihood of harm) and
affected population.
ends with a decision. Overall, characterization
Vulnerability = the potential for loss.
entails a ve-phase sequence:
Response = the extent to which mitigation
1 A judgment sequence that begins
measures are available.
with problem formulation, the selection of
In actuality, risk is more complex than even this options and outcomes, and moves through
functional relationship and extends well beyond information-gathering and synthesis.
the bounded rationality of probability theory. 2 A deliberation sequence where the limita-
Because the nature of risk associated with a tions and challenges surrounding the hazard
N AT U R A L H A Z A R D A S S E S S M E N T 133

are explored and a set of standards and goals Uncertainty may be increased by combined
is established. risk.
3 An analysis sequence where data are as- It is not surprising that the manner by which risk is
sembled and examined to form an under- dened, estimated, and communicated relates to
standing of the probabilities associated with uncertainty. For the planner, understanding this
the hazard. fundamental concept is critical to the formulation
4 An integration sequence that links goals of an effective response to hazard.
and standards to the characterization of the Uncertainty denes a characteristic presence
hazard and its associated risk. that surrounds the likelihood, magnitude, distri-
5 An implementation sequence where policy bution, and implications of risk. As a feature of
recommendations and actions are put into process, uncertainty may arise from a range of fac-
motion to reduce vulnerability. tors and conditions. Several of the more obvious
Although a systematic characterization of risk sources include:
is critical for effective planning, the results of a risk 1 Random variations and chance outcomes of
characterization can be misleading if the uncer- the physical world.
tainty surrounding the process is not interpreted 2 Lack of knowledge about the world.
correctly. A common problem when attempting to 3 An incomplete understanding of process.
explain risk relates to the observation that risk 4 Lack of an appropriate model of a risk-
characterization often gives the impression of generating process.
greater scientic certainty or unanimity than truly 5 Simple ignorance.
exists. In these instances, risk characterization A useful taxonomy of uncertainty was presented
may suggest that uncertainty is exclusively a mat- by Suter et al. (1987). Their taxonomy greatly illu-
ter of measurement, when in fact its presence may minates the sources and issues surrounding the
be a matter of disagreement about whether a par- subject and frames the topic of uncertainty in a
ticular theory applies, or reect differences in manner that can be easily understood. Although it
judgment regarding how to infer something that was written with reference to the problem of envi-
is unknown from something that is known, or sim- ronmental impact analysis, its concepts are ger-
ply the impression that certain risks do not exist mane to our discussion and can be easily applied
when in actuality they have not been analyzed to the question of hazard planning and assess-
(Stern & Fineberg, 1996). The simple truth, how- ment. According to their characterization, uncer-
ever, is that uncertainty pervades all considera- tainty may be divided into two main classes:
tion, evaluation, and analysis of risk. Thus, while dened and undened uncertainty (Fig. 6.6). De-
we strive to eliminate it from the assessment prob- ned uncertainty explains uncertainty intrinsic to
lem, the best we can achieve is a narrowing down the event in question, such as a river ood of a
of uncertainty until it can be managed. given stage. Undened uncertainty describes the
inherently unknowable and remains largely be-
As an active element of risk assessment, uncertain- yond our consideration. While there is little that
ty derives from the probabilistic nature of occur- can be done to reduce undened uncertainty,
rences and outcomes and the efcacy of various dened uncertainty can be reduced further into
choices (Tobin & Montz, 1997). Because it is an ac- two main subclasses, referred to a identity and
tive element of assessment, it requires special con- analytical uncertainty (Suter et al., 1987).
sideration in hazard planning for several reasons: With reference to environmental risk, identity
It is found in all elements of risk. uncertainty denes that uncertainty surrounding
The level of uncertainty is not the same for the identity of features or individuals affected by
each element or all hazards. an event at some future point in time. Analytical
Individuals differ in their interpretation and uncertainty explains the uncertainty that devel-
tolerance of uncertainty. ops from the various attempts and methods used
Reducing uncertainty is not a simple matter. to quantify risk and predict events and their


Defined Undefined


Natural Parameter
stochasticity error

Aggregation Incorrect Incorrect Measurement Extrapolation

error functional boundaries error error

Fig. 6.6 A typology of uncertainty.

consequences. Three important sources of uncer- sion, and risks whose magnitudes are difcult to
tainty can be noted in this context: estimate (Zechhaser & Viscuss, 1990). Therefore,
1 Uncertainty resulting from the approach when one is dening risk in relation to natural
used to conceptualize events and their causal processes several important considerations must
mechanisms. be incorporated into the risk characterization
2 Uncertainty that manifests from the processes (Whyte & Burton, 1980):
natural stochasticity intrinsic to natural Risks involve a complex series of cause-and-
processes. effect relationships that tend to be connected
3 Uncertainty associated with measurement from source to effect by pathways that may
error and problems related to the quantica- include environmental, technological, and
tion of risk. social variables that need to be modeled and
To a large degree, risk is an outgrowth of uncer- understood in context.
tainty. Its presence underscores the need to under- Risks are connected to each other, suggest-
stand where risk is prevalent and assess risk in ing that several risks occur simultaneously
relation to the trifold inuence of process, conse- within the same geographical area.
quence, and uncertainty. This is not a simple task Risks are connected to social benets such
given the observation that society all too often that a reduction in one risk usually means a
overreacts to some risks while virtually ignoring decline in the social benets to be derived
others (Zechhaser & Viscuss, 1990). As a conse- from accepting the risk.
quence, this pattern suggests that when consider- Risks are not always easy to identify, sug-
ing natural hazards, too much importance may be gesting that identication frequently occurs
placed on risks of low probability but high long after serious adverse consequences
salience, risks of commission rather than omis- have been experienced.
N AT U R A L H A Z A R D A S S E S S M E N T 135

Risks can never be measured precisely 1 Identication and description of the charac-
owing to their probabilistic nature; therefore teristics, geographic distribution, potential
quantication is always a question of esti- effects of hazardous events common to the
mation to some degree. planning area.
Risks are evaluated differently over space 2 Assessment of the vulnerability of several
and time and between various social set- classes of building and their occupants to
tings; thus a risk considered serious in one each hazard identied.
location may be considered unimportant 3 Identication and measurement of the major
elsewhere. primary, secondary, and high-order effects
These factors help to frame risk characterization associated with exposure by geographic
and direct the methodologies used to conduct an location of buildings and their occupants
analysis of hazard. to each hazard event.
4 Identication and explication of the major
candidate public problems associated with
Hazard analysis and assessment the effects identied.
5 Explanation of the costs and characteristics
The problem of hazard analysis and risk assess- of the strategies available for mitigating
ment can be approached in a number of ways. Be- effects induced by exposure.
cause the physical hazard and the land use near 6 Description of the public policy instruments
the hazard may change signicantly over time, it that may facilitate hazard mitigation.
is generally necessary to evaluate both existing Acomprehensive procedure for conducting a haz-
and future socioeconomic and geophysical condi- ard assessment consists of a sequence of analytic
tions within the hazard area. With this informa- stages that expand on the 6 elements listed above
tion, a clearer determination of the types and (Fig. 6.7). The major steps suggested by this
magnitudes of damage that may be anticipated sequence include:
from an event now and in the near future can be Hazard analysis
described. Vulnerability analysis
Practical limitations aside, an appropriate eval- Loss analysis
uation of a hazard requires a determination of the Risk analysis.
probability of occurrence of a natural event that Although risk assessment may be approached
poses a threat together with its various intensity following a clearly dened systematic methodol-
levels (Petak & Atkisson, 1982). Here, intensity ogy, a complicating factor throughout analysis
relates to parameters such as wind velocities, stems from the contrasting meanings attached to
water depth, ground shaking, and slope move- the concept of risk. These differing interpretations
ment. Because natural events are always active, greatly inuence what it is that is being measured
only those intensity levels capable of producing and how. Therefore, risk may be expressed in an
signicant damage are of concern. In this context, assessment in one of four ways (Tobin & Montz,
hazard intensity is related to the integrity of 1997):
exposed structures where vulnerability to a given 1 Real
intensity level becomes a function of the design, 2 Statistical
material composition, occupancy, and construc- 3 Predicted
tion and maintenance practices of structures in 4 Perceived.
the region. Regardless of denition, the goal of analysis is to
To effectively assess the levels of risk associated dene management strategies to minimize, dis-
with exposure to a natural hazard, analysis must tribute, or share the potentially adverse conse-
be conducted in such a manner to provide infor- quences of a hazard, and suggest options to
mation on 6 critical elements of risk (Petak & manage risk in the future. Here, the integration of
Atkisson, 1982): hazard assessment and mitigation with the local

Identification Description of event

of potential events characteristics

of exposure

Definition Vulnerability
of geographic analysis

Loss vulnerability

Estimation Measurement
of of
effects effects Fig. 6.7 The comprehensive risk
assessment process.

land-use and environmental planning becomes are hazard free. Through design management,
critical. communities can employ a mix of regulatory mea-
sures such as building codes or special-purpose
ordinances to reduce damage or draw on nonreg-
Planning with hazards and risk ulatory programs to inform and instruct devel-
opers on the use of damage-reducing design
Hazard mitigation and environmental planning techniques. With most hazard mitigation mea-
share several themes in common (Godschalk et al., sures, land-use management has had to contend
1998): both are future oriented, both are concerned with a range of problems that have limited its use
with anticipating tomorrows needs, both are and reduced its effectiveness (Burby, 1998). These
proactive, both attempt to gear immediate activi- include:
ties to longer-term goals and objectives. Tradition- Problems in maintaining commitment.
ally, hazard mitigation, however, has been Shortfalls in management capacity.
achieved by either: (1) adopting a locational ap- Lack of private-sector compliance.
proach to land use that reduces future losses by Failure to act at a regional scale.
limiting development in hazardous areas, or (2) As a consequence, these barriers suggest that
adopting a design approach which focuses on pro- land-use management alone may not be sufcient
moting safe construction practices in hazardous to adequately address natural hazard mitigation.
areas. The logic behind these mitigation strategies Instead, focus has shifted toward a local planning
is relatively straightforward. By managing the lo- approach that strives to create the appropriate
cation of land use, local governments work to shift combination of control measures with an empha-
existing development away from zones of known sis on their effectiveness, efciency, equality, and
hazard and direct new land uses toward areas that feasibility (Burby, 1998). This planning for mitiga-
N AT U R A L H A Z A R D A S S E S S M E N T 137

tion approach reects a signicant departure from and motivating the community to address natural
the practice of hazard management in several hazards. As awareness of the hazards improves,
important ways. Chief among these is the reco- more collaborative involvement of the communi-
gnition that appropriate mitigation will vary ty can be realized. This helps establish meaningful
depending on local circumstance. Therefore, pre- mitigation goals and objectives by combining
scription from federal or state agencies down to technical planning, public participation activities,
the local level may overlook critical factors and and political action together with a focus on
not reduce vulnerability as intended. According implementation.
to Burby (1998), taking a local planning approach 2. The emphasis given within each compo-
is one means to ensure that: nent of the plan. An effective hazard mitigation
Information on the nature of possible plan will consist of four essential elements: (1)
future hazard events is available to the an intelligence component that will dene the
public. problem and provide justication for the policies
Land subject to natural hazards is identied and actions recommended in the plan, (2) a
and managed in a manner compatible with goals component that consists of a statement of
the type, assessed frequency, and damage community values as a basis for the policies
potential of the hazard. and actions recommended in the plan, (3) an
Land subject to hazards is managed with actions component that provides the details of
due regard for the social, economic, aes- the policies or programs of action designed to
thetic, and ecological costs and benets to achieve the desired mitigation goal, and (4) an
all stakeholders. evaluation component that explains how hazard
All reasonable measures are taken to avoid assessment and implementation of the recom-
hazards and potential damage to existing mended mitigation strategies will be monitored
properties at risk. and evaluated.
All reasonable measures are taken to allevi- 3. The type of plan. Because plans vary in
ate the hazard and damage potential styles, formats, and emphases, not all types of
resulting from development in hazardous plans are equally suitable for hazard mitigation.
areas. The choice of plan involves selecting an approach
Mitigation planning, therefore, combines techni- to t the preferences of the community. There are
cal analysis and community participation to en- two alternatives to select from: (1) developing the
able communities to choose between alternative mitigation plan as a separate, stand-alone docu-
strategies for managing change. In this context the ment focusing on hazards, or (2) incorporating
planning program is intended to produce a plan hazard mitigation into the comprehensive
for avoiding or mitigating harm from natural community plan. If integration into the com-
events and for recovering from their conse- prehensive plan is selected, then the next choice
quences (Godschalk et al., 1998). The general de- to be made determines whether the plan will be
sign of this approach can be summarized as a structured as a land classication plan, a future
series of choices that direct attention toward: land-use design, a verbal policy plan, a land-
1. The approach taken to encourage stake- use management plan, or a hybrid of the above
holder participation. This initial step in hazard types.
mitigation planning involves enlisting communi- 4. The mitigation strategy. The nal area of
ty support and assistance in formulating the plan. choice in developing the hazard plan involves
Because some mitigation measures may be con- selection of the mitigation strategy that will be
troversial, building public involvement promotes applied by the community. This aspect of hazard
awareness. Awareness can include media cam- planning is far more substantive in nature and di-
paigns, public-school information kits, or home- rects attention toward the selection of a particular
owner/developer seminars aimed at informing strategy to achieve mitigation of the hazard(s).

Choice involves consideration of the pragmatic 3 Approaches that give attention to site devel-
(Godschalk et al., 1998): opment schemes for protecting structures
Taking a coercive approach versus a cooper- from hazards.
ative approach to inuence private-sector 4 Approaches that involve the identication
behavior. of hazard-prone sites and the application of
Employing one local governmental power measures to prevent or restrict their develop-
over another. ment and use.
Shaping future development versus ad- 5 Loss recovery, relief, and community reha-
dressing existing developments at risk. bilitation approaches.
Controlling the hazard versus controlling 6 Hazard warning and population evacuation
human behavior. systems.
Taking action before a disaster occurs 7 Approaches that provide policy-makers
versus taking action afterward during with the information and decision assis-
recovery. tance tools that facilitate rational and effec-
Going it alone versus taking an intergovern- tive hazard management decision-making.
mental and regional approach. With a focus on mitigation, coordinated
Although mitigation is often considered syn- planning with hazard suggests a departure from
onymous with increasing structural integrity, it is simple hazard management to a more compre-
far more useful to view mitigation as a manage- hensive view of the problem that encourages a
ment strategy that balances current actions and change in the accepted norms of a society (Tobin
expenditures with potential losses from future & Montz, 1997). This new management model,
hazard occurrences. Thus mitigation activities illustrated in Fig. 6.8, suggests that through the
identify those approaches that either (1) eliminate combined inuence of planning, changes in per-
or reduce the probability of occurrence of a ception, and the sociological and economic reali-
hazardous event, or (2) reduce the impact of ties faced by communities, new concepts of risk
the hazard occurrence. Two broad categories of and vulnerability will emerge. For the planner,
mitigation can be described: hazard management is more than ameliorating
Preparedness activities dene the role of geophysical events, but also requires modifying
government, organizations, and individuals the human use system. To this end Blaike et al.
take in developing, testing, and maintaining (1994) offer 12 principles that can be used to guide
programs to save lives and minimize disas- hazard planning efforts:
ter damage. 1 Vigorously manage mitigation.
Response activities explain programs de- 2 Integrate elements of mitigation into
signed to provide emergency assistance fol- development planning.
lowing a disaster and reduce the probability 3 Capitalize on a disaster to initiate or
of secondary damage. develop mitigation.
Auseful taxonomy of mitigation measures was 4 Monitor and modify to suit new conditions.
offered by Petak and Atkisson (1982). According 5 Focus attention on protection of the most
to this schema, mitigation can be divided into vulnerable.
seven categories: 6 Focus on the protection of loves and liveli-
1 Approaches that involve measures to mini- hoods of the vulnerable.
mize the probability of hazard occurrence 7 Focus on active rather than passive
and/or to protect areas and building sites approaches.
from the hazard. 8 Focus on protecting priority sectors.
2 Approaches that focus on strengthening 9 Emphasize measures that are sustainable
buildings exposed to the hazard or on the over time.
design of site-level systems for protecting 10 Assimilate mitigation into normal
buildings from hazards. practices.
N AT U R A L H A Z A R D A S S E S S M E N T 139


Development of
Social change
structural and Reduced Reduced and
nonstructural exposure vulnerability Hazard adjustment
mitigation strategies


Reduced Reduced
losses anxiety

Perceptual change
Fig. 6.8 The planning with hazards Hazard awareness

11 Incorporate mitigation into specic devel- proaches available to better manage risk and re-
opment projects. duce the adverse effects of hazardous events.
12 Maintain political commitment.

Focusing questions
How is risk different from a hazard?
Natural processes often present risks and hazards Events that represent hazards have important
to humans and should inuence the form and loca- characteristics. What general characteristics
tion of development. As important responsibility do hazards share?
of the environmental planner involves identifying Which hazards presented in this chapter are
the type and incidence of natural hazards common common to your planning area and what
to the planning area and communicating the risks methods have been used to communicate the
associated with each to decision-makers. A selec- risk associated with each?
tion of natural hazards were reviewed in this chap- What does it mean to plan with hazards and
ter with a focus on their origins and consequences. how does this depart from traditional plan-
From this discussion the concept of risk was intro- ning approaches?
duced and the uncertainties inherent to risk as- Discuss the role of uncertainty in risk and haz-
sessment methods were examined. The chapter ard management: what effect does it have on
concluded with a treatment of the planning ap- policy-making?
Integrated Environmental Planning
James K. Lein
Copyright 2003 by Blackwell Publishing

Environmental Modeling
and Simulation

The use of models in planning has enjoyed a long Models and modeling
tradition dating back well over four decades.
Interest in the use of models is based largely on The activity of modeling and the creation of mod-
two familiar planning themes: (1) the need to els are neither new nor necessarily complex. Since
consider the implications and consequences of the very early days of our existence, humankind
decisions before actions are taken, and (2) the has been urged to interact with our environment
requirement to incorporate a large number of in- to fulll essential needs. Through this interaction
teracting variables into a process view of the plan- we developed ideas and concepts as to how our
ning area. Added to these general rationales for environment worked and how we could navigate
using models in planning is the recognition our world to recover the resources we required to
that environmental and regional planning have ensure our survival. Over time, these models of
undergone signicant changes that have had a interaction have become more varied and sophis-
profound impact on the value models enjoy as ticated to dene more mature forms of interac-
decision-support aids (Klosterman, 1998). One tion with the real world (Spriet & Vansteenkiste,
noteworthy change has been the widespread 1982). Within the realm of science, the interaction
adoption of low-cost tools and data, such as geo- between humans and our environments can be
graphic information systems. However, as these approached using either formal or abstract repre-
systems became more accessible, it soon became sentations. Such representations dene models.
evident that an information system alone cannot However, models are only useful if they capture
meet all the needs of the planner (Harris & Batty, the essential features of the objects, events, or enti-
1993). This realization has renewed interest in the ties they have been designed to represent.
art and science of computer modeling and has As a device for aiding human insight and com-
stimulated development of integrated tools to prehension, modeling describes a process that
support planning and environmental decision- consists of two basic steps: (1) model-building
making (Holmberg, 1994; Lein, 1997). In this chap- and formalization and (2) model analysis and ap-
ter the fundamental principles of modeling and plication. A simple representation of this relation-
simulation are introduced, and the role of models ship is given in Fig. 7.1. As suggested by Fig. 7.1,
in environmental planning is examined with all models begin with the real world. This real
emphasis given to the issues of model design and world is then simplied to form a representation
application. of key processes that inuence the behavior of
something we wish to learn more about (climate,
land-use change, population growth, ecosystem
E N V I R O N M E N TA L M O D E L I N G 141

functioning). Our representation may take sever- decision-makers to focus their judgment and intu-
al forms, yet regardless of form, a model is pro- ition in a highly structured way. Because a model
duced that stands as a formal characterization of is a simplication of reality, it may be the only way
something we are keenly interested in learning to understand systems whose geographic scale or
more about. This characterization is then exam- complexity might otherwise place them beyond
ined with reference to the real-world system on our physical or mental grasp (Hardisty, Taylor, &
which it is based and, if accepted, the model can Metcalfe, 1993). For example, if we wanted to un-
be used to help understand how that real-world derstand an air pollution problem it would be in-
system behaves. The model produced through feasible and unpopular to burn large quantities of
this process is simply an abstraction of the object, coal to see how air quality would change. Thus
system, or idea in some form other than that of the when we are confronted with a complex relation-
entity itself, and has value because it can help us ship, the model may be the only solution. Of
to explain, understand, or improve some facet of course the model is a simplication. Therefore, to
the real system it represents. be credible the model must retain the signicant
When placed into the context of environmen- features of the process in question so its behavior
tal planning, a model may explain an exact replica closely approximates what we might nd in the
of the object (system) at a reduced scale, or it may real system. Using our air pollution analogy from
represent an abstraction of the objects salient above, this means that our model should incorpo-
properties. In either case models serve several rate as many of the properties of the atmosphere,
important functions. For the planner perhaps its chemistry, and ow characteristics as possible,
the most useful are prediction and comparison, so that a change in emission levels can be traced
although there are many other equally relevant through the model to an outcome that can be eval-
functions models fulll: uated. This point has signicant implications for
An aid to thought those who use and develop models. Since models
An aid to communication are approximations, there is a highly selective and
An aid to experimentation subjective aspect to their design, structure, and
An aid to training and instruction. purpose.
Model-building, therefore, provides a system- Several classication schemes have been de-
atic, explicit, and efcient way for experts and vised to help understand the types of models that

Model representation

Driving input Output

Process interactions
parameters response
& transfers
& variables variables

Hypothesized functional form

Observed Abstraction & simplification Model

process of predicted
interest Real-world system behavior

Fig. 7.1 Modeling the real world.


have been developed and the nature of the sys- Table 7.1 Basic types of models.
tems they represent. A very simple division sepa- Type Description
rates models into two general groups: descriptive
and normative. A descriptive model offers a Hardware model Models that take the form of scaled
analogue representations of some
stylized portrayal of reality with either an empha- physical system
sis on equilibrium structural features (Static), or
Conceptual model Models that take the form of charts,
on changes in processes or functions over time
pictures and diagrams depicting
(Dynamic). Normative models employ the use of system arrangement and ow
analogues. Models may also be conceptual, theo-
Mathematical model Models that take the form of
retical, symbolic, mathematical, or statistical. numerical expressions that represent
Generally, three basic types of models can be iden- critical aspects of process, physical
tied (Table 7.1). Regardless of structure, it is the laws, and measured values and
complexity of environmental systems that com- relationships
pels the development and use of models. Further- Digital model Models that describe mathematical
more, because environmental planning problems models that have been translated
are multivariate and dynamic, relying exclusively into a computer language and
encoded for machine execution
on professional judgment does not provide
enough support for decision-making. As shown
by Vlek and Wagenaar (1979), within any decision
problem there is typically a discrepancy between of model-based approaches to problem-solving
the existing state and the desired state of a given focus on the argument that models are often
system. While reducing this discrepancy is the overly simplistic representations of very complex
goal, there is often more than one possible course real systems. Due to their simplicity they are
of action. Such decision problems are common in prone to inaccuracies and tend to distort decisions
planning, particularly when one is considering involving important planning resources (Gordon,
the environmental consequences of a decision, 1985). Compounding the issue of accuracy is the
the pattern of change a decision may induce, or general observation that far too often the wrong
the irreversible commitment of resources that model is selected or the selected model is applied
may follow from a decision. In each of these exam- inappropriately. When this happens the results
ples the potential number of variables involved obtained via the model can lead to intractable er-
is likely to be large, the interrelationships com- rors in analysis or inaccurate conclusions. The ap-
plex, and the uncertainty surrounding the prob- propriate use of models in planning depends on
lem high, and the role of models becomes obvious. whether the model simulates the consequence of
We would like to explore a future before it realistic decisions, has been validated as an accu-
arrives. rate representation of the real world, is reliable,
Certain features of a planning problem will and expresses reliability according to its dened
point to the appropriateness of a model-based so- limitations. If these conditions are met, then the
lution. These conditions include: model can provide valuable support in making a
A large number of decision, exogenous, and decision.
state variables. When considering the use or development of a
A large number of components. model, application typically begins with a prob-
Complex and nonlinear functional relation- lem that involves prediction or comparison as part
ships. of the answer. Although there are no formal rules
High degrees of risk and uncertainty. to direct the design of a model, the approach to
A hierarchical structure. successful implementation follows the general
Multiple and often conicting objectives. principle of elaboration and enrichment. Accord-
Multiple decision-makers. ing to this simple strategy the model evolves from
Applying models in environmental planning, a simple representation of the processes involved
however, is not without its limitations. Critics toward a more detailed representation that re-
E N V I R O N M E N TA L M O D E L I N G 143

ects the complexities of the process more clearly sis, this initial design can be translated into a
(Lein, 1997; Shannon, 1975). Therefore, modeling working model that can be applied toward the
involves constant interaction and feedback be- solution of a problem.
tween the real-world system and its representa- Designing a model of a real system and con-
tion. As this model evolves, it is tested, rened, ducting experiments using this model describes
and validated until a useful approximation of the the general process of simulation. As an experi-
system of interest emerges. mental and applied methodology, simulation
The iterative nature of model development modeling seeks to: (1) describe the behavior of
suggests that regardless of sophistication all systems, (2) construct theories or hypotheses that
models are approximations that contain critical account for an observed behavior, (3) use these
assumptions pertaining to the system they repre- theories to predict future behavior. Because this is
sent, the pattern of cause and effect used to an applied methodology, simulation involves
capture how the system behaves, and the func- both the construction of the model and the ana-
tional relationships depicted by the elements lytical use of the model for studying a problem.
contained in the model. As an analytic procedure, Analysis and experimentation are central themes
modeling consists of four key activities (Shannon, in this process as the problem, ltered through the
1975): the ability to (1) analyze a problem, (2) model, is examined in a controlled and systematic
abstract from the problem its essential features, way to reveal new insights and test present as-
(3) select and modify basic assumptions, and (4) sumptions (Fig. 7.2). These central concepts also
enrich and elaborate the initial design. At the connect simulation to the goals of planning by
completion of these phases, the resulting model providing an analytic device that can test alterna-
can be applied to simulate a real system, tives, evaluate allocation strategies, and examine
and through simulation insight can be gained critical trends within the planning area.
that helps us understand how the real system To successfully apply computer simulation
responds to change. methods in environmental planning, three inter-
related activities must be understood:
1 Model Design the initial stage in the simu-
The simulation process lation process that includes a detailed for-
mulation of the problem, a clear denition of
An integral feature of the modeling process is the the system, and the specication and testing
representation of some aspect of the real world of a model.
using the constructs of systems theory and the 2 Model Application the second stage in the
placement of the resulting model into an experi- process that includes calibrating the model,
mental design targeted toward an understanding selecting the scenario to examine, and exe-
of that systems future state. These two qualities of cuting the model.
modeling connect us back to the systems view of 3 Analysis and Implementation the nal
planning introduced in Chapter 1, and move us stage in the simulation process that concerns
forward into the realm of computer simulation. the interpretation of the results obtained
Thinking back to Chapter 1, the attraction of sys- from the model and the implementation of
tems thinking was its facility for structuring and those results
understanding the behavior of complex interrela- Given the methodology imposed by these activ-
tionships. When applied to a problem, systems ities, a simulation experiment can be looked at as a
thinking led to the design of a systems model procedure for acquiring information. This means
where the variables to include in the system were that through the experimental run of the model, it
specied, the hypothetical relationships among will produce results that can provide insight into
variables comprising the system were explained, the problem, and these results can be data in
the structure of the system was described, and the the form of numerical approximations of some
design of a functional form was tested and rened. change in a variable, or it can be a graphic repre-
Using the representations tools of systems analy- sentation of how something may look given the

Model Model
enrichment formulation

Interpretation preparation

Simulation Model
and translation
experimentation Model
validation Fig. 7.2 The process of simulation

inputs that were selected to drive the model. Mak- consists of systematically varying the values
ing certain that this information is useful and its of the parameters and input variables over a
limitations understood introduces several impor- range of known extreme cases. The analyst
tant considerations that guide the simulation can then observe the effect of these extreme
experiment: values on the model performance and the re-
Validation and Verication describes a se- sults it provides. Through sensitivity testing:
ries of tests applied to the model in order to (1) limitations in the model due to the values
establish a level of condence in the model used to parameterize and conduct a simula-
and the inferences drawn from the simula- tion can be identied; (2) effects produced by
tion. Because a model is essentially a theory extreme conditions on the stability of the
describing the structure and interrelation- model can be noted; and (3) clues to guide
ships of an observable phenomenon, vali- future enhancements and modications of
dation is not concerned with whether the the model can be located.
model is a true representation of the actual Experimental Design and Execution run-
system, but rather whether the insights ning a simulation experiment is the process
gained from the simulation experiment are of applying the model to observe and ana-
reasonable. Through validation it is possible lyze the information it provides. The experi-
to explain the operational utility of the mental design selects a specic approach for
model. This may involve several specic gathering the information needed to enable
tests to build condence, such as face valid- the environmental planner to draw valid
ity to determine if the model results appear inferences. Three essential steps direct this
correct and assumption testing to ascertain process (Shannon, 1975):
whether critical assumptions in the model 1 Determination of the experimental design
can be supported. criteria.
Sensitivity Analysis because a model re- 2 Synthesis of the experimental model.
ceives input data and processes that data to 3 Comparison of the model to standard
generate an output, how the model responds experimental designs to select the appro-
to the variables and parameters used in priate methodology.
a simulation greatly inuences its useful Typically, the simulation experiment concerns
application. As a test, sensitivity analysis resolving an answer to the question, How does a
E N V I R O N M E N TA L M O D E L I N G 145

change in x affect y? In an environmental plan- to predict what might happen if a clearly dened
ning context we may ask how a change in land use policy choice is selected serves an essential ana-
might affect surface run-off, or how an increase in lytical need. Prediction, of course, does not neces-
vehicle trips will affect air quality. Thus, the nal sarily imply that future conditions will be forecast
design of the simulation tends to be strongly inu- exactly. Rather, prediction implies that certain as-
enced by the criteria deemed pertinent to that sumptions about the future can be explored and
question. Among the criteria to consider when evaluated. Modeling and simulation support this
nalizing the design are: type of evaluation by creating an environment
1 The number of factors to be varied. where a range of alternatives can be examined and
2 The number of values or levels to use for each a range of potential future arrangements of the
factor. built environment can be explored.
3 Whether the various levels are quantitative According to Rescher (1998), any prediction
or qualitative. worth considering must rest on an evidential
4 Whether the levels of the various factors are basis. This suggests that some rational substantia-
constant of random. tion must exist, because serious cognitive interest
5 Whether nonlinear effects will be measured. attaches to rational prediction, and for those that
6 The number of measurements that will be are credible there is good reason to accept them as
taken for the response variable. correct. When predicting, there must be an actual
7 How interactions between factors will be commitment to a future-oriented claim. Conse-
measured. quently, the predictive character of those future-
8 What level of precision is required for an oriented declarations depends on the user of those
effective analysis? declarations. However, not every future-oriented
These eight points remind us that a simulation ex- thesis represents a prediction. Thus, for a claim to
periment is only as sound as the techniques used constitute an actual prediction, there must be
in its construction. This suggests that the validity someone who makes or accepts it. Consequently,
of the results gained through simulation can be prediction differs in its objectives and purpose
affected by the techniques used in data collection from scenario projection.
and the methods employed when summarizing Based on these observations, the concept of a
the data. Therefore, to be useful, simulation must scenario can be dened in several different ways.
t within the context of a clearly dened problem. Koplik et al. (1982) dene a scenario as a possible
The problem focus takes the form of a forecast, sequence of processes and events that are describ-
where the planner seeks insight into the future able by equations involving specied physical
state of the planning area and the forces of change parameters. Other, less technical denitions
that will drive the planning area toward this new characterize the concept as
state. Expressing the problem in the form of a fore- A hypothetical sequence of events con-
cast directs attention to the question of prediction structed for the purpose of focusing atten-
and its connection to the modeling and simulation tion on causal processes and decision points.
process. An exploration of an alternative future.
An outline of one conceivable sequence of
events and states given certain assumptions.
Prediction and A scenario, therefore, is a tool for ordering ones
scenario projection perceptions about alternative future environ-
ments in which todays decisions might play out.
Modeling and simulation facilitate one of the In practice, scenarios resemble a set of stories,
main goals of planning, that of prediction. Be- written or spoken, built around carefully con-
cause a plan is essentially an attempt to explain structed plots. Stories are an old way of organizing
how the landscape will evolve through the imple- knowledge, and when used as planning tools,
mentation of specic goals and policies, the ability they defy denial by encouraging in fact, requir-

ing the willing suspension of disbelief. Stories primary consequences of a causal chain of events
can express multiple perspectives on complex in a highly selective manner (Fowles, 1978).
events, and scenarios give meaning to these Finally, a scenario should be multifaceted and
events. Yet, despite its story-like qualities, sce- holistic in its approach to the future.
nario planning follows systematic and recogniz- The test of a good scenario is not whether it por-
able phases. The process is highly interactive, trays the future accurately but whether it enables
intense, and imaginative. It begins by isolating an organization to learn and adapt. When applied
the decision to be made, rigorously challenging to problems in environmental planning, scenarios
the mental maps that shape ones perceptions, are a means to integrate individual analyses of
and hunting and gathering information, often trends and potential events into a holistic picture
from unorthodox sources. The next steps are of a possible future. In this context, scenarios be-
more analytical: identifying the driving forces come powerful planning tools precisely because
(social, technological, environmental, economic, the future is unpredictable. Hence, unlike tradi-
and political); the predetermined elements (i.e., tional forecasting methods, scenarios present al-
what is inevitable, like many demographic factors ternative images instead of extrapolating current
that are already in the pipeline); and the critical trends from the present. Scenarios also embrace
uncertainties (i.e., what is unpredictable or a qualitative perspectives and the potential for
matter of choice, such as public opinion). These sharp discontinuities that econometric models ex-
factors are then prioritized according to impor- clude. Consequently, creating scenarios requires
tance and uncertainty. These exercises culminate planners to question their broadest assumptions
in a small set of carefully constructed scenario about the way the world works so they can antici-
plots (Schwartz, 1991; Mason, 1994; Wack, pate decisions that might be missed or denied.
1984). Thus, the planner creates a scenario to describe the
If scenarios are to function as learning tools, the interaction of trends and events and to explore the
lessons they teach must be based on issues critical possible course of alternative decisions on the fu-
to the success of the decision. Since only a few sce- ture state of the planning area. To be effective, a
narios can be fully developed and remembered, prerequisite for scenario use in planning must be
each should represent a plausible alternative fu- a sensing of incipient societal change, whether
ture, not a best-case, worst-case, and most likely those changes are demographic, environmental,
continuum. Once the scenarios have been eshed economic, technological, or some combination of
out and woven into a narrative, the planner identi- the above. Given this, the scenario serves as a
es their implications and the leading indicators synoptic view of the total future environmental
to be monitored on an ongoing basis. A scenario, possibilities and is designed to meet ve analytic
therefore, has several distinguishing characteris- objectives (Wilson, 1978):
tics that guide its creation and application in 1 To combine alternative environmental de-
modeling. First, and perhaps most importantly, velopment into a framework that is consis-
scenarios are hypothetical simply because the fu- tent and relevant to the planning area.
ture is unknowable. The best one can hope for is to 2 To identify branching points, potential
explore alternative possible futures. Therefore a discontinuities and contingencies that can
scenario will never materialize exactly as de- serve as valuable early warnings.
scribed due to the impact of unforeseen events 3 To formulate strategies that can translate
and responses (Fowles, 1978). Secondly, a scenario alternative environmental developments
professes to be only an outline of a possible future. into policy recommendations.
For that reason, a scenario only seeks to identify 4 To provide a basis for analyzing the range of
the key branching points of a possible future to possible outcomes.
highlight the major determinants that might cause 5 To test the outcomes of various planning
the future to evolve from one branch rather than strategies under alternative environmental
another. Thus, the scenario serves to sketch in the conditions.
E N V I R O N M E N TA L M O D E L I N G 147

An important consideration when applying though specics differ, selection methods address
scenarios in planning is the fact that there is no in- two distinct functions: (1) ensuring completeness
evitability to the future. For this reason, it is critical of the list mechanisms that are considered, and (2)
to present as many varying views of the future as screening out irrelevant and incredible mecha-
practical in order to dene nisms to produce a list of reasonable scenarios.
Trends that are probable but shapeable. Of the selection methods introduced, the most
Trends that are probable but not amenable to useful to the environmental planner is the event
policy inuences. tree. An event tree is a scenario constructed in the
Trends that are possible and shapeable. form of a diagram (Fig. 7.3). These diagrams
Trends that are possible but not amenable to describe events and processes that explain specic
policy inuences. chains of causeeffecteffectconsequence rela-
While there is no single best method to follow tionships. Using an event tree the logical sequence
when developing a scenario, a prototypical pat- of cause and effect leading to a specic outcome
tern can be offered. In general, developing a sce- can be traced. This feature has the advantage of
nario requires compiling a detailed listing of all allowing scenario developers to follow the causal
phenomena potentially relevant to the problem. sequence and critically review the plausibility of
Added to this list are the processes and events that each step, examine the logic and assumptions
inuence change. Armed with this basic informa- inherent to an event chain, and evaluate in pro-
tion, specic effects and consequences can be babilistic terms the likelihood of the relationship
identied. Next, the scenario can be explained in depicted.
written form and reviewed to assess the credibili- Although scenarios are useful tools in plan-
ty of the pathways and connections that shape ning, they are not without limitations (Godet &
alternative futures. Once expressed in this form, Roubelat, 1996). Discussing the use and misuse of
a reasonable number of possible futures can be scenarios in long range planning, Godet and
selected for further analysis. Roubelat (1996) remind us that a scenario is not a
Because more than one description of the fu- future reality, but a way of foreseeing the future. In
ture is possible, a major issue in the use of scenar- a scenario we are using the present to suggest all
ios in planning relates to the problem of selection. possible or desirable futures. The future is not
Several methods have been introduced to guide being predicted, which implies that our scenarios
scenario selection: simulation, event-tree analy- are only useful if they are relevant, coherent,
sis, and expert judgment. The relative merits of likely, and transparent. This places tremendous
each have been summarized by Ross (1989). Al- responsibility on the planner, who must ask the

Initial Primary Secondary Tertiary

event effect effect effect
Cause Effect


Fig. 7.3 A stylized event tree


right questions and clearly formulate the hy- ior that may be probabilistic in nature and ex-
potheses that are the keys to the future. plained in terms of a probability function. Based
on an understanding of the problem and the causal
mechanisms involved, the decision must be made
Computer modeling methods regarding which of the above denitions can be
used to represent process in a model. This decision
Developing scenarios can be a valuable way to must also take into consideration the geographic
gain insight regarding the causal processes that in- scale and the level of spatial resolution needed to
uence the future state of the planning area. How- adequately represent the process of interest as an
ever, to make a scenario useful as a predictive active feature of the landscape. Finally, the con-
device, the facts, decision points, and causal trolling variables and parameters that drive the
mechanisms must be operationalized to permit system need to be identied, and values for these
the consequence of outcomes to emerge for a set of entities must be obtained and evaluated.
selected endpoints. Operationalizing a scenario The range of modeling methodologies and
means putting it into motion, letting it run, and ob- their technical specications are well beyond the
serving what its products might look like. Placing scope of this chapter. Excellent treatments of
a scenario in motion requires developing a simu- modeling with reference to planning and environ-
lation experiment to model critical features of the mental management can be found in Gordon
hypothetical sequence of events and using simu- (1985), Klosterman et al. (1993), and Hardisty et al.
lation as a means of exploring the output generat- (1993). In place of an exhaustive review of model-
ed by the model. There are various approaches ing methods, this section will examine a selection
available to model the causal processes implied by of modeling recipes that can be employed when
a scenario, and numerous methodologies used to theorizing about causality and developing the
capture and characterize causality. Thus, when kernel of a simulation study. The selected recipes
the focus in planning shifts to the question of mod- dene fundamental representational schemes for
eling, the issue of which method best explains the expressing causal processes and approximating
process of interest must be resolved. the behavior of a system, and include the methods
Causal relationships can be dened in either of of:
two contrasting ways: (1) continuous versus dis- 1 Monte Carlo sampling
crete processes or (2) stochastic versus determinis- 2 Markov processes
tic processes. When used to explain process, the 3 Optimization
terms continuous and discrete refer to the na- 4 Systems dynamics
ture or behavior of the system as evidenced by a 5 Cellular automata.
change in its state with respect to time. A system Before embarking on this review, it is helpful to
(process) whose changes occur continuously over explain the basic process of converting knowl-
time are termed continuous, whereas systems edge of a system into a numerical model and to
whose changes in state occur in nite quanta or describe how these techniques t into that
jumps are referred to as discrete. The terms sto- process. For the purposes of our discussion, a
chastic and deterministic rene the nature of model is constructed in four phases, each with a
how those changes occur. A deterministic process specic objective.
is one in which each new state is completely deter- 1 Specifying the purpose of the model
mined by its previous state of dening conditions. every model is designed to meet a specic
Thus, a deterministic system evolves in a com- need for information. Whether calculating
pletely xed and conclusive way from one state to river ow, population changes, or the spatial
another in response to a given stimulus (Lein, interaction between land-use zones, execu-
1997). Stochastic processes contain an element of tion of the model will give valuable insight
randomness that inuences the transition from into the behavior of the process under
state to state. Stochastic systems suggest a behav- investigation.
E N V I R O N M E N TA L M O D E L I N G 149

2 Specifying the components to be included To understand how process can be represented

in the model because a model is an abstrac- and to decipher the black-box view of models as
tion or simplication of reality, the elements analytical tools, their underlying structure and
that drive the behavior of the system must be mathematical foundations can be examined. Be-
identied. These components determine the cause many models used in environmental plan-
functional form of the model and explain key ning share these fundamentals, the techniques
interactions that describe process. demonstrated reveal the elegance and simplicity
3 Specifying the parameters and variables of the modeling process and illustrate how root
associated with the components the de- ideas can be easily adapted to new situations and
scriptive elements that are used to explain problems.
the system must be measurable qualities and
quantities for numerical simulation to work.
Monte Carlo sampling
Thus, each element has to be expressed in
terms of a value that reects its present status Monte Carlo sampling is rooted in the concept of
as well as its dynamic nature. simulating systems containing stochastic or prob-
4 Specifying the functional relationships abilistic elements (Shannon, 1975; Evans & Olson,
among components, parameters, and vari- 1998). Simulation models based in this technique
ables this nal phase concerns the explicit trace their origins to the work of von Neumann
treatment of process and how the model will and Ulan during the development of the atomic
capture the behavior of the system. The func- bomb. Although the technique had been known
tional relationships dened here establish for many years prior to that period, its success at
ows of information, matter, or energy as Los Alamos quickly encouraged its application to
directed by the rules used to govern model problems in a range of disciplines. Although the
behavior. The basic functional forms can primary use of Monte Carlo sampling is its utility
include any of the following: for simulating probabilistic situations, it can also
a. Deterministic relationships explain- be applied to completely deterministic problems
ing the conditions where behavior is that cannot be solved analytically.
completely determined by the state Using the analogy of a Roulette wheel on a
equations used in the model to calculate gaming table, Monte Carlo sampling employs
the state of selected components. articial experience or data generated by the use
b. Probabilistic relationships dening of a random number generator and the cumula-
the condition where underlying process- tive probability distribution of interest to produce
es expressed in the model can be repre- a pattern of numbers that represents the behavior
sented by governing rules of probability. of real-world objects, events, or entities. The
c. Stochastic relationships characterizing procedures used to generate random numbers
behavior or processes where uncertainty rest at the core of this modeling technique. Typi-
is high and random elements of chance cally, random numbers can be acquired from a
inuence behavior. Such relationships computer program or subroutine that can provide
are not rigidly controlled by probability, uniformly random digits. However, in most simu-
but rather follow a more heuristic pattern lation models we often wish to generate random
with greater potential variability. numbers whose distributions are other than uni-
The problems encountered in environmental form. In these instances the uniformly distributed
planning typically involve some aspect of all three pseudorandom numbers generated by our pro-
relationships expressed above. In many situations gram are used to draw or sample values from
selecting the correct modeling strategy is not easy a known frequency (probability) distribution
and may be inuenced by data availability, lack of (Harbaugh & Bonham-Carter, 1981). The proba-
underlying theory, and the degree of uncertainty bility distribution to be sampled can originate
inherent to the problem. from a variety of sources, including:

Empirical data derived from past records of waste quantities at a sample of existing landlls.
the event or process (i.e., stream ow, trafc In practice this might prove to be difcult, but we
counts, wind speeds). might have volume data of annual deposition for
A recent experiment or eld test that gener- 500 landlls throughout the United States. The
ated measurement values of the event or data can be displayed as a series of discrete inter-
process. vals in a histogram based on the frequency with
Aknown theoretical probability distribution which measurements fall into each class of the his-
(i.e., Gausian, gamma, poison). togram. This empirical distribution can be con-
The random numbers generated based on one of verted to a cumulative distribution to enable the
the above methods are used to produce a random- draw of random variates. Using this cumulative
ized stream of variates that will duplicate the ex- distribution, articial experience for our landll
pected experience (behavior) as a function of the can be generated to characterize its life expectan-
probability distribution being sampled. cy. Thus to simulate solid waste deposition in a
Monte Carlo sampling is relatively simple in computer model we can sample the cumulative
concept. Shannon (1975) provides an excellent frequency distribution represented by the his-
discussion of the major steps involved by means togram through the use of a random number
of an example that can be worked by hand (Table generator. This can be accomplished in either of
7.2). To draw an articial sample at random from a two ways:
population that can be summarized by a probabil- 1 Random samples can be drawn from the
ity function, lets consider a hypothetical simula- observed empirical distribution itself.
tion model dealing with the deposition of solid 2 If the frequency distribution can be approxi-
waste in a municipal landll. The model in our ex- mated by known theoretical distributions,
ample is constructed so that the quantity of solid samples can be drawn from that distribution
waste deposited per increment of time (years) is provided that we can write its function
an exogenous input to the model. The quantity of and estimate its parameters (such as the
solid waste can be dened as the volume (thick- mean, and standard deviation for a normal
ness) deposited uniformly over the area of the distribution).
landll per increment of time. In designing the For the present example, lets assume we have
model an initial step would be to gather actual drawn our samples from the cumulative distribu-
data about the frequency distribution of solid tion. With these samples we would like to evaluate
the life expectancy of a candidate landll site over
a 50-year time horizon. Using a random number
Table 7.2 Basic steps in Monte Carlo sampling.
generator a series of variates can be drawn to rep-
Step 1 Plot or tabulate the data of interest as a cumulative resent annual solid waste deposited at the site. If
probability distribution function with the values of the numbers 09, 57, 43, 61, 20 are drawn for the rst
the variate on the x-axis and the probabilities from ve years of operation, then resulting patterns of
0.0 to 1.0 plotted on the y-axis.
solid waste can be derived as shown in Table 7.3.
Step 2 Choose a random decimal number between 0.0 and Running this hypothetical model for all 50 years in
1.0 by means of a random number generator.
our example, a synthetic process can be generated
Step 3 Project horizontally the point on the y-axis to simulate landll performance. The values rep-
corresponding to the random number until the resenting the 50-year sequence can then be used to
projection line intersects the cumulative curve.
evaluate landll capacity. If the random numbers
Step 4 Project down from this point of intersection on the used are in fact uniformly distributed and ran-
curve to the x-axis.
dom, then each number from the data of interest
Step 5 Write down the value of x corresponding to the will occur with the same relative frequency as we
point of intersection. This value is then taken as the might expect in the real world. In this example
sample value.
the articial experience is typical of what we have
Based on Shannon (1975). been experiencing with the real system.
E N V I R O N M E N TA L M O D E L I N G 151

Table 7.3 Simulated landll deposition in millions of tons. from one state to a given state in the sequence de-
Random number Simulated range
pends on the previous state. Thus, the general
form of a Markov chain explains a series of transi-
0.09 0.01.00 tions between different states or conditions of a
0.57 4.05.0
0.45 2.03.0
system such that the probabilities associated with
0.61 4.05.0 each transition depend only on the immediately
0.20 1.02.0 preceding state, and not on how the process ar-
rived at that state (Harbaugh & Bonham-Carter,
1981). Based on this premise, a Markov chain will
When one is creating a model that denes sto-
typically contain a nite number of states and the
chastic or probabilistic elements, an important
probabilities associated with the transitions be-
consideration in the application of the Monte
tween states do not change with time. Conse-
Carlo method relates to the issue of whether to use
quently, a Markov chain in its general form denes
empirical data or a theoretical distribution. This
a short memory of process that extends only for
question is signicant for three reasons (Shannon,
a single step at a time and stops after that single
1975). First, the use of empirical data carries the
step. A chain that exhibits this characteristic is
implication that the model is simply simulating
termed a rst-order Markov chain. This funda-
the past. Therefore historic data replicates the per-
mental denition can be extended to describe the
formance of the system based on patterns that
condition where the probabilities associated with
have already occurred. Assuming that the basic
each transition are based on earlier events of multi-
form of the distribution will not change over time
ple dependence relationships. Perhaps the most
does not presuppose that the patterns evidenced
important characteristic of Markov chains is that
over a given time period will be repeated. Second-
they exhibit a dependence on the probabilities as-
ly, it is generally considered more computational-
sociated with each transition of the immediately
ly efcient to use a theoretical distribution. Lastly,
preceding state. This quality is called the Markov
it is much easier to change the dening parame-
property, and to apply this modeling technique
ters of a random number generator based on a
effectively, the phenomena under investigation
theoretical distribution, perform sensitivity tests,
should exhibit this fundamental behavior. Fortu-
and ask what if questions. Therefore, a more
nately many processes encountered in environ-
useful model can be produced using theoretical
mental planning share this trait. Therefore, the
distributions (Shannon, 1975).
planner can make effective use of Markov chains
as components in probabilistic dynamic models.
Markov processes
To illustrate how Markov models can be ap-
It has been observed that many environmental plied in environmental planning we can explore
processes that are random in their occurrence also the problem of land-use change and use the
exhibit an effect in which previous events inu- Markov property to help forecast the likelihood of
ence, but do not rigidly control, subsequent future land-use transitions. As demonstrated in
events. Such processes are referred to as Markov previous work, land use and land cover change
processes. In simple terms, a Markov process char- can be characterized as stochastic (Lein, 1990).
acterizes the condition in which the probability of This assumption is based on the observation that
the process under investigation being in a given the physical use of land, while often described
state at a particular time can be deduced from using an economic rationale, is ultimately deter-
knowledge of the immediately preceding state mined by the locational decisions of governments,
(Harbaugh & Bonham-Carter, 1981). This general corporations, and private individuals. Such loca-
characteristic of system behavior is referred to as a tional decisions introduce behavioral inuences
Markov chain. AMarkov chain can be conceptual- into the land development process, creating the
ized as a sequence or chain of discrete states in time situation where the use of a parcel of land becomes
or space where the probability of the transition a function of policy decisions, the physical suit-

ability of land, and an intangible set of personal where each element in the matrix explains the
motivations that may or may not be guided by probability of movement from one state to
economic incentives. The consequence of this another. In our land-use example, that might look
complex series of operations is a pattern of land something like this hypothetical case:
occupance that when viewed collectively repre-
Urban Agric. Forest
sents a series of random elements acting in space.
Thus in a stylized way the pattern of land-use Urban 0.9 0.1 0.0
change can be explained as stochastic where past Agriculture 0.6 0.3 0.1

trends can inuence the future state of the system Forest 0.4 0.4 0.2
(Bourne, 1971; Bell, 1974).
With the process of land-use change now char- In this simple example, the matrix suggest that if
acterized as Markovian, a parcel of land (L) will the land cover system is in state s1 (urban) its most
dene a specic condition or form of use. That probable next state is urban (s1). However, if the
condition describes a particular state (s1) at that in- system is in state s2 (agriculture), a transition to
stant in time (t). Associated with that parcel (L) is a urban is probable, as is the transition to forest (0.1).
set of probabilities (p1, p2, . . . , pn) that express the Finally, if the land-use system is in state s3 (forest),
likelihood of parcel (L) occupying the same or a a transition to either urban or agriculture is equal-
different state (s1, s2, . . . , sn) at time (t + 1). In this ly probable. Here we can see that the simulation
example there is a given set of states, each repre- of process involves use of the transition probabili-
senting a category of land use, and the implicit re- ty matrix to select the state of the system. In this
quirement that parcel (L) can be in one and only example, to simulate change in the land-cover
one state at time (t). However, based on the proba- system the matrix of transition probabilities must
bility of change, parcel (L) can move successively be computed and the resulting values used to
from one state to another. Consequently, the pro- produce a representation of the system at time
bability of change projects parcel (L)s position (t + 1).
in the system and denes the condition it may Transition probabilities are derived from the
assume. frequency distribution of the objects that comprise
According to the Markov chain model, the set the various states of the system. Producing this
of probabilities characterizing the land-cover sys- distribution of state transitions involves nothing
tem is expressed in the form of a transition proba- more than the tabulation of the number of transi-
bility matrix [Z]. This matrix describes the basic tions (moves) from each state to every other state
behavior evidenced by the system as expressed by in the system. Computationally the process in-
the Markov chain and denes the principal pat- volves lling a tally matrix, counting the move-
tern of movement as elements in the system ment of objects from state to state, then converting
change from state to state. Each element in the ma- that matrix to transition probabilities by dividing
trix, therefore, reects the probability of a transi- by the sum of the rows. The calculation of a transi-
tion from a particular state (that state pertaining tion probability matrix, however, explains only a
to a given row in the matrix) to the next state single step in a Markov chain. For a multiple-step
(that state pertaining to the particular column) transition dening the transition over more than
(Harbaugh & Bonham-Carter, 1981). one time step, the series of probabilities is deter-
mined by powering the transition probability
For a simple three-state system the transition matrix [Z]. The term powering simple means to
probability matrix may be written as: raise the matrix [Z] to some power. The product of
powering the matrix reects the transition to the
S1 S2 S3 next time step in the simulation. The general form
s1 Z11 Z12 Z13 of the succession of matrix powering can be writ-
Z = s2 Z21 Z22 Z23 ten as:

s3 Z31 Z32 Z33 Z( n) = Z( n1) Z.
E N V I R O N M E N TA L M O D E L I N G 153

In the present example we can use a one-step research problems center around the optimization
process to produce a distribution of lands uses for of a specic feature or ow in the system, such as
(t + 1) from the patterns that explain the system at goods, information, technical properties, capaci-
time (t) (the present state of the land-use system) ties, or any tangible characteristics that lends
and time (t - 1) (the land-use pattern one step back themselves to strategies where costs are to be
in time). As used in our example, the condition minimized and benets maximized given a set of
explained above assumes that the process of constraints.
land-use change is a discrete-time phenomenon. The essential characteristics of operations re-
Therefore, while the surface is dynamic, change is search include:
observed by using discrete slices of time. Examining function relationships in a
We can extend this idea to long time sequences. system.
For instance, if we chose to examine the case Adopting a planned approach to problem-
where the system beginning in state (i) would be solving.
in state (j) after n steps, the Markov chain could be Uncovering new problems for study.
expressed as: With respect to the problems encountered in envi-
ronmental planning, operations research can be
(n) (n)
Z12 (n)
(n) thought of as a form of applied decision theory
Z( n) = Z21 (n)
Z22 Z23 where the collection of mathematical techniques
(n) (n)
Z32 (n)
Z33 and tools is used in conjunction with a systems

perspective to address decision problems. Certain
The solution to this problem is easily derived by
attributes of a problem may lend themselves to
use of matrix algebra. The matrix notation demon-
treatment using optimization, particularly those
strating the solution to our problem is shown in
involving complex relationships that can be ab-
Table 7.4.
stracted into the form of mathematical or statisti-
cal models.
Optimization Any operation research application draws on
ve common phases of analysis:
Optimization is one of several methodologies that
1 Formulating the problem.
fall within the general subject matter of operations
2 Constructing a mathematical model to rep-
research. Operations research is a name given to
resent the operation under consideration.
the procedures used to study and analyze prob-
3 Deriving a solution to the model.
lems concerned with the control or operation of
4 Testing the model and evaluating the
systems. Within this broad denition, operations
research explains the systematic application of
5 Implementing and maintaining the solution.
quantitative methods, techniques, and tools with
Because environmental planning is concerned
the goal of evaluating probable consequences of
with the problem of maintaining an optimal bal-
decision choices. The decisions considered using
ance between social needs and environmental
optimization typically involve the allocation of re-
process, methods that can provide insight regard-
sources with the objective to improve the effec-
ing the optimal allocation of resources can
tiveness of the system. Therefore, most operations
greatly assist the decision process. Viewing opti-
mization at its most fundamental level, most
Table 7.4 Markov analysis matrix notation. methods are applied to human-designed or con-
1. Initial step: trolled systems where some optimal situation is
Z the goal. Although determination of what precise-
2. Raising to the second power: ly denes the optimal relies exclusively on
Z(2) = Z Z human judgment, the majority of techniques di-
3. Raising to the third power:
rect efforts toward the maximization of benets.
Z(3) = Z(2) Z
Analytical optimization techniques, therefore, are

applied in a problem-solving context where the Y(max) = f (X1, X2, . . . , Xn).

need exists to either maximize or minimize a clear
and narrowly dened objective (the objective
function). Y(min) = f (X1, X2, . . . , Xn).
Satisfying this objective function recognizes
For optimization problems where the objective
that any system encountered by the planner
function is a linear combination of the decision
operates with constraints that limit options.
(independent) variables and subject to linear
Such constraints may identify design limitations,
inequality constraints, its solution can be by
carrying-capacity measures, safety considera-
obtaining values of (x1, x2, . . . , xn), so that the lin-
tions, or criteria that inuence biological func-
ear function
tioning. For example, a planner may desire a
subdivision plan that utilizes land as efciently as Z = c1x1 + c2x2 + . . . + cnxn
possible at the lowest environmental cost. Here,
is either maximized or minimized subject to the
cost can be expressed in relation to habitat frag-
mentation and efciency becomes the objective
function given the constraint that the plan cannot a11X1 + a12X2 + . . . + a1nXn < = b1
increase fragmentation beyond a threshold. From
a21X1 = a22X2 + . . . + a2nXn < = b2
this simple example it can be seen that the theory
of optimization shares several similarities to the .
concepts embedded in the idea of system control.
However, there are signicant differences that
should be understood. Perhaps the most impor- .
tant distinction is that system control is primarily
am1X1 + am2X2 + . . . + amnXn < = bm
concerned with the response of a system under
conditions of uctuating inputs. Optimization where:
considers the denition and properties of an ob-
x1 > = 0, x2 > = 0, . . . , xn > = 0
jective function that may be applied as the criteri-
on for control. While subtle, this distinction and aij, bi are given as constants.
suggest that optimization methods are applied in One widely used approach for solving linear
a more prescriptive manner. programming problems is the application of the
A wide array of optimization methods are Simplex method (Hillier & Lieberman, 1967). An
available to select from, and most are variations of excellent example illustrating the basic principles
the mathematical programming model. Mathe- of the Simplex method can be found in Harbaugh
matical programming is rich in its facility for re- and Bonham-Carter (1981). According to this tech-
solving objective functions. In our discussion here nique, given two decision variables, a relation can
we will limit our scope to those programming be expressed where
methods that are linear in nature. The methods of
Z = 4x1 + 3x2 = 24,
linear programming form two broad categories:
(1) direct search and (2) indirect search. Each of and the variable Z is to be maximized subject to the
these classes can be further divided into more spe- constraints that
cic algorithms. Regardless of the algorithm ap-
x1 5, and x2 4
plied, the focus remains xed on the concept of an
objective function. This term denes a dependent and
variable (Y) whose value depends on one or more
4x1 + 3x2 24: x1 f; x2 f.
independent variables (x1, x2 . . . , xn). The goal of
optimization is to either maximize or minimize Representing the problem graphically, the con-
the objective function by nding the values of the straints x1 plotted against x2 for an area that de-
independent variables such that: nes the feasible solution space (the area shaded
E N V I R O N M E N TA L M O D E L I N G 155

on Fig. 7.4). By plotting the values of the objective Successful application of dynamic modeling
function across the solution space the optimum hinges on an understanding of feedback concepts
solution can be dened as the point (x1, x2) at and their role in dening dynamic systems. Per-
which Z is maximized and falls within the area of haps the most basic denition of feedback ex-
the feasible solution. Careful interpretation of the plains the concept as the transmission and return
gure identies the point as the apex of the shaded of information to a system. This simple denition
region where x1 = 3 and x2 = 4. is central to developing the causal thinking need-
ed in order to organize ideas in a system dynamics
study (Roberts et al., 1983). Using feedback as a
Systems dynamics
structuring concept, causal thinking requires the
Systems dynamics, or its more recent incarnation model builder to isolate key factors that direct the
as dynamic modeling, refers to a family of models processes involved and explain their relationship
and an integrated modeling environment de- to the system of interest. Through this type of
signed to approach the general problem of repre- mental experimentation the logic and connections
senting continuous systems and processes. Based that explain some observed behavior could be
on the ground-breaking work of Forester (1966) diagnosed. Illustrating these elements and con-
and the contributions of Richardson and Pugh nections in a simple systems diagram helps to re-
(1983) and Hannon and Ruth (1994), systems veal the causal inuences that form the system
dynamics is a methodology for understanding and the possible feedback effects that may be at
problems that are (1) dynamic in that they involve work (Fig. 7.5).
quantities that change over time, and (2) charac- To demonstrate the general approach to dy-
terized by active feedback effects. Thus, this namic modeling we can explore the farmland con-
modeling approach to problem-solving applies version process as an example. In this simple
to dynamic (continuous) problems that develop model we are interested in understanding the
within systems characterized by feedback: a mechanisms that contribute to the change in land
quality that has been shown to apply to both use from farmland to urban. At the ruralurban
human systems and a broad spectrum of environ- fringe of our hypothetical planning area, land
mental processes (Hannon & Ruth, 1994; Ford, market forces and the personal motivations of
1999). private landholders coupled with local govern-
ment growth strategies have contributed to the
gradual but steady conversion of land from agri-
cultural uses to urban. While this example cannot
approach the level of sophistication needed to

Population of suitable
growth lots

Demand values
for housing
to consume
open space

Fig. 7.4 Dening decision regions using the simplex Fig. 7.5 Causal loop diagram of the urban development
method. process.

explain the process completely, we can create a 12 Increasing prices and taxes encourage mar-
model that allows us to explore a set of plausible ginal producers to sell land.
relationships that can be used to draft a more In this example, 12 causal forces were identied
comprehensive farmland preservation program. that contributed to the general process of rural to
Given the observed pattern indicative of the de- urban land conversion and the decline of farm-
cline in farms in the region, we can create a sce- land. Each of the relationships expressed can be
nario that can be evaluated by the model. reviewed to determine how well they explain the
1 Unmarried young adults migrate to region- observed behavior. Once a reasonable sequence of
al centers for better job opportunities. cause and effect is achieved, the relationship can
2 Population decreases and births fall below be specied and diagrammed. Diagramming
replacement. causal relationships enables the chains and loops
3 Reduction in business services due to de- that connect elements of the process to be visual-
clining demand. ized. In addition, diagramming facilitates devel-
4 Reduction in key social services. opment of the models initial structure and assists
5 Loss of services induces out-migration of with the representation of feedback effects. The
young families and ensures in-migration is causal-loop diagram representing the farmland
minimal. conversion process is shown in Fig. 7.6. Following
6 Aging population contributes to disinte- the looping arrows illustrated in the gure gives
gration of balance in the community. the impression of causality, suggests how this sys-
7 Farmholdings passing to next generation tem may behave over time, and denes the nature
are offered for sale instead. of feedback in the system. While this form of open-
8 Farmland parcels are purchased by land loop thinking is a central feature of dynamic
speculators and held out of production. modeling, understanding the behavior of feed-
9 Land costs within the urban center encour- back is the ultimate goal of the systems dynamic
age decentralization of population and approach.
commercial activities. Feedback can assume several forms in a dy-
10 Land held in speculation is sold for namic system, including:
development. Single-loop positive feedback
11 Development increases market value of ex- Single-loop negative feedback
isting agricultural lands. Multiple-loop feedback.

Aging decrease

Loss of Out-migration
of young adult Reduction in
community demand
balance population
Loss of
Farm businesses
sell-off and services

Increase in
land value

Change in
land appraisal
development Fig. 7.6 The farmland conversion
pressures model.
E N V I R O N M E N TA L M O D E L I N G 157

With a focus on these feedback processes, dynam- available simulation program developed by High
ic modeling proceeds on the assumption that feed- Performance Systems called STELLA II typies
back structures are responsible for the changes a the characteristic dynamic modeling environ-
system undergoes over time, the premise here ment. Programs such as STELLA II provide a
being that dynamic behavior is a consequence of range of functionality for quickly prototyping
system structure. Therefore, as both a cause and computer simulation models. The main advan-
consequence of feedback, dynamic modeling tage of this type of modeling environment is that it
looks within the system for the sources respon- does not require the designer of the model to pos-
sible for its behavior. sess knowledge of a conventional programming
As suggested by Richardson and Pugh (1983), language such as C, Pascal, or Fortran. Modeling
any problem viewed from this perspective is like- tools like STELLA II are a type of graphical pro-
ly to be seen initially as a graph of one or more gramming language that employ graphic objects
variables changing over time. Such graphs assist which can be assembled on a white board to
the modeling processes by construct a functioning system model. Placed into
1 Focusing attention on the problem. this design construct the form of the model can be
2 Helping to identify key variables in the easily understood and the processes acting on the
system. problems can be more quickly identied. Howev-
3 Helping to dene the problem dynamically. er, the greatest advantage of this approach is the
Graphing important variables and inferring relative ease by which changes can be made to
graphs of other signicantly related variables pro- the values given to variables in the model. Since
duces the problem focus of undertaking this type the values assigned to variables and constants can
of study. In essence, displaying graphs over time is be modied, exploring contrasting scenarios, ad-
the reference mode of behavior for the model and justing time horizons, and altering functional rela-
gives limited indication of the patterns that will tionships can be done without altering the general
develop and that should be incorporated into the structure of the model. This feature greatly en-
modeling effort. hances the role of dynamic modeling as a decision
The dynamic model takes form as the variables support tool.
dened by the causal loop diagrams are translated
into the structural components that will become
Cellular automata
the formal model. Translation requires represent-
ing each component of the system according to the Cellular Automata were introduced in the late
role it plays in the process. According to the lan- 1940s by John von Neumann (von Neumann,
guage of dynamic modeling there are four critical 1966; Toffoli, 1987) and popularized in the late
components used to construct a model: 1960s with the development of the Game of Life
Stocks or levels dening the value or accu- (Gardner, 1970; Dewdney, 1990). Cellular automa-
mulated value of a variable. ta are often described as the counterpart to partial
Flows or rates explaining process equa- differential equations, which have the capacity to
tions that act on the stock or level. describe continuous dynamic systems. A cellular
Connectors describing links that transfer automaton is essentially a model that can be used
information about the stock or level to to show how the elements of a system interact
control. with each other. The basic element of a cellular
Time step dening the period of time over automaton is the cell. A cell is a type of memory
which the values of stock should be updated element and stores states that represent character-
during a run of the model. istics of the system under investigation. These
Typically, translation involves transferring the cells can be two-dimensional squares, three-
model from its representation as a causal diagram dimensional blocks, or they may take some other
to a computer model using a special-purpose geometric form such as a hexagon. Each element
simulation language. Presently the commercially comprising the system is assigned a cell and cells

are arranged in a conguration. For example, cells process is repeated for as many clock cycles as
joined together to form a single line comprise a desired.
one-dimensional cellular automaton, whereas Cellular automata are rapidly gaining favor
cells arranged on a grid form a two-dimensional as a tool for modeling dynamic spatial systems
cellular automaton. In either instance, cells (Batty & Xie, 1994; Cecchini & Viola, 1992; Engelen
arranged according to a one-dimensional or two- et al, 1996; White & Engelen, 1997). When com-
dimensional lattice represent a static state. To in- pared to traditional approaches based on differen-
troduce change (or dynamics) into the system, tial or difference equations, cellular automata
rules must be added to the model. The purpose of have notable advantages: they are inherently spa-
these rules is to dene the state of the cells for the tial with rule-based dynamics; computationally
next time step. In cellular automata, dynamics efcient; can model systems with very high spatial
occur within neighborhoods, and different resolutions; and provide and intuitive link to
denitions of neighborhoods are possible. For the geographic information systems data formats
two-dimensional lattice four neighborhood den- (White & Engelen, 1997). For these reasons cellu-
itions are common: (1) the von Neumann neigh- lar automata show great promise as a basis for re-
borhood, (2) the Moore neighborhood, (3) the gional and environmental modeling (Clarke et al.,
extended Moore neighborhood, and (4) the Mar- 1994; White & Engelen, 1997). For example, in a
golus neighborhood (Fig. 7.7). recent study undertaken by Clarke, Hoppen, and
In the initial conguration of the cellular au- Gaydos (1997), a cellular automaton simulation
tomata, each cell is assigned a starting value model was developed to predict urban growth as
from the range of possible values typical of the part of a project for estimating the regional impact
system under study. For instance, if the range of of urbanization on climate. In this study the rules
possible values (states) were 0 to 1, then each cell of the model were more complex than for the
would be assigned a 0 or 1 in the initial congura- typical application, and allowed specic growth
tion. A transition function and a transition rule are scenarios to be performed by the model using
also associated with each cell. Working in concert, historic land-use/land-cover data sets. A similar
the transition rule and function take as input the study conducted by White and Engelen (1997), an
present states (values) of all the cells in a given integrated model of regional spatial dynamics,
cells neighborhood and generate the next state of consisted of a cellular automaton-based model
the given cell. When applied to all of the cells indi- of land use linked to a geographic information
vidually in a cellular automaton, the next state of system, to nonspatial regional economic and de-
the whole cellular automaton is generated from mographic models, and to a simple model of envi-
the present state. Then the next state of the cellular ronmental change. Based on their initial testing
automaton is copied to the present state and the of this integrated package, the cellular automata

Von Neumann neighborhood Moore neighborhood Extended Moore neighborhood

Fig. 7.7 Cellular neighborhoods.

E N V I R O N M E N TA L M O D E L I N G 159

enabled detailed modeling and realistic pre- dynamic modeling, and cellular automata. With a
diction of land-use patterns and provided a way solid understanding of these techniques the ad-
to introduce environmental factors into the vantages and disadvantages of using models in
simulation. Although the authors caution that it planning can be understood. In addition, the
may not be possible to predict the state of any methods of modeling outlined in this chapter help
land-use system far into the future, reasonable the environmental planner decide what to model,
forecasts of land-use patterns over a period of 10 to how to design a simulation experiment to acquire
15 years can be made with measured condence if information, and how to interpret the results of
the growth rate of the region is known. What this modeling studies. Taken together these topics
model does is support what if experiments, al- support the intelligent use of models and stress
lowing the user to explore various possible fu- their value in the formulation of environmental
tures and develop insights that may be of use in plans.
strategic planning.

Focusing questions
What is a model and how do models contribute
As a future-oriented activity, environmental plan- to the simulation process?
ning relies on the application and development of Develop a simple scenario: outline the causal
models to explore what if situations and test chain of events that might unfold following a
the outcome of various policy decisions and alter- decision to relocate and expand a highway
natives. The issues related to the use of models in through a rural area.
environmental planning and the design of simula- Compare and contrast dynamic, probabilistic,
tion experiments were examined in this chapter. and stochastic models; how do these forms
Introduced in this discussion were the foundation inuence the representation of a system?
techniques that rest at the core of many of the mod- What considerations guide the use of models in
els used in environmental planning. The tech- general, and how do they inuence the inter-
niques selected for this discussion included pretation of results obtained from a simula-
Monte Carlo sampling, Markov chain analysis, tion experiment?
Integrated Environmental Planning
James K. Lein
Copyright 2003 by Blackwell Publishing

The Decision Support


Effective environmental planning demands intelligence that not only enables the planner and
continuous and reliable sources of information community to identify, understand, and deal with
to assist in identifying problems, establishing new and vexing situations, but to do so systemati-
priorities, and formulating plans. Without ques- cally in a manner that purposefully compiles, or-
tion, a primary activity of the planner involves ganizes, and analyzes data to realize how the
sensing the planning area, taking in data on community and its environment has changed.
critical indicators of the regional system, analyz- Throughout human history and certainly since
ing that data, and applying the information de- the industrial revolution the ability to acquire this
rived from it in order to react appropriately to the strategic intelligence has moved society from
needs of the community and its environment. A clay tablets to digital databases capable of moving
technology has emerged that supports the acqui- information at near light speed almost anywhere
sition of data and guides its transformation from over the globe. Although the volume of informa-
raw numbers and facts to meaningful information tion available to us has grown substantially, the in-
systems. This information technology is based nate human capacity to process this information
on the computer and its ability to aid environmen- has remained essentially the same. Therefore,
tal decision-making (Lein, 1997). In this chapter while having information is important, more criti-
the computer and its application in environmental cal is the ability to use this information and gener-
planning will be examined. Beginning with a ate answers from it. Taking full advantage of the
review of essential information technology con- strategic potential of information has fostered the
cepts and information management, this chapter creation of new approaches to accelerate acces-
will explore the nature of computer assisted plan- sibility to information, enhance its processing
ning and role of geographic information systems and analysis, facilitate its storage and utilization,
in decision support. and perform these tasks quickly and reliably.
Information technology identies the range
of approaches that have been developed to assist
The role of information with the gathering, storage, production, and dis-
technology semination of information in order to meet the
needs of complex decision-making. To illustrate
The planners need for timely and reliable infor- this point we can turn to the example provided
mation concerning the planning area is not a by Lein (1997). Fifty years ago a planner seeking
recent phenomenon. As suggested by Kaiser guidance regarding either the resource potential
et al. (1995), information represents a strategic of land, its developmental constraints, or its gen-

eral characteristics was unable to proceed without From these contrasting denitions, we can see that
extensive eld surveying and mapping followed the term information can be applied to a wide
by weeks of manual data preparation and analy- range of cognitive states that suggest a range of
sis. At the dawn of the twenty-rst century a satel- differing functional roles. A technology dedicated
lite can gather quantities of data in a single pass to the management of information must therefore
over the planning area that can easily overload the preserve critical aspects of these conditions, par-
cognitive abilities of its users and saturate the ticularly if information is to remain useful and
decision-making process. Consequently, there is a maintain its relevance as a resource to those who
need to rene and simplify data and to produce rely on it (Lein, 1997). In a slightly different
information that can feed the decision-making context, we can also describe information as a
process. However, information technology is not progressive entity that begins with data and is
only important in its ability to store and rene in- sequentially transformed into more meaningful
formation, but also by its ability to support those states of being. Each of these states carries
who use it by allowing information to be used in the implicit assumption that transformation en-
new ways. The challenge is that while information hances knowledge and understanding of the
technology may be an integral part of planning, problem. Expressed in this way, information
planners must to able to connect technology to the is one stage in the continuum that starts with
task and responsibilities of day-to-day practice data and ends with knowledge (Fig. 8.1). An infor-
(Moffat, 1990). mation technology that manages information
Connecting information technology to the must also mirror aspects of this continuum, con-
planning process begins with a basic appreciation necting the purely data-driven processes of infor-
of the information carried by this technology and mation access and ow to the highly cognitive
the processes that generate it. Each of us uses infor- activities that envelop knowledge and wisdom
mation continuously in our daily lives, assessing (Lein, 1997).
conditions and making decisions, yet most of us
would be hard-pressed to dene precisely what is
meant by the terms or to describe how information From data to information
is used (McCloy, 1995). Debons et al. (1988) have
offered a simple way to categorize information in a For the purposes of environmental planning,
way that relates to environmental planning: we may dene data as the raw (unrened or
Information as a commodity recognizes processed) observations about objects, events, or
that information can possess economic surfaces that comprise the planning area. This no-
value that will inuence who controls and tion introduces the layer cake model as a means
disseminates it. of conceptualizing the planning area as a series
Information as communication describing of data planes each conveying a specic theme
the condition where the exchange of of relevance to the planning. While such data
information transfers understanding and may, at times, be used directly as information,
meaning. to be useful this data must be rened or pro-
Information as fact explaining the general
state where data devoid of context conveys
no relevant meaning.
Information as data identies the product
of symbols organized according to estab-
Transforming operations
lished rules and conventions. Data Knowledge
Information as knowledge underscores the
intellectual capability to take information
and with it extrapolate beyond simple facts
and data to draw meaningful conclusions. Fig. 8.1 Translating data into knowledge.

cessed in some way to make it more useful for and automate critical aspects of the decision-
problem-solving. making process. Although a simple denition of
The rationale for processing data in order this concept has yet to be produced, a decision
to create information has been summarized by support system targets situations where the plan-
McCloy and includes two important ideas. First, ner is forced to confront problems that are poorly
data pertaining to the physical attributes of the en- structured or ill-dened. Problems of this variety
vironment may be related to, but usually does not are typically unique in the sense that they display
constitute the actual parameters, required by the characteristics that are highly variable, complex,
planner. Secondly, data may be far too detailed or and contain a high level of uncertainty. Examples
complex to use in its present form. Therefore, by might include problems encountered when con-
transforming data into information, the knowl- ducting environmental impact studies, risk as-
edge base needed to guide planning decisions sessments, or other activities where there are a lot
is created. Information technology functions to of different factors to consider and nothing is
facilitate data transformation and analysis and absolutely clear. As a consequence, unstructured
specically addresses procedures related to: problems cannot be addressed using standard
Generalizing from data. operating procedures. Rather, the planner when
Estimating physical parameters through presented with an unstructured problem relies
data transforms. heavily on intuition, judgment, prior knowledge,
Filtering data to identify trends and and adaptive problem-solving behavior to com-
anomalies. pensate for the extremes of uncertainty that
Modeling relationships in data over time punctuate the situation. Like the examples of
and space. environmental risk and hazard assessment, facili-
Through the application of these procedures in- ty siting, or environmental impact assessment,
formation is derived that can serve as the building there is a need to help focus judgment, support
blocks of a solution. Therefore, to have value, in- intuition, apply prior knowledge, and create an
formation must either enable decisions or facili- environment where adaptive strategies can be
tate subsequent actions by the environmental directed toward dening, analyzing, and evaluat-
planner. ing problems. Developing an automated system
Information technology is a term loosely ap- to support decision-making involves the identi-
plied to any automated system that enhances the cation of tools that can supply timely and accurate
value of information. Generally, these technolo- information to improve the decision-making pro-
gies orbit around the nucleus of a datainforma- cess. Therefore, the motivating force behind the
tionknowledge approach to environmental concept of decision support and the development
planning, and dene techniques instrumental of technologies designed to aid the planning
to the task of representing data, information, or process is essentially the goal of helping planners
knowledge with an inherently geographic com- make better decisions.
ponent. Although the techniques that form an
information technology will change according to
the pace of change of technology in general, their Decisioning and geographic
role remains constant: to support the needs of the information systems
decision-making process.
Developing technologies to support decision-
making begins by taking the decision-making
Planning and decision support process apart to reveal its fundamental structure.
For the purposes of planning support, we can sim-
The concept of computer-aided decision support plify the decision-making process by reducing it
was discussed nearly two decades ago by Langen- to its three root components:
dorf (1985). The basic idea then, as now, involves 1 Acquiring, retrieving, and selecting relevant
the design of computer systems that can support information.

2 Structuring the decision problem to enhance Table 8.1 Levels of decision problem.
the visibility of alternatives. Problem type Description
3 Evaluating alternatives based on their rela-
tive attractiveness. Type O Mechanistic, non-thought-provoking
problem with few alternatives.
Accepting the premise that decision-making can
be reduced to these basic activities, decision sup- Type A Slightly more complex with more
alternatives to consider; automation helps
port becomes a methodology that can be devel-
illuminate problem.
oped and applied to each task (Vlek et al., 1993).
In this context decision support becomes a means Type B Requires brute force techniques to nd
best course of action, since number of
to channel and direct the planners cognitive objectives and possible choices are large.
processes in order to reduce uncertainty. Given
Type C Problems where the structural complexity
the realization that most of us are limited
and sheer size of the problem reduce ease
and selective information processors capable of of problem visualization.
making simple, adaptive decisions, but poor at
Type D Dynamic and extremely complex
making complex, strategic decisions, the role of problems that support only a qualitative
decision support becomes clear: to overcome hit or miss approach.
cognitive limitations and extend the decision-
makers informal reasoning and evaluative
Understanding the types of problems where lem recognition describes the process of rening
decision support can be applied is critical not only the initial denition of the problem through a vari-
to the design of decision support systems, but also ety of data visualization techniques, data explo-
to their effective use. Five categories of problems ration tools, and models that can be embedded in
arranged according to their relative level of dif- the system. Analysis undertaken using an auto-
culty have been presented by Davis (1988) (Table mated decision support system can mean many
8.1). In general, decision support is most effec- different things. For the most part, analysis
tive when the problem is complex or ill-dened. suggests the application of specialized tools or
Examples of such problems include situations routines to connect the collected data with mod-
where: els that aid prediction or explanation. Based on
1 Objectives are difcult to determine or are these characteristics, it can be seen that decision
conicting. support systems are specically oriented toward
2 Alternative actions that might be taken are the types of information-processing needs de-
difcult to identify. manded by the decision-making process. Thus,
3 The effect of an alternative on a given out- armed with an automated support environment,
come (result) is uncertain. the environmental planner can manipulate large
In these instances decision support is targeted at volumes of data, perform complicated com-
the structurable part of the problem. This focus putations, and investigate relationships in data
paves the way for the design of tools to assist that might otherwise go unnoticed. This has be-
problem structuring. come the role of a geographic information system
Automated decision support denes a com- (Fig. 8.2).
puterized system that incorporates functionality A geographic information system (GIS) can be
to collect information, formulate problems, and dened in several ways (Maguire, 1991). Three
perform analysis to help decision-makers address common views of this critical information tech-
situations that are ill-structured. As shown previ- nology include:
ously by Lein (1997), information collection in a 1 Toolbox-based denitions that characterize
decision support system involves the process of GIS as a powerful set of tools for collecting,
gathering data and information from the user of storing, and retrieving geographically re-
the system and from a repository of pertinent data. ferenced data, and transforming and dis-
Typically this takes the form of a database. Prob- playing that data to reveal new patterns

Attribute data Removing GIS from direct consideration of the

software systems and hardware environments
that most commentators dwell upon when dis-
cussing this technology, and focusing instead on
Spatial data how GIS functions within the context of decision-
making, allows an alternative explanation of GIS
to emerge. This considered view recasts GIS less
as a technology and more as a methodology. The
methodological perspective carries important im-
plications to environmental planning and other
disciplines that incorporate GIS in their day-to-
day operations. As a methodology GIS represents
a form of geographic thinking that inuences
how problems are conceptualized, how data is or-
ganized, how information is generated, and how
knowledge is applied. Because the central feature
of this methodology is its geographic focus, the
manner by which spatial information supports
discourse and decisions regarding population,
Derived map economic, land-use, environmental, and other
patterns that constitute the planning area takes
Fig. 8.2 Spatial data representation via GIS. precedence in formulating and analyzing plan-
ning problems. For example, if we consider the
suitability assessment problem introduced in
based on real world relationships (Burrough, Chapter 5, applying GIS would allow the planner
1986). to identify the objectives of the problem carefully
2 Database denitions that explain GIS as a by permiting a visual examination of the factors
database system in which most of the data is involved, assembling the data in a model that
spatially indexed and upon which a set of could be used to create an expression of suitability,
procedures operate to answer queries about and perform an analysis that could be displayed
geographic entities in the database (Smith et effectively in the form of a map (Figs. 8.3a and
al., 1987). 8.3b).
3 Organization-based denitions that de- Therefore, using GIS to guide planning builds
scribe GIS as a decision support system critical knowledge and support into the process
involving the integration of spatially by
referenced data in a problem-solving Describing the history and current status of
environment (Cowen, 1988). critical planning variables.
Still others consider GIS a paradigm consisting Forecasting their future status.
of a collection of information technologies and Monitoring, mapping, and interpreting how
procedures for gathering, storing, manipulating, these variables change.
analyzing, and presenting geographic data Diagnosing and planning, and development
and information (Huxhold & Levinsohn, 1994). problems.
Although these descriptions of GIS are useful Modeling critical relationships and impacts.
because they help us place the technology into a Presenting information to policy-makers
problem context, when a GIS exists in an opera- and the public.
tional setting, such as a planning department or GIS methodology capitalizes on representing
governmental agency, we can consider GIS from problems and revealing solutions in a highly
an entirely different perspective. visual way. Examples include maps, charts,


Fig. 8.3 (a) GIS-derived

developmental suitability map. (b)
GIS-derived critical resource map. (b)

diagrams, and other illustrations that permit the tors that are inherently geographic (OLooney,
geographic nature of most planning problems to 1997). This ability to see spatial associations
be visualized and examined (Fig. 8.4). gives the planner that opportunity to dene pro-
Placed into a problem-solving or policy- blems in new ways and analyze multiple spatial
making role, GIS displays simplify and abstract data-sets. Users of GIS can pose questions via
information, conveying that information more the system and operate on data. Such questions
effectively than numerical tables or written narra- can then be taken to the next level and placed with-
tives. Display also offers the chance to create alter- in a future context. These what if questions be-
native views of information that give new insight come a useful way to explore the spatial footprint
into the spatial and contextual features of the plan- created by various planning alternatives. Here,
ning area. A geographic information system has a GIS can be envisioned as a conduit that not
unique but under-utilized ability to examine data only provides a means to organize and access spa-
and reveal associations or correlations among fac- tially referenced data, but also as a platform that

Raster map

.... ....
.... .... .... .... ...... ....
......... ...... ...... ...... ...... ......... ...... .........
......... .... ...... .... .... .... .... ...... .... ...... .... ...... ....
.... ...... .... ......... ...... ...... ...... ...... ......... ...... ......... ...... ......... ...... ......... ......
...... ......... ...... ......... ...... .... .... .... ...... .... ...... ....
.... ...... .... ...... .... .... .... .... ...... .... ... ... .... ......
.... ...... .... ...... .... .... .... .... ...... .... ...... .... ......
.... ...... .... ...... .... .... .... .... ...... .... ...... .... ......
.... ...... .... ...... .... .... .... .... ...... ....
...... ......... ...... ......... ...... ...... ...... ...... ......... ...... .........

Number Species DBH Height

1 Quercus rubra 13.5 21
2 Liriodendron 17.4 33
3 Juniperus 15.2 27
Fig. 8.4 Fundamental GIS data
Fields model.

encourages cross-disciplinary thinking and infor- Table 8.2 General benets of GIS.
mation sharing. In professional disciplines such as Improved quality of information
environmental planning, the common ground Improved timeliness of information
GIS provides encourages broader solutions to Enhanced information ow
complex problems that allow specialists in trans- Increased productivity
portation, civil engineering, geology, sociology, Reduced costs
Improved decision-making
and others to interact. Yet, as with any applied
methodology, credible answers derived from a
GIS depend upon
The integrity of the user. tional capabilities, the net benets of GIS can be
The skill of the user. realized (Table 8.2). When these general benets
The integrity of the data and methods used. are examined in relation to the goals of environ-
Compatibility among the data sources that mental planning, the greatest potential for GIS lies
are being integrated into the analysis. in its ability to integrate key public values in
Developing GIS capabilities that facilitate en- weighing solutions to community problems
vironmental planning efforts draws on the func- (OLooney, 1997).
tional capabilities of this technology. Common From a local government perspective this
functions that GIS performs are illustrated in suggests that GIS applications are driven by a
Figs. 8.5a and 8.5b and include map overlay, deep concern for:
buffering, and specialized operations such as Efciency explaining the relation between
viewshed analysis, surface analysis, and short the amount of effort and the amount of
path analysis. By carefully considering these func- return.

to environmental planning, successful implemen-

Shortest path analysis tation is guided by the attention given to:
System design and purpose.
Data acquisition and database develop-
Line-of-sight analysis Analytic functionality and error manage-
Long-term management, maintenance, and
Viewshed analysis Although our principal interest in this discussion
is the realization of GIS as a problem-solving
(a) methodology, to understand how this method can
be applied and to appreciate the signicance of
GIS design and implementation, a review of the
Contour mapping fundamental components of a system must be

Surface analysis GIS design for environmental

decision support

Geographic information systems have three im-

portant components: (1) the physical GIS com-
prised of computer hardware; (2) the functional
3D visualization
GIS consisting of sets of application software
models; and (3) the organizational GIS describ-
ing the decision-making environment in which
GIS is implemented (Fig. 8.6). Each of these parts is
Fig. 8.5 (a) Common GIS functions: shortest path, line of equally important and needs to be balanced if the
site, and viewshed analysis. (b) Common GIS functions: total system is to function according to the philos-
contour mapping, surface Analysis, and visualization.
ophy that encouraged its creation and design
(Burrough & McDonnell, 1998).

Equity describing the relationship between

The physical GIS
a citizens status or effort and the social
benets they receive. The hardware environment of the GIS describes
Community viability dening characteris- the computer system and the related peripheral
tics such as civic participation, cultural insti- devices required to input, process, and output
tutions, and activities central to a working geographic information. While the hardware
social order. component of the GIS is extremely dynamic, with
Environmental quality identifying quali- advances in computer technology introducing
ties of the ecosystem that provide for the new capabilities in rapid succession, several de-
long-term maintenance of life. vices are common:
The manner in which GIS is used to balance 1 Data input devices such as digitizers or
these concerns has been reviewed in detail by scanning systems that enable geographic
OLooney (1997). Overall, the success of GIS is information to be captured from its analog
highly dependent upon the factors that contribute form as a map and recorded as digital data in
to its satisfactory implementation. With respect the computer.

Physical GIS

Functional GIS

Administrative GIS

Organizational GIS Fig. 8.6 The levels of GIS.

2 Output devices such as printers, plotters, display of maps, reports, and other results
or lm recorders that provide hardcopy generated from an analysis. In a GIS infor-
products of the results generated by GIS mation may be presented in a variety of ways
analysis. including transfer to print of plotting devices
3 Storage devices such as xed disks, oppy and well as the direct conversion to numer-
disks, CD-roms, or tape systems that permit ous graphic le formats (gif, jpg, tif).
digital geographic data to be written and 4 Data manipulation and transformation
organized into les. functionality in a GIS related to this class of
operations explains a set of routines that
guide the removal of error and subsequent
The functional GIS
updating of data together with routines
The software component of GIS characterizes its designed to perform geographic analysis.
functionality. The functional qualities of GIS can The analytical toolbox of the GIS can be rich
be divided into ve main categories: with routines that perform data modeling,
1 Data input and verication describing a measurement, logical retrieval, and logical
collection of software routines that guide combination. Sets of common analytical re-
and manage the capture of geographic infor- quirements that typify GIS functionality are
mation and their conversion to a standard given in Table 8.3.
digital form. 5 User interface recognizing the application-
2 Data storage and management involves specic nature of GIS, most systems provide
the database management system that some ability to customize and enhance how
implements a specic spatial data storage the user of the GIS interacts with the software
paradigm (raster, vector, quadtree) and the environment. Presently most systems oper-
functionality needed to control, organize, ate using a command language interpreter or
and update this database. by means of a graphical user interface (GUI).
3 Data output and presentation explains the With either mode of interface, systems can
various routines that direct the creation and be expanded functionally through the use of

Table 8.3 Typical GIS functionality. Table 8.4 Stages of GIS implementation.

Maintenance and Format transformations Stage Tasks

analysis, spatial data Geometric transformations
Map projections/transformations Needs assessment Conduct interviews and
Conation examine current operational
Edge matching tasks, projects, and information
Editing graphic elements products
Line thinning Requirements analysis Specify system philosophy,
Maintenance and Attribute entry and editing conceptual design; identify
analysis, attribute data Attribute query functions technical constraints

Integrated analysis Data retrieval, classication System design Specify design requirements,
functions Measurement determine optimal data model,
Overlay operations craft prototype system
Neighborhood operations: Outsource Generate requests for
search proposals and evaluate, select
interpolation vedor(s), establish benchmark
regionalization tests, evaluate system
Connectivity functions: performance
intervisibility System construction Develop pilot project, re-
network evaluate design, develop data
spread encoding and conversion
schedule, implement quality
Output formatting Map annotation control program
Text labels
Symbolization Evaluation and enrichment Re-evaluate needs, add
capacity, modify design

simplied, formal programming languages. specic purpose and philosophy that dene the
These macro-languages can be used to tailor systems reason for being. It is typically at
GUI displays or link basic application com- this level where GIS design and implementation
mands together into a single command or begins.
command sequence. Asuccessful GIS is created to fulll one or more
goals of the organization that recognizes the
advantages of utilizing geographic data to
The organizational GIS
support decision-making. Rather than seeking a
When the ve elements described above are as- magic bullet in a single measure of evaluation, a
sembled together they form a GIS platform that practical solution involves a design process that
is then placed into an administrative setting. The incorporates all the concerns that inuence GIS
administrative setting oversees the management, implementation (Chrisman, 1997). The general se-
maintenance, and support needed to keep the GIS quence of steps that direct this process is outlined
functioning according to its designed intent. in Table 8.4. Within this process the concept of
Establishing this level of administration and spec- geographic data stands as the central feature
ifying the goals of the system embodies the or- of design and the creation of a functional GIS.
ganizational setting in which GIS operates. This Geographic reference gives data new meaning by
organizational context denes the arena where relating a name, value, quality, or condition to
decision-making occurs and the structure in an object that can be visualized and treated as an
which GIS lends its support. At this level, concern entity that occupies real geographic space.
is directed away from the physical and functional GIS design can be approached in either of
aspects of the system and attention is given to two ways. One design path is referred to as the
the overall rationale for using GIS, and the focused approach. Focused GIS design concen-

trates development around a well-dened and database. The fundamental stages followed in
clearly articulated application or purpose. Typical developing the GIS database are identied in
applications that may encourage focused design Table 8.5. As suggested by Table 8.5, development
include developing a GIS for hazard assess- involves three primary tasks:
ment and emergency management, transpor- The assessment of informational needs.
tation planning, growth management, or zoning The collection and evaluation of relevant
administration. In each of these examples a rela- data sources.
tively high-priority problem has been identied. The specication of a conceptual database
With design directed toward a relatively high-pri- design.
ority problem or need, decisions concerning data- Because the geographies that comprise the
base design, functionality, and management planning area are inherently complex, they must
are all predetermined by what is required to ad- be abstracted and structured into a spatial data
dress the problem. An alternative design strategy model that not only serves as a formal device for
is referred to as the panoramic approach. The representing their essential characteristics, but
panoramic approach to design is not focused on a also provides for an efcient means of storage
single problem but instead envisions GIS in a within the computer. This spatial data model is
broad context where the methods of GIS analysis then translated into a data structure that is then
can be applied to a range of applications. AGIS de- encoded into the appropriate le format. Pre-
veloped according to this strategy functions pri- sently, GIS technology recognizes two principal
marily as a dynamic store of data where the user ways of representing spatial data: (1) raster format
community interacts with a limited functionality and (2) vector format. Although it is common
that can be expanded as the system matures. to convert data between these two structuring
Panoramic design, therefore, creates an open- paradigms, during the design process the ques-
ended system that maintains a purposely broad tion of which mode to employ often raises confu-
view of GIS that allows the system to evolve in a sion. Useful guidance has been offered to help
modular fashion. resolve this issue (Burrough & McDonnell, 1998)
While the approach to design may vary, each (Table 8.6).
requires a sustained commitment throughout the With the data acquisition and database design
GIS lifecycle. That commitment develops out of a issues resolved, consideration can be given to the
long-range problem whose solution, or some part functional capabilities of the GIS and the analytic
thereof, can be obtained from the information operations it will be called upon to perform. Ap-
derived from the GIS. From this point forward proaching the question of functionality requires
the specics of design fall into place. Here design-
ing the GIS involves addressing questions per-
Table 8.5 Stages in GIS database design.
taining to:
1 The informational needs the system will be Phase 1 Information needs assessment
conduct informational interviews
called upon to deliver.
review existing documents
2 The data needs users of the system will determine the planning area
require in order to perform their jobs. analyze information needs
3 The software functionality that will be em-
Phase 2 Data evaluation and collection
ployed to deliver the required informational collect pertinent data
products. assess existing data coverage
4 The hardware capabilities needed to evaluate data quality
ensure optimal software and database Phase 3 Database specication
performance. develop data standards and classication schemas
With these considerations understood, design select optimal scale and resolution
establish data input and update schedules
efforts can be directed toward the issues of data
design le/map manuscript system
acquisition and the overall architecture of the

Table 8.6 Comparison of raster and vector data models.

Raster Vector

Simple data structure Good representation of entity data model
Location-specic manipulation of data Compact data structure
Supports wide range of analysis Explicitly described topology
Ease of modeling Ease of coordinate transformations
Inexpensive technology Accurate graphic representation
Large data volumes Complex data structure
Loss of information within cells Analytic complexity
Crude graphic display quality Simulation and modeling operations
Coordinate transformations difcult more difcult

the adoption of a toolbox view of GIS. As a Table 8.7 Common GIS modeling functions.
toolbox, GIS contains an array of routines or Function Description
algorithms to process and manipulate spatial
data. The tools needed to apply GIS in environ- Area Measures areas associated with data
Cluster Performs cluster analysis on data set
mental planning have been critically reviewed by Cover Superimposes one layer on top of another
Kliskey (1995). In general, GIS software consists of Distance Measures Euclidean distance
two integrated components: Euler Determines shape or form of features
1 A core module of basic mapping and data Extract Extracts values from one layer to another
management routines. Filter Performs data smoothing
Group Determines contiguous groups
2 An application module that consists of a Histogram Computes frequency histogram
menu of geographic analysis routines. Interpol Interpolates continuous surface from point data
Because the analysis of geographic patterns and Overlay Performs Boolean combinations
associations is the driving force behind the use Pathway Finds shortest path through network
of GIS in environmental planning, the ability of Reclass Classies layer attributes into new categories
Surface Performs slope and aspect calculations
the system to perform geographic analysis and Trend Conducts polynomial trend surface analysis
model fundamental geographic concepts is criti- View Performs intervisibility analysis
cal. While nearly all software systems provide
tools for collecting, organizing, and displaying
spatial data, their ability to perform complex
analytical operations on spatial data sets varies. In GIS as a centralized source of data required a level
the majority of cases the toolbox of a GIS consists of management to ensure that the system per-
of routines that perform overlay, dilation (buffer- forms in a manner that keeps pace with the de-
ing), neighborhood operations, reclassication, mands placed on it. Anticipating and planning for
query, distance operations, tabular analysis, change is central to GIS, particularly as the system
and display. A detailed listing of common GIS becomes operational. Four maintenance tasks are
functions is provided in Table 8.7. ongoing features of the GIS and should be consid-
Functionality together with the database plays ered early in the design process:
an important role in specifying the design of the 1 Database updating.
GIS. Of equal importance, particularly with re- 2 Software revisions and enhancements.
spect to the long-term success of the system, are 3 Hardware upgrades.
those factors that inuence management and 4 Application renements and expansions.
maintenance. Since effective planning demands As GIS is a data-driven environment, the accuracy,
accurate and timely information, capitalizing on delity, and completeness of the database will

determine how well GIS lends support to plan- GIS-guided planning support
ning. The planning arena, however, is dynamic,
which means that any database runs the risk of When connected to the planning problem, GIS de-
losing its utility. Thus, a detailed program must be nes a methodology whereby the tasks and ana-
created to plan and schedule the updating and re- lytical needs of the planner nd their solution in
vision of the GIS database. The specics of this the combination of data and the functional capa-
plan depend heavily on factors such as: bilities of the system. Once GIS has been installed
The rate at which new data becomes and its components implemented, the main focus
available. of concern shifts from design and development to
The planners need for timely information. the issues surrounding the systems operational
The pace of change characterizing the use. In an often-cited study undertaken by Camp-
planning area. bell (1994), it was shown that in the UK there was a
The pace of change is also a determining factor surprising under-utilization of GIS in planning
with respect to GIS software. As new innovations agencies. Although GIS was widely applied to
in information technology appear, new develop- automate map-making, there was comparatively
ments in GIS software can be anticipated. A strat- little use of complex spatial analysis functions.
egy is therefore needed to help focus questions While several reasons were offered to account for
pertaining to how and when to adopt software re- this disparity in application rigor, a major factor
visions, and to critically evaluate software involved the general problem of learning how to
enhancements through detailed benchmarking to think with GIS.
avoid adding functionality that may be unneces- The question of thinking with GIS moves well
sary, have limited utility, or fail to support the beyond the case-study examples of how someone
goals and purpose of the system. A similar strate- else used the system to produce a land-suitability
gy is needed to deal with the bigger problem of assessment, or to establish habitat regions to pro-
hardware upgrading and replacement. In general, tect environmentally sensitive lands. Ample case
keeping pace with technological progress in- studies can be found in the GIS and environmental
volves carefully identifying the appropriate planning literature alike; what is uncommon
level of technology needed to drive the system, is discussion detailing how those results were
maintain acceptable performance standards, derived (i.e., which tools were used with what
meet the continuing goals and objectives of the data and how). When looking only at the results,
operational GIS, and provide timely support for GIS remains an abstraction, a black-box whose
planning. Finally, the question of application inner workings are just plain mysterious. Of
renement can be approached. Given the likeli- course, nothing could be further from the truth.
hood that GIS when rst implemented was When one is armed with this nuts and bolts in-
designed for a limited number of application formation, GIS can be more fully appreciated and
areas, the need will develop to broaden the its ability to support environmental planning
methodologies imported to the system. Here, better exploited.
as planners discover how GIS supports analysis, The value of GIS as a tool for developing plan-
existing applications may be rened, streamlined, ning support systems is best assessed with refer-
and customized through the creation of macros ence to the nature of the scientic input required
and other devices that enhance productivity. Re- at various stages in the decision-making process
nement can also contribute to experimentation (Webster, 1993). A useful model that identies
with new problem-solving approaches tested for where GIS ts, underscoring its potentials and
GIS feasibility that may lead to their eventual limitations as a planning tool, has been introduced
adoption in day-to-day practice. Integrating GIS by Webster (1993). According to this framework,
into the planning process and capitalizing on thinking with GIS begins with the information
the support capabilities it offers is examined in the needs encountered during each stage of the plan-
following section. ning process. From problem identication, goal-

setting, evaluation of alternatives, selection, im-

Plan generation
plementation, and monitoring, specic scientic
support needs can be expressed. In addition to the need to sample various solu-
tions and alternative interpretations, there is a
need to examine the probable geographic pattern
Problem identication
created by planning options and study their rami-
This initial stage in planning can be understood to cations. In this context, a given solution or
involve the measurement of demand for public recommendation expressed in the plan can be
goods that requires the measurement of negative viewed as a hypothesis, where testing the hypoth-
externalities (Webster, 1993). Measurement can esis requires support to search the solution space
focus either on the identication of current prob- and determine the feasibility of a given alterna-
lems or the anticipation of future problems. Two tive. Sampling the solution space is accomplished
forms of scientic support are essential during through a form of prescriptive analysis easily
this stage: description, followed by prediction. conducted using GIS.
Descriptive analysis draws upon spatial data as a
means to display patterns of demand together
Evaluation and selection
with existing patterns of key public goods. Ex-
pressing patterns implies the ability to ask ques- This planning phase describes the process of
tions of the data and visualize the results related to narrowing down a set of feasible alternatives to a
landscape features such as the location and char- single optimal solution. The process, while
acteristics of: guided by expert judgment, is another example of
Existing infrastructure. GIS-based prescriptive analysis where weighted
Existing demand points. goals are examined and placed into a model that
Discontinuities related to poor allocation. follows some form of optimization logic. The rat-
The spatial expression of recently imple- ing and weighting process used to explain land-
mented policies. scape variables for suitability assessments is a
Prediction concerns questions pertaining to the classic example of this procedure. In general, opti-
quantity, structure, and location of consuming mization identies a series of procedures that will
units at some future point in time. This type of either maximize some potential surface related
forecasting requires both a store of data and to the weighted goals or minimize a constraint
the ability to organize and model that data to pro- surface.
duce planning scenarios that can be explored via
the GIS.
Implementation is a management task where