© Copyright JASSS

JASSS logo ------

Geospatial Techniques in Urban Planning (Advances in Geographic Information Science)

Shen, Zhenjiang
Springer-Verlag: Berlin, 2012
ISBN 9783642135590 (pb)

Order this book

Reviewed by Lorena Cadavid
Universidad Nacional de Colombia - Sede Medellin

Cover of book This is one of the nine books that compose the Advances in Geographic Information Science Springer series, which is intended to present current innovations in Geography Information Systems field and integrate multi-disciplinary topics, tools and problem-solving views. This book by Zhenjiang Shen provides a practical touch to the series by dealing with the application of geotechnology techniques in urban planning processes. While it is not aimed at providing strong explanatory and conceptual contents, it mostly focuses on applications. Given the recent proliferation of research in this, it integrates three well-known streams of research, i.e., geosimulation, geovisualization and geography, by treating their specificities and integrating their domains.

It collects varying works by the author, who is main author or co-author of 15 out of 18 chapters, divided in three distinct groups: geosimulation and land use, geovisualization and urban design, and Geography Information Systems and Planning Support. Given that it is hard to make a clear distinction between these research fields, in order to follow his/her particular interest, the reader should carefully crisscross the chapters to realize that these domains are interlaced more than expected. For example, it is possible to find works related with planning, decision-making and use of tools in each one of the groups. In short, it is necessary for the reader to search carefully along the chapters to deepen a matter and benefit from the book.

Selected works in the Geosimulation and land use group include topics, such as planning alternatives and spatial policies (and, even more interestingly, some alternatives for dealing with the relationship between them) and low-carbon policies and water preservation given the growth of number of households (which implies more energy consumption and waste production). There are examples of research with cellular automata simulation as a tool for designing spatial policies among planners and developers by following an iterative process of proposals generation and evaluation. On the other hand, the geovisualization and urban design set includes works related to the preservation of historic buildings by using theoretical methods and real-life measurements and experiments, collective design of places among citizens and planners by means of the use of on-line tools, as well as understanding and consensus of landscape design in the communities.

This is an interesting collection of chapters as it goes further the traditional technical approach of geovisualization and explores its potentials to mediate the soft relationships among stakeholders (planners, residents and citizens, among others) in urban planning process.

Finally, Geography Information Systems and Planning Support topic encompasses subjects like 3D visualization of buildings into cities by integrating tools of Geography Information Systems, a platform for urban control analysis which includes 60 multi-disciplinary factors. These factors are used to understand the phenomenon, retrieves ecological networks from aero photography and local urban system database and regulate localizing shopping centers considering commercial policies.

It is worth noting that the cases are developed mainly in Chinese and Japanese communities. Given the urban configurations and their own problems related to spatial needs, these territories allows for rich and deep analysis of urban planning process; however, it is questionable the relevance of such advances for other communities less immersed in so crowded conditions, where population dynamics and behavior of people can be determined by different factors.

To conclude, this book will be especially appreciated by readers who are looking for applications of geotechnology in urban planning. Given the diversity of the topics and the scope of the book itself, the readers should expect varying levels of complexity in the different chapters of this book. While most of them could be enjoyable even for newcomers, a few others are suitable only for an advanced readership, as the level of technical detail is high. In this, there is the mean weakness of this book, as it is neither an introductory nor an advance book.


ButtonReturn to Contents of this issue