Examples of GIS for analyzing urban growth and developing growth management plans

In rapidly growing communities, local governments, planners, and citizens frequently call for policies to shape growth in a way that will reduce rates of increase in land consumption, vehicle miles traveled, energy demand, and pressure on water and air quality. Often the goals of various stakeholders within the metropolitan region will conflict. Planners use GIS as an important tool for understanding, visualizing, and quantifying current conditions and recent trends; exploring spatial relationships between transportation, land use, housing, and open space; and visualizing the metropolitan region’s future under different growth scenarios.

Where should development go? Buildable Lands and Build-Out Analysis

Buildable lands analyses combine GIS and other tools to estimate the quantity, location, and suitability of land available for development in a community.  Built-out analysis takes this further by combining a buildable lands analysis with existing zoning to show what a community’s future would look like if all buildable lands were built out to designated zoning and the impacts that would have on the community and its environment.  Read more…

Where should development not go? Open Space Planning

Many communities start growth management thinking by focusing on where development should not go, that is, what lands does the community want or need to preserve and what is the priority for conservation. A variety of factors may guide this process, including agricultural land protection, water quality, endangered species, hazards, recreation needs, and equitable access for disadvantaged communities. Land and Wildlife Conservation

Integrated Transportation, Land Use, and Energy Planning

Contemporary metropolitan planning practice calls for the integration of land use, transportation and energy planning, rather than taking the first two separately and ignoring the third altogether. GIS is a critical tool in analyzing the current land use/transportation context; developing and presenting scenarios for new configurations of of land, roads, and transit; and estimating the energy increases or reductions that would result. More Resources…

Putting it all together – Metro (Portland, Oregon)

Metro, the regional government encompassing the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan region, has long used GIS as a foundational tool in its efforts to manage regional growth. TheMetro web site contains numerous examples of studies, plans, and community engagement tools informed by a greater or lesser degree by mapping and spatial analysis. For explicit examples of how GIS has been used in a number of studies (e.g., housing, industrial development, infill) see the Maps and Data section of Metro’s web site.