- Space, Time, Internet and Planning - Internet based instruments for complex planning situations: A case study for Upper Rhine Valley    click here to open paper content1 kb
by    Elgendy, Hany & Engelke, Dirk & Beck, Torsten | engelke@isl.uni-karlsruhe.de   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
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Space, Time, Internet and Planning - Internet based instruments for complex planning situations: A case study for Upper Rhine Valley

Presented by M.Sc. Hany Elgendy, Dipl.-Ing. Dirk Engelke and Dipl.-Ing. Torsten Beck
Institute for urban and regional planning, Karlsruhe University, Germany

Spatial planning as a collaborative activity is based on a major and complex Information flow process. This complication emerges from the huge amounts of information which are circulated among different actors. These information are fragmented and changing in nature. In such circumstances, getting an overview to major issues on a region might become a difficult task for planners and decision makers. However, the available planning instruments and operative measures do not facilitate establishing such an overview. This case study aims at laying out a methodology for using internet based instruments as a supporting tool in complex planning situation. The proposed methodology will be applied in a case study on the upper Rhine valley.

On the methodological level this case study emphasises three main aspects: technical; conceptual and operative.
a) Technically, what kind of internet based instruments could be developed for the spatial planning?
Planning Information System (PIS) is introduced here as a possible platform to encounter different planning information processes. The core idea of a PIS is to give different participants, in a specific planning context, the possibility to encounter all or some of these processes. A PIS should have the capability to handle major types of information that are needed, processed or produced during the planning process. Basic information types are dealing with: space, time, resources and organisation. A PIS is based on a main rule that is ''different places, different times and different roles''. We argue that, in a complex planning situation a PIS could facilitate establishing the needed overview.

b) Conceptually, what are the main characteristics, components and functions of an internet based overview?
Overviews should be the operative base for actions in the context of complex spatial planning tasks. Dependencies, that are not obvious for different participants, should be shown. If necessary, it should be possible to get informed by more and more detailed information on a specific topic, starting from a large scale and then deeper into detailed topics on a hierarchical information organisation. Hence, planning handles with suppositions and rumours, this hierarchical concept is also important to define access rights and where a “password-“protected” areas are needed. Working with overviews includes the need to keep them current. Hence, this PIS should facilitate updating information with the lowest possible effort.

c) Operatively, how to use these instruments to form planning processes?
To apply theses instruments to form planning processes, the point of departure should be to define of contact between main actors and main layers of problems. The idea is to use these point of contact as a hinge between them. This way of planning intervenes not only shaping information- and decision-structure for the individual actors but for the collaboration of involved actors as well. Hence, the above discussed technical instruments and conceptual operative measures are used to organise planning processes. The use of these methodology might yield fruit if the expenses for organising this process are less than the expected synergy effects. However, using the new media there is a chance to minimise the transaction-costs.

To demonstrate the above mentioned concepts in action, they were applied in a real complex planning situation to evaluate their applicability and validity. The Upper Rhine valley, as a major living space and traffic corridor, was selected as the regional context for applying this methodology .
Upper Rhine case study is aimed at establishing a pilot planning information platform that facilitates establishing an overview for the major spatial relevant issues. Hence, defining a framework for forming planning process that adopts this overview as the operative base for solving existing spatial problems. This includes in one hand, specifying interdependencies and collisions among actors, and problem-layers. On the other hand, identifying projects, which are leaded by the principles of sustainable spatial- and traffic-development.
The Upper Rhine as a traffic corridor, plays a major role in three different levels:
* On the European level it is a central European north-south axis for transit and the point of departure for the Swiss Alps crossing
* on the national the level (France, Swiss, Germany and Netherlands / Italy at the very edges) it is an interstates traffic corridor that has national interests.
* On the regional level it is an axis for local traffic, where regional railways are organised in another way than national railways
Consequently, different countries and regions have diverse and competitive aims regarding this corridor, even when the results are disadvantageous for all participants. An example is the German part of the Rhine and Upper-Rhine valley. On the segment Cologne-Frankfort, upgrading the Railway is expected to result in a shorter travel-time and a higher capacity. Thus, this part as an important national transit corridor has higher priority for the operator, while in the southern part (Offenburg-Basel) presents less pressure, and hence less priority However, on a longer term, consequences might be remarked in form of a lack of capacity, especially for the regional traffic when the Swiss NEAT-projects are realised in 2008/20012.

The example should point out, that problems can only be solved by understanding the planning process as a teamwork of different actors, respecting their different interest on the project. An equilibrating solution with a win-win-situation should be the result of complex planning situations, assisted by internet based planning instruments.
Regarding the ever increasing collaborative dimension in spatial planning, planners became solution finders, rather than plan makers. This collaboration is based on major and complex information flow process. Getting an overview to major issues in a region becomes a difficult task. Available planning instruments do not facilitate establishing such an overview. This case study aims at laying out a methodology for establishing Internet-based collaborative spatial overviews.
Internet based planning instruments, Online planning, collaporative planning
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