- Visions in Planning    click here to open paper content351 kb
by    da Costa Lobo, Manuel | clobo@civil.ist.utl.pt   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Territorial planning needs a spatial translation. A vision in town planning practice must be materialized, having a size and a shape.
A planning vision can be supported by visual analogy models and will allow:
• To understand bitter the issues;
• To describe the issues;
• To help creativity and to find solutions;
• To transmit the ideas inside the team;
• To send messages to external patterns;
• To help decision-making.
As a model is not the reality it is necessary to confirm the results by using simulation methods and looking both its consistency and impacts.
Consistency analysis has in view to translate the analogical model in terms of real facts and evaluate its possibility in terms of economy / financing and in all other needed resources – human resources, legal frame and others. Cash flow analysis can also help to see the real possibility of the proposed scheme.
Impacts studies have in view to understand and to evaluate the side-effects of main proposals and interventions. Negative impacts ought to be eliminated or reduced (minimized), while positive impacts have to be enhanced.
Trough these exercises and tests the vision is being focused, and a political decision can take place.
The search for visions and solutions, by professionals and by stakeholders’ intervention, or even by citizens’ participation, can bring alternatives and conflicts.
The resolution of conflicts can be dealt by the 3rd solution method, where professionals are asked to understand the points of view of all the partners and to build a completely new proposal – a solution or a vision for the future – that could be accepted by them.
To get an agreement it might be useful to step back again and get a let focused image of the vision until it becomes consensual and then start a new focusing from a new starting point.
To get the maximum from the professionals’ creative capacities it is wise to use not too elaborate models on the vision stage, that will developed later on.
So, from a complex map of a city with 150.000 inhabitants, spread on a still rural landscape, one can represent them through the spaces of human meaningful communities.
From the representation one can get another easier scheme representing the central areas of the communities. As a third step one can represent those central areas with a circle which size will show the resident population attracted by each central area.
A fourth step could be the aggregation of some of these circles to underline the main structure of population settlement. On these simplified models it would be easier to apply a gravitational model to understand better the structure and the traffic flows.
Getting now a sequential image of the territory one can think on building an image based on the Central Areas symbols and identities. Some tall buildings as land marks and some buildings with great personality could help to bring a sense of links and network structure that could be represented by an image suggesting different values. Our vision of the city future is the represented by this image that underlines the most important items of the city, its territory and its main components.
The paper will develop this exercise on the city with 150.000 inhabitants and will five other examples of modelling visions with images that facilitates its presentation to people and to the elected politicians, decision-makers.
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