Keywords: planning support systems, urban planning, regional planning, environmental planning, growth management, geographic information systems, GIS, citizen participation, declining regions, environmental management
What if evaluation of growth management strategies for a declining region
This paper describes What if?TM, a commercially available GIS-based planning support system (PSS), and its application to evaluate alternate growth management strategies for a declining region in the Midwestern part of the USA. The paper begins by describing the study area, the seven-county region surrounding Cleveland and Akron, Ohio, which has simultaneously experienced regional population declines and substantial exurban growth over the last 30 years. It then describes the What if? PSS, and the data and procedures that were used to evaluate alternative growth management strategies for the region. The paper next considers the implications that the study results have for efforts to accommodate growth in the rural portions of the Cleveland-Akron metropolitan area. It concludes by evaluating the What if? model and its appropriateness for evaluating alternative growth management strategies in a declining region.