FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PLANNING SUPPORT SYSTEMS FOR CITIES AND REGIONS INVITES DIALOGUE ON TECHNOLOGY AND PLANNING
Strength and limitations of computer-based tools in planning explored
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The seemingly unlimited potential of computer-based tools to assist planners in the challenges they face this century is the focus of a new book published by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.
Planning Support Systems for Cities and Regions, edited by Richard K. Brail (2008 / 312 pages / Paper / $35.00; ISBN: 978-1-55844-182-8), invites readers to join in a virtual dialogue with its authors—educators, theorists, model builders, and planners—about technology and the social context in which technology is employed.
An important foundation for the book was a gathering at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Mass. in September, 2007, when the Institute convened the authors and several invited planning experts to discuss the state of the art in planning support systems, a relatively recent term attributed to Britton Harris.
The dialogue juxtaposed the great potential of computer-based tools to enhance the effectiveness of planning, and the serious challenges in applying these tools in real-world planning environments. The Lincoln Institute has focused on tools for planners in a number of its recent books, including Kwartler and Longo’s Visioning and Visualization: People, Pixels, and Plans (2008), Campoli and MacLean’s Visualizing Density (2007), and Hopkins and Zapata’s Engaging the Future: Forecasts, Scenarios, Plans, and Projects (2007).
All of these books have a common interest in the spatial and visual side of planning, although the focus of Planning Support Systems is promoting a critical understanding of the strengths and limitations of planning tools. Editor Richard K. Brail, professor emeritus of urban planning at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, has brought together the wisest of the field’s thinkers, the most inventive of the toolmakers, the most experienced of those working at the interface with real clients, and the most battle-seasoned practicing planners. Together they present a broad view of the field, in-depth developmental histories of the most important models and tools as told by their creators, and a provocative, in-the-trenches critique of the state of the art.
Planning will never be easy, said Armando Carbonell, senior fellow and chair of the Department of Planning and Urban Form at the Lincoln Institute, who wrote the foreword. Planning needs and deserves the best support systems that modelers and system developers can deliver, Carbonell said. Planning Support Systems provides a glimpse at future tools suited to a planning process that has become, as Brail says, “more visual, more public, more accessible, and more collaborative.”
About the Editor
Richard Brail is professor emeritus of urban planning at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. His interests include the applications of information technology in urban planning, geographic information and planning support systems, and urban transportation.
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