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Beyond modeling in environmental and urban planning: Planning support systems and the case study of Lisbon and Porto Metropolitan Areas, Portugal

Elisabete Manuela Alves da Silva, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Integrating the urban, the environment, and the public spheres in a modeling approach is an important goal for planners. Nevertheless, different terminologies, objectives, models, and the high complexity involved make it very uncommon. Modeling these different components is a challenge since it requires models that can integrate time and space dynamically, and incorporate complexity instead of dismissing it. This dissertation attempts to include these three spheres (urban, environment, public). It uses Cellular Automaton (CA) as the modeling environment, and the Lisbon Metropolitan Area (AML) and the Porto Metropolitan Area (AMP) as the areas of study. After introducing the subject of integrated studies and complexity, the area of CA is presented, and the organization of the dissertation is detailed. A second chapter describes the study areas. Chapters three, four, and five describe respectively the urban, the environmental landscape planning strategies, and the public inclusion. Chapter six interrelates the three components. The simulations that include the environmental, urban and expert's inputs develop scenarios that vary both visually and quantitatively. The simulation using the SLEUTH urban CA presents a trend scenario and demonstrates that by varying the pressures on the ecological (REN) and agricultural reserves (RAN) it is possible vary the urban pressures: relaxing RAN regulations decreases the number high probability of urban pressures, but spreads more areas of average pressures. The option for a limiting ‘no-growth’ strategy had similar results when including the sketch drawing from an expert workshop. The participant's concern with the urban image promoted a concentration of growth, an increase the number of cells with high probability of urban cells, but a reduction of the pressures of average probability urban cells. The countervailing model (CVCA) applied four landscape planning strategies in order to guide urban growth to more favorable areas that do not conflict with environmental land and the intensity of the urban pressures promoted more offensive urban pressures. Five main findings derive from the analysis of the results of each chapter: phase-transitions, existence of a “DNA” for each region, concepts of different images for the same Metropolitan Area, and the importance of integrating different models for metropolitan urban planning.

Subject Area

Urban planning|Area planning & development

Recommended Citation

Alves da Silva, Elisabete Manuela, "Beyond modeling in environmental and urban planning: Planning support systems and the case study of Lisbon and Porto Metropolitan Areas, Portugal" (2002). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3068534.