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Spatial Data Science

How GIS technology can help to keep growing cities sustainable

Publication date: 11-02-2024, Read time: 3 min

Continued and increasing urbanization worldwide makes it ever more complicated to keep urban development sustainable. This is a serious task for urban planners and managers. To this end, modern GIS (Geographic Information System) technology has a lot to offer in terms of solution support. A GIS is an information system that integrates, stores, edits, analyses, shares and displays spatial or geographic information.

Information, particularly spatial information, plays a fundamental role in the practice of urban planning and management. Most information used by planners is geographic in nature. It makes use of topographic maps or is linked to a geographic location through a coordinate reference, a street address or an administrative area. 

What can GIS bring to the table? 

Over the past few decades, GIS has become an increasingly significant aspect of urban design and planning. Modern GIS software, hardware and databases are becoming more available to ordinary users, although the complexity of the more powerful applications means accessibility is still a problem.

As the range of applications keeps expanding, interest among urban planners keeps growing. The use of GIS in urban planning and design can promote better quantitative and qualitative data analysis, thereby fostering a better base for decision-making. As such, GIS technology could certainly contribute to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 11, which is to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Work to be done

Current progress in GIS technology should allow for the development of systems able to support solutions at all stages in the planning and design process. That being said, researchers note that there is still much work to be done to fulfil the promised potential. With respect to planning support systems, this has been dubbed the implementation gap.

To learn more on this topic, check out our other articles on some of the challenges of modern urbanization and some of the new concepts underlying urban planning and management

Spatial Data Science Sustainable Cities
Last edited: 07-05-2024

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