Simulating urban growth scenarios using GIS and multicriteria analysis techniques: a case study of the Madrid region, Spain
Over the last few years, urban expansion has occurred without much control or urban planning, causing both regional and global impacts on the natural ecosystems. This situation has spurred reflection on current planning policies and has also stimulated research into new tools and methodologies for the simulation of alternative territorial scenarios for the future. In this respect, the use of multicriteria evaluation techniques within a GIS environment has proved to be an efficient option for an optimal allocation of land uses. However, those techniques have not been explored thoroughly in the field of future scenario simulation. The aim of our research is to show and to reinforce the possibilities of these techniques in developing three different scenarios of urban growth (business as usual, crisis, and innovation and sustainability). All three scenarios discriminate between three land uses (residential, commercial, and industrial), and have been developed for the Madrid region. The base-line year of these scenarios is 2000 and the time horizon is 2020. In that process, fourteen spatial factors, which encompass environmental, economic, and social issues, have been considered. The results obtained show that some discrepancies exist between the business as usual scenario and European policies for transport and the environment. This situation has an impact on the territory and causes irreversible damage to the environment. The crisis scenario, in contrast, alleviates those pressures, if not because of the application of environmental policies to the planning process, at least because the situation of crisis causes the metropolitan model to change. Finally, innovation has been considered a driver of economic development and good planning practice, the positive effects of which have been highlighted in the third scenario.
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