Urban Impact Assessments

There are times when a city planner needs to assess the impacts of urban development upon the surrounding area. This may be used to determine suitable areas for future development. The first step is identifying all of the land that you want to study. Then determining the areas that are unsuitable for development and then through the process of elimination you have now identified the areas of interest, and potentially new areas of interest that might add to your scope for further analysis.


The first task is digitising a 10 year old report into GIS, based on 15 year old map data, to build a number of complex polygons showing areas of interest. Is this a joke? No. This is reality. This is why city planning is a joke in Australia.

Instead of collecting new data and checking it against current benchmarks, we are going to use old data and maps to base our decisions for the future. Logic? None at all! :D

Image Image

This is a map showing areas of interest.
The perfect circles are simple radial buffers, from the centroid of a town centre or village.

In this city, urban planners are not typically trained in spatial analysis during university and some only develop these skills through their interactions with spatial professionals in related work.

Even after a 5 year urban planning degree, at one of the nation's most prestigious degree mills, I only did a 6 month course involving a tiny bit of GIS, and that was working with a fairly outdated GIS package involving route optimisation processes for transport planning.

I studied surveying and GIS as a post graduate to increase my professional knowledge and skills. Three years later I'm working in a government organisation again, which house both spatial professionals and urban planners under the same roof, and yet I am watching planners outsourcing the mapping work to an external company, even though we informed them that we own the data, and have in-house capabilities to perform that map production and/or spatial data analysis.

I shake my head sometimes. The sheer irony of it all.

2018, journal