Increasing the utility of urban environmental quality information
There is a need to move towards a view of urban environmental quality and allied concepts that can draw together, in a practical way, the strands of related work from different fields. Perhaps not so obvious is that an important factor in the usefulness of any such work is consideration of who might use the output and how they might use it. Based on experience in the environmental field, this paper suggests that one of the major challenges is to bridge the divide between the environmental quality/well-being/quality-of-life specialists and the players who make urban policy and who shape our physical and social environments-in other words the engineers, planners, architects, service delivery specialists, etc. It might be argued that the issue is how to ensure integrated models and concepts improve environmental quality information available to these key players, but the more immediate issue is how to ensure, if it gets to them at all, can any of it be used? Several propositions are put forward by which environmental quality specialists can hope to maximise the utility of urban environmental quality information and its offspring indicators. Firstly, the environmental quality specialists must understand how urban policy, urban development, and decision-making processes, function. Secondly, they require an understanding of the language, the tools and the thought processes that are used by the development players. Thirdly, they must adopt approaches in which the environmental quality information assists the development players to propose and test scenarios, particularly novel paths of action, that could shift urban development in preferred directions.
Landscape and Urban Planning
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