International Development Planning Review

Planning-support systems using an innovative blend of computer tools: An approach for use in decisions about industrial locations in Punjab, Pakistan

International Development Planning Review (2002), 24, (2), 203–221.

Abstract

There is no complete planning-support system (PSS) as yet, and such a thing is unlikely to emerge in the near future, at least in the form of a single software system or a fixed set of tools that can be applied to all planning situations. It is most likely that future PSSs will comprise combinations of software applications, with 'soft couplings' structured to a greater or lesser extent. Such systems are likely to be useful and technically feasible in developing countries, despite institutional obstacles that tend to be greater than those in industrialised countries. This article examines an innovative combination of computer tools that was developed and tested as a methodology for regional industrial location policy in Pakistan. The broad objective of the PSS is to guide public-sector decisions about industrial locations, meeting the twin objectives of safeguarding the natural environment and contributing to public welfare. The methodology consists of four modules that are used sequentially to identify areas in which a government should encourage private-sector industrial investment. The analysis begins with a multicriteria approach to the definition of area suitability based on environmental sensitivity, and goes on to define permissible levels of pollution. It also identifies underdeveloped areas with the greatest need for social and economic improvements. As this system is an open one the modules could be used separately, or together with other software options.

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Author details

Piracha, Awais

Kammeier, H. Detlef