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A Hybrid Tool for Visual Pollution Assessment in Urban Environments

Khydija Wakil (), Malik Asghar Naeem (), Ghulam Abbas Anjum (), Abdul Waheed (), Muhammad Jamaluddin Thaheem (), Muhammad Qadeer ul Hussnain () and Raheel Nawaz ()
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Khydija Wakil: Department of Urban & Regional Planning, National University of Science & Technology (NUST), Islamabad H-12, Pakistan
Malik Asghar Naeem: Department of Urban & Regional Planning, National University of Science & Technology (NUST), Islamabad H-12, Pakistan
Ghulam Abbas Anjum: Department of City & Regional Planning, University of Engineering & Technology (UET), Lahore 54000, Pakistan
Abdul Waheed: Department of Urban & Regional Planning, National University of Science & Technology (NUST), Islamabad H-12, Pakistan
Muhammad Jamaluddin Thaheem: Department of Construction Engineering, National University of Science & Technology (NUST), Islamabad H-12, Pakistan
Muhammad Qadeer ul Hussnain: Department of Urban & Regional Planning, National University of Science & Technology (NUST), Islamabad H-12, Pakistan
Raheel Nawaz: Department of Operations, Technology, Events and Hospitality Management, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester M13 9PL, UK

Sustainability, 2019, vol. 11, issue 8, 1-16

Abstract: With increasing focus on more nuanced aspects of quality of life, the phenomenon of urban visual pollution has been progressively gaining attention from researchers and policy makers, especially in the developed world. However, the subjectivity and complexity of assessing visual pollution in urban settings remain a challenge, especially given the lack of robust and reliable methods for quantification of visual pollution. This paper presents a novel systematic approach for the development of a robust Visual Pollution Assessment (VPA) tool. A key feature of our methodology is explicit and systematic incorporation of expert and public opinion for listing and ranking Visual Pollution Objects (VPOs). Moreover, our methodology deploys established empirical complex decision-making techniques to address the challenge of subjectivity in weighting the impact of individual VPOs. The resultant VPA tool uses close-ended options to capture the presence and characteristics of various VPOs on a given node. Based on these inputs, it calculates a point based visual pollution scorecard for the observation point. The performance of the VPA tool has been extensively tested and verified at various locations in Pakistan. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first such tool, both in terms of quantitative robustness and broad coverage of VPOs. Our VPA tool will help regulators in assessing and charting visual pollution in a consistent and objective manner. It will also help policy makers by providing an empirical basis for gathering evidence; hence facilitating evidence-based and evidence-driven policy strategies, which are likely to have significant impact, especially in the developing countries.

Keywords: Visual Pollution Assessment (VPA); Visual Pollution Objects (VPOs); Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP); urban visual pollution; urban areas; evidence based policy; urban planning (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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