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Bottlenecks blocking widespread usage of planning support systems

Guido Vonk, Stan Geertman and Paul Schot

Environment and Planning A, 2005, vol. 37, issue 5, 909-924

Abstract: Research on planning support systems (PSS) is characterized by a strong emphasis on the supply side, whereas little research has been undertaken on the successes and failures in the adoption of PSS within the planning community (demand side). What becomes clear from the existing research is that usage is not widespread. In this paper we aim to find the main bottlenecks blocking the widespread use of PSS in spatial planning. To achieve this, a global online survey was conducted in which almost 100 PSS experts participated and for which a theoretical framework from the field of business studies served as a basis. The results show that a multitude of factors cause the underutilization of PSS, their characteristics being human, organizational and institutional, as well as technical. In particular, the lack of awareness of and experience with PSS, alongside the relative lack of recognition of the value of PSS within the spatial planning community, tend to block widespread usage and adoption of PSS in planning practice. On this basis, we offer recommendations for the enhancement of PSS adoption, namely to disseminate more profoundly information and knowledge about the existence and benefits of PSS within the spatial planning community. Real-world example projects and in-depth research on potential benefits of PSS application in planning practice will be crucial in this.

Date: 2005
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