Tools for integrating planning in land change models


Anna Hersperger


Anna Hersperger
Peter H. Verburg


2016 - 2021

The overall objective of this project is to reduce the technical gap between spatial planning and land change science. Specifically, this project aims to develop tools and methods to translate data and features from strategic spatial planning into inputs for land change models. We focus on two observations: 1) pre-treatment of information from planning is still limited by the heterogeneity of the data and by the way planning intentions are expressed in documents, and 2) current land change models do not sufficiently consider the often limited capability to achieve developments envisioned in the planning documents such as physical change or tenure. The project addresses three main issues: 1) data preparation, 2) quantitative assessment of spatial planning, and 3) testing the tools by integrating planning in a land change model.

Project focus areas

  1. Extracting information from planning documents. The main goal is to define useful features and information from plans to build spatial inputs for pixel-based land change models.
  2. Quantitative assessment of the strength of planning. The main goal is to identify the key elements and interactions in strategic planning processes and to develop a questionnaire-based tool of assess the potential strength of the overall planning process.
  3. Methodological improvement of land change modelling. The main goal is to investigate how the information from planning documents gained in focus area 1 and the quantitative assessment of potential plan-implementation of focus area 2 improve land change models of urban regions.

Project outcomes

  • Tools and methods and associated technical reports
  • Recommendations for a better integration of spatial planning into land change models

Project research methods

  • Multi-case study approach.
  • Document content analysis.
  • Mixed analysis approach (combining analytical hierarchy process and expert interviews)
  • Land change modelling


Parent project

CONCUR Project

Related projects

  • Evaluation of strategic spatial plans
  • Assessment of strategic spatial plan making and plan  implementation processes


Swiss National Science Foundation ERC TBS Consolidator Grant BSCGIO 157789