Systems Analysis

The use of system analysis in land-use planning is described in [18]. In systems analysis, interrelated processes are analyzed and modeled. In [19] and other references, it has been defined as a general framework of thoughts that creates the possibility to project specific problems as seen from a general background. This description is rather general. It shows that system analysis is applicable to many disiplines and that an interdisciplinary approach is possible as well. Land-use planning deals with concrete systems. A concrete system is a limited and coherent part of the real world (e.g., a technical instrument, a farm, a local community, or a land-use planning area). Such a system is, by definition, limited. The type of system determines whether it is open or closed. An open system interacts with its surroundings; a closed system does not interact. Land-use planning areas are (predominantly) open systems: They have an input (influence of their surroundings on them) and an output (their influence on their surroundings).

There are at least three reasons to apply systems analysis in land-use planning:

• to encourage a more holistic perspective, rather than the reductionistic view from which science usually works;

• to try to learn more about the most important aspects of a system and to focus further research upon these aspects;

• to learn about the interaction of the different aspects and, where applicable, to promote the study of these interactions.

An objective of a systems analysis approach in land-use planning is "to learn about the meaning of planning in the functioning of rural areas so that priorities can be given

Figure 2.4. Difference between grid-based and vector-based formats.

polygon coverage Grid from a polygon coverage

Figure 2.4. Difference between grid-based and vector-based formats.

for research as well as that the interaction between different studies can be clarified." Systems analysis in land-use planning should lead to knowledge about interactions, for example, between the different land-use types; knowledge about the most striking problems in the system; a determination of what knowledge is lacking; and the setting of priorities and promotion of new research. Research in land-use planning is based almost entirely on field research. A systems analysis approach to land-use planning in specific rural areas, therefore, is predominantly based upon properties, land use, and problems of that specific areas. Systems analysis of a specific planning area may study the different land-use types in such a way that the long-term effects of changes on area properties, often based upon spatial concepts, can be given for the different land uses.

Systems analysis is not new. It has been used in many fields throughout the past 50 years. It also has been used in land-use planning. An example of this is the research described by Jorjani [20]. The effects of changes in a rural water management system were analyzed from a total systems approach, as Fig. 2.5 shows. The approach clarifies many things. First, it demonstrates that working with systems is a complicated approach. Figure 2.5 shows, for example, that answering the question "What are the effects of changing the water (management) system?" leads to 33 knowledge fields. Second, it makes clear that teamwork is needed. Third, it probably is impossible, despite teamwork and an interdisciplinary approach, to cover everything: priorities have to be set and choices made. In the case of the drainage system study [20], which took four years, the researcher could study only line 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (see numbered boxes in Fig. 2.5), with some references to 27-28 and 14-15-16.

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