Cesar working document 5 a planner's perspective of pss


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Cesar working document 5 a planner's perspective of pss

  1. 1. CESAR  WORKING  DOCUMENT  SERIES   Working  document  no.5                 A  Planner’s  perspective  of  PSS   New insights about the role of knowledge and the planning context.       Peter  Pelzer   13  April  2014             This  working  document  series  is  a  joint  initiative  of  the  University  of  Amsterdam,    Utrecht  University,  Wageningen  University  and   Research  centre  and  TNO               The  research  that  is  presented  in  this  series  is  financed  by  the  NWO  program  on  Sustainable  Accessibility  of  the  Randstad:   http://www.nwo.nl/nwohome.nsf/pages/nwoa_79vlym_eng      
  2. 2.   CESAR  Working  Document  Series  no.  4     Instrumenten  in  het  Planproces     Abstract:     This  paper  gains  insight  into  the  improvement  of  knowledge  use  in  spatial  planning  through  the  application  of  Planning   Support  Systems  (PSS).  It  starts  from  the  observation  that  several  geo-­‐ICT  tools  have  been  developed  for  this  purpose,  but   its  use  is  lagging  behind.  Studies  aiming  to  explain  this  underutilization  point  at  the  importance  to  take  a  planners’   perspective  rather  than  an  instrumental  perspective,  but  use  generic  models  of  technology  acceptance,  mutual  learning   and  knowledge  diffusion.  This  paper  fills  this  omission  by  focusing  explicitly  on  the  role  of  knowledge  in  spatial  planning.     In  doing  so,  the  paper  will  first  outline  a  conceptual  framework  describing  the  debate  about  PSS  and  knowledge  in   planning.  A  distinction  is  made  between  two  knowledge  characteristics  (forms,  claims)  and  four  knowledge  uses   (instrumental,  symbolic,  conceptual,  interactive).  The  framework  is  empirically  analyzed  through  a  literature  review  of  a   set  of  recent  PSS  case  studies.  It  is  found  that  most  PSS  applications  still  strongly  focus  on  instrumental  knowledge  use,   conceptual  knowledge  use  is  gaining  more  and  more  attention,  symbolic  knowledge  use  is  hardly  observed,  and   interactive  knowledge  use  only  occurs  within  expert  settings.  The  findings  indicate  that  there  is  much  more  potential  for   PSS  to  improve  knowledge  use.  For  instance,  by  aiding  ‘storytelling’,  being  more  sensitive  to  the  background  of  actors   involved,  and  more  explicitly  making  learning  and  enlightenment  an  aim  of  the  planning  process.  More  research  is   needed,  however,  particular  into  PSS  use  in  existing  planning  situations.       1.Introduction   Since  the  ‘communicative  turn’  in  spatial  planning,  strong  emphasis  has  been  placed  on  the   collaborative,  interactive,  communicative  and  participatory  nature  of  spatial  planning  (e.g.  Healey,   1992;  2007;  Innes,  1998;  Innes  and  Booher,  2010).  Post-­‐modernist  approaches  dominate  the   debate;  a  ‘new  orthodoxy  [that]  clusters  around  the  idea  that  the  core  of  planning  should  be  an   engagement  with  a  range  of  stakeholders,  giving  them  voice  and  seeking  to  achieve  a  planning   consensus.’  (Rydin,  2007,  p.54).  However,  this  approach  has  also  lead  to  relativism  and  appreciation   of  any  statement  relating  to  a  planning  topic.  In  the  words  of  geinformation-­‐researchers  Deal  and   Pallathucheril  (2008,  p.61):  ‘In  recent  years,  community  visioning  exercises  have  been  increasingly   used  (…)  but  those  activities  are  rarely  grounded  in  data  or  deep  analysis;  sometimes  they  amount   to  little  more  than  wishful  thinking.’   From  this  perspective,  scientific  knowledge  about  for  instance  land  use,  the  environment   and  regional  economics  is  underutilized,  leading  to  possible  sub-­‐optimal  planning  interventions.   This  paper  argues  that  knowledge  should  play  a  more  dominant  role  in  spatial  planning.  It  is  argued   that  dedicated  ‘knowledge  technologies’  (Gudmundsson,  2011),  could  play  a  role  in  this   development.  It  is  hypothesized  that  particularly  geo-­‐ICT  tools  specifically  designed  for  spatial   planning,  often  captured  under  the  header  of  Planning  Support  Systems  (from  now  on:  PSS),  could   play  a  crucial  role  in  bridging  modernist  and  post-­‐modernist  approaches  to  planning  by  including   analytical  and  process-­‐oriented  approaches.       PSS  are  ‘…geoinformation  technology-­‐based  instruments  that  incorporate  a  suite  of   components  that  collectively  support  some  specific  parts  of  a  unique  professional  planning  task’   (Geertman  2008,  p.217).  Despite  enormous  technological  advancements  and  the  specific  focus  on   supporting  planning  activities,  its  use  in  planning  practice  has  been  lagging  behind  (Vonk,  2006,  te   Brömmelstroet,  2010),  arguably  due  to  a  lack  of  technological  acceptance  in  planning  (Vonk,  2006)   and  an  overly  scientific  and  instrumental  focus  (Te  Brömmelstroet,  2010).  What  has  hardly  been   done,  however,  is  to  start  from  a  planning  perspective  to  analyze  the  potential  of  PSS  (for  notable   exceptions  see  Carton  2007;  Geertman,  2006;  te  Brömmelstroet  2010).     This  paper  starts  from  the  debate  about  knowledge  use  in  spatial  planning  to  evaluate  the   potential  of  PSS  in  practice.  The  key  strength  of  PSS  is  its  sensitivity  to  both  the  process  of  planning   (by  specifically  supporting  tasks)  and  the  content  (by  providing  scientifically  sound  insights).   Moreover,  recent  developments  in  participatory  GIS  (Geertman,  2002;  Kahila  and  Kyttä,  2009)   show  that  PSS  also  have  the  potential  to  align  with  the  proposed  collaborative  and  bottom-­‐up   nature  of  planning  which  has  became  increasingly  popular  over  the  last  decaded  (Healey,  2007;   Innes,  1998).    The  implications  for  spatial  planning  are  sketched  by  Klosterman  (2009,  iv):‘(….)  the   development  of  PSS  can  be  seen  as  part  of  a  larger  effort  to  return  the  planning  profession  to  its  
  3. 3. CESAR  Working  Document  Series  no.  5     A  Planner’s  perspective  of  PSS   Page  3     traditional  concern  with  using  information  and  analysis  to  more  effectively  engage  the  future’.  This   paper  builds  upon  this  remark  and  argues  that  PSS  could  function  as  a  bridge  between  varying   practical  and  theoretical  approaches  to  planning.  Hence,  it  aims  to  answer  the  following  question:   What  are  the  potentials  of  PSS  to  improve  the  use  of  knowledge  in  planning?     In  answering  this  question,  the  paper  is  structured  as  follows.  Section  two  will  briefly   review  the  PSS  literature,  focusing  in  particular  on  the  planning  context  in  which  the  tool  is   embedded.  Subsequently,  section  three  will  develop  a  theoretical  framework  in  which  the  most   important  components  of  the  debate  about  knowledge  in  planning  will  be  outlined.  This  section  will   describe  the  characteristics  of  knowledge  in  planning  and  the  different  ways  in  which  knowledge   can  be  used.  In  section  four  the  conceptual  framework  from  section  two  and  three  will  be  used  to   analyze  the  state  of  the  art  in  PSS.  It  will  be  evaluated  to  what  extent  different  characteristics  and   uses  can  be  found  in  PSS  case  studies  and  how  this  can  be  understood.  Based  on  these  findings,   section  five  will  relate  these  findings  to  the  contingencies  of  the  planning  context  and  deduce  a  set   of  potentials  to  improve  knowledge  use  through  PSS.  The  paper  will  end  with  a  set  of  conclusions   and  reflections.     2.  PSS  in  planning  practice   With  lessons  learned  from  Lee’s  (1973,  also  Lee  1994)  devastating  critique  on  urban  models  in  the   1970s  and  accompanied  by  the  growing  use  and  possibilities  of  Geographic  Information  Systems   (GIS),  in  the  1990s  a  set  of  knowledge  technologies  specifically  suited  for  spatial  planning  which   become  later  known  as  PSS  were  developed  (Stillwell  et  al.,  1999).  In  several  edited  volumes  (Brail   and  Klosterman,  2001;  Brail,  2008;  Geertman  and  Stillwell,  2003;  2009)  the  characteristics,   application  and  alleged  virtues  of  a  range  of  PSS  such  as  WhatIf?  (Klosterman  1997;  2008),  LEAM   (Deal  and  Pallatucheril,  2008;  2009),  UrbanSim  (Waddell  et  al.,  2008,  2011),  CommunityViz  (Janes   and  Kwartler,  2008),  and  the  Land  Use  Scanner  (Koomen  and  Borsboom-­‐van  Beurden,  2011;  Van   der  Hoeven  et  al.,  2009)  were  sketched.  However,  while  the  instrumental  capacities  from  most  PSS   are  impressive,  use  in  practice  is  lagging  behind.  Therefore,  a  set  of  recent  studies  have  shifted   their  focus  to  the  question  why  PSS  are  so  infrequently  used  in  planning  practice  and  how  this  could   be  improved  (te  Brömmelstroet,  2010;  Geertman,  2008;  Vonk,  2006).     Vonk  (2006)  focused  on  the  extent  to  which  organizations  accept  and  adapt  to  a  technology   like  PSS.  The  use  of  PSS  in  practice  should  be  addressed  as  a  diffusion  process  for  which  several   bottlenecks  such  as  a  lack  of  awareness  and  recognition  of  the  value  of  PSS  have  to  be  taken  away   in  order  to  increase  PSS  use.  Vonk’s  (2006)  study  shed  important  new  light  on  possibilities  to   increase  the  use  of  PSS,  which  is  not  just  about  improving  instrumental  characteristics,  but  also   about  organizational  adoption  and  carefully  tailoring  to  the  needs  of  varying  planning  actors.     Geertman  (2006)  complemented  these  insights  by  providing  an  overview  of  the  contingent   factors  that  influence  the  potential  role  of  information,  knowledge  and  instruments  in  planning   practice  (see  Figure  1).  As  among  others  te  Brömmelstroet  (2010)  has  shown,  the  users  or  actors   involved  steer  the  role  of  PSS.  Spatial  planners  and  transport  planners,  for  instance,  tend  to  have   very  different  working  habits,  skills  and  perceptions,  making  universal  application  of  PSS   problematic  (te  Brömmelstroet,  2010).  A  barrier  that  is  related  to  the  educational  background  and   prior  experience  with  technology  of  the  actors  involved  (Vonk,  2006).  The  same  argument  goes   when  local  and  expert  knowledge  are  combined,  for  instance  through  the  application  of   Participatory  GIS  (Dunn,  2007;  Geertman,  2002;  McCall,  2003;  McCall  and  Dunn,  2012).         The  involvement  of  local  stakeholders  is  dependent  on  the  extent  to  which  the  planning   process  is  participatory.  The  position  of  planning  situations  on  Arnstein’s  (1969)  famous  ladder   varies  hugely  across  institutional  contexts  and  planning  issues.  Moreover,  both  the  role  of   participation  and  the  dynamics  of  knowledge  in  planning  are  dependent  upon  the  timing  of  the   planning  process  (e.g.  Teisman  1998).  In  early  phases  and  under  little  pressure  there  is  more  time   for  exploration  and  learning  process  through  PSS,  than  in  later  phases  under  high  time  pressure  in   which  political  involvement  becomes  stronger.  
  4. 4. CESAR  Working  Document  Series  no.  5     A  Planner’s  perspective  of  PSS   Page  4       The  extent  to  which  politics  interferes  in  the  planning  process,  can  be  considered  as  part  of   the  institutional  context.  This  includes  the  dominant  planning  style,  the  political  context  and  the   policy  model  (Geertman,  2006).  In  the  traditional  approaches  after  the  Second  World  War,  for   instance,  planning  was  seen  as  a  rational  and  scientific  endeavor  (Geertman,  2006;  Salet  and  Faludi,   2000),  whereas  in  the  1990s  communication  and  collaboration  became  increasingly  emphasized   (Healey,  1992),  and  planning  became  to  be  seen  as  an  inherently  politicized  and  power-­‐driven   process  (Forester,  1989;  Flyvbjerg  1998).  The  institutional  context,  however,  is  not  only  time-­‐ dependent,  but  also  place-­‐dependent  as  several  comparative  case  studies  on  metropolitan   governance  have  shown  (e.g.  Bontje  et  al.,  2011;  Salet  et  al.  2003).  Hence,  the  application  of  PSS   should  be  carefully  tailored  to  the  institutional  context.  For  instance,  in  the  literature  about  the   liberal  and  decentralised  American  planning  context,  there  is  a  stronger  emphasis  on  participation   and  collaboration  of  local  actors  (Innes  and  Booher,  1999;  2010)  than  in  the  centralized  and   strongly  regulated  Dutch  planning  context  (Faludi  and  Van  der  Valk,  1994;  Healey  2007).    A  point   which  has  not  seemed  to  gathered  to  much  attention  in  PSS  literature  (see  overviews  in  Brail,  2008;   Geertman  and  Stillwell,  2009).       Moreover,  the  role  of  PSS  is  intrinsically  related  to  the  content  of  the  planning  issue.   Transport  planning  issues,  for  instance,  tends  to  be  strongly  expert-­‐oriented  and  relies  on  models,   whereas  in  neighborhood  revitalization  local  knowledge  and  participation  plays  a  much  more   dominant  role.  On  the  one  hand  this  difference  is  related  to  the  aforementioned  actors  involved,   sub-­‐disciplines  within  the  wide  field  of  spatial  planning  tend  to  have  their  own  habits  regarding  the   role  of  knowledge  and  technology  (Geertman,  2006).  On  the  other  hand  planning  topics  also  place   restrictions  and  demands  on  the  possibilities  of  PSS,  which  is  also  related  to  the  scale  op  the   planning  issue.  Or  as  Alexander  (2008,  p.  210)  puts  it:     As  the  level  of  governance  rises  and  planning  moves  from  more  general-­‐comprehensive  approaches  into  sectoral  or   specialized  domains,  appreciative  knowledge  loses  more  of  its  value  and  is  replaced  by  increasing  demand  for  systematic-­‐ scientific  knowledge:  professional  and  substantive  expertise.   In  more  abstract  terms,  these  aspects  are  part  of  the  extent  to  which  a  planning  problem  is  ‘wicked’   (Rittel  and  Webber,  1973;  Hartmann  2012).  Klinke  and  Renn  (2002)  discern  three  challenges  that   are  related  to  the  ‘wickedness’  of  a  planning  problem:  complexity,  uncertainty,  and  ambiguity.   Complexity  refers  to  the  difficulty  to  understand  causal  linkages,  because  of  their  multiplicity  and   the  many  feedback  loops  involved  (Byrne,  1998;  O’Sullivan,  2004;  for  planning:  De  Roo  and  Silva   2010).  Uncertainty  is  about  the  extent  to  which  the  future  can  be  predicted,  something  which  is   dependent  on  the  specific  issue  and  the  information  available  (Klinke  and  Renn,  2002).  Ambiguity,   finally,  is  about  conflicting  interpretations  that  can  arise  within  in  planning.  This  challenge  has  been   particularly  scrutinized  by  collaborative  and  interactive  approaches  to  planning  (Innes  and  Booher   2010,  Healey,  2007;  Rydin,  2007).       For  PSS  these  three  challenges  are  related  to  the  knowledge  involved  in  planning.  A  central   challenge  for  PSS  is  to  handle  and  create  knowledge  and  facilitate  learning  processes  (te   Brömmelstroet,  2010).  The  challenge  of  ambiguity  reveals  that  a  modernist  conception  of   knowledge  does  not  suffice  for  understanding  planning  processes  (cf.  Rydin,  2007)  For  PSS  this   implicates  that  a  more  thorough  and  holistic  understanding  of  knowledge  is  necessary.      
  5. 5. CESAR  Working  Document  Series  no.  5     A  Planner’s  perspective  of  PSS   Page  5     Figure  1:  Explanatory  framework  of  the  potential  planning  support  role  of  dedicated  information,  knowledge  and  instruments  in   planning  practice         Based  on  Geertman  (2006)     3.  Knowledge  use     3.1.Knowledge  and  planning   Following Friedmann (1987), planning is essentially about turning knowledge into action. Implicitly or explicitly, most work dealing with information and knowledge applies the knowledge pyramid consisting of Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom (DIKW) developed by Ackoff (1989, also Rowley 2007). This categorization is based on a hierarchical order, in which meaning is added with each step up the pyramid. Data can be seen as raw elements, describing a specific part of reality. Information is adapted to describe the ‘what’ and ‘where’ of reality, whereas wisdom is about fundamentally understanding a phenomenon. Knowledge is about ‘how’ phenomena work (Ackoff 1989, Rowley 2007). Knowledge will be framed here as an interpretation of an order or pattern out of information. Or as Couclelis puts it prosaically with regards to GIS and knowledge: [There are] ‘two types of information-processing system: the type that is capable of converting the information it receives into knowledge and the type that is not’. (…) The first kind of information-processing system, the kind capable of converting information into knowledge, is we; the GIS is of the second kind. (Couclelis, 2003, p.165) While this focus on interpretation is useful for distinguishing knowledge from information and data, it does not reveal why knowledge has been used so differently in varying planning approaches and situations. To an important extent this diversion can be explained by the fact that the status of knowledge differs among the two most important approaches to planning: modernist approaches with a perception of knowledge rooted in positivism and post-modernist approaches with a conception of knowledge rooted in social-constructionism (Alexander, 2000; Allmendinger, 2002; Van Buuren, 2006; Rydin 2007). For modernist approaches to planning, knowledge is a reflection of (spatial) reality; Scientific analysis is seen as the most appropriate way to explain spatial phenomena and provide input for rational decision-making (Salet and Faludi, 2000). Knowledge about the content of a planning problem functions as a starting point for spatial planning. This approach is still important in practice, for instance in the field of environmental and transportation planning. It has, however, received sharp criticisms by proponents of what is often called the ‘communicative turn’ in planning (e.g. Healey 1992, Innes 1998, Sandercock 1998). The central point of critique is that knowledge is no objective entity ‘out there’, but a result of an interactive process among a range of actors. These accounts can be captured under the broad header of the post-modernist approach to planning. Related to the conception of knowledge as an outcome of social processes rather than a reflection of reality, strong emphasis is placed on planning as collaboration, consensus seeking, story telling and participation (e.g. Hajer et al. 2010, Healey 1992, 1997, 2007, Innes and Booher 1999; 2010). The critique on this approach focuses on the risk of relativism and the lack of engagement with spatial phenomena (Deal and Pallathucheril 2009, Rydin 2007). 3.2 Characteristics of knowledge in planning The ongoing debate between modernist and post-modernist perspectives of knowledge is a very interesting academic endeavor, but of little help to planning practitioners. Therefore, this paper will explicitly seek for concepts and heuristics that have a practical value for planning, assuming that both modernist and post-modernist approaches have its specific worth and that a plurality of perspectives on the role of knowledge should be allowed (Van Buuren 2006). Based on the work of
  6. 6. CESAR  Working  Document  Series  no.  5     A  Planner’s  perspective  of  PSS   Page  6     Healey (2007; 2008) and Rydin (2007), we argue that knowledge in planning has two characteristics which need to be taken into account when exploring possibilities to improve knowledge use: knowledge forms and knowledge claims. Healey  (2007,  p.245)  emphasizes  the  multiplicity  of  knowledge  in  planning:  ‘What  we  know   exists  in  many  forms,  from  systematized  accounts  and  analyses,  and  practical  manuals,  to  stories   exchanged  in  the  flow  of  life,  and  skills  exercised  in  doing  practical  work’.  She  proposes  to  limit  the   possible  forms  of  knowledge  in  planning  to  four,  based  on  the  dimensions  explicitness  and   systematization.  In  figure  2  the  four  resulting  forms  are  depicted.  The  different  forms  relate  to   varying  approaches  to  planning;  the  modernist  approaches  to  analysis,  logic  and  evidence  in  the   upper  left  corner  and  post-­‐modernist  approaches  to  local  and  embodied  knowledge  in  the  lower   right  corner.    
  7. 7. CESAR  Working  Document  Series  no.  5     A  Planner’s  perspective  of  PSS   Page  7         Figure  2:  Forms  of  knowledge  based  on  explicitness  and  systematization       Source:  Healey  (2007,  Ch.8)     This  typology  of  knowledge  forms  is  very  useful  since  it  provides  insight  into  the  praxis  of  actors   involved  in  the  planning  process.  It  has,  however,  no  specific  relation  to  spatial  planning.   Consequently,  a  second  characteristic  of  knowledge  is  introduced,  which  is  specifically  suited  for   planning.  Inspired  by  the  work  of  Rydin  (2007),  these  are  four  knowledge  claims  (the  usage  of  the   term  ‘claim’  implies  that  multiple  knowledges  can  co-­‐exist),  which  are  debated  and  discussed  in   planning:  empirical,  process,  predictive  and  normative.  Empirical    knowledge  claims  are  about  the   socio-­‐economic  and  environmental  situation  at  a  specific  moment  in  time.  Process  knowledge   claims  refer  to  the  dynamics  of  planning.  It  refers  both  to  how  societal  processes  work  and  how   they  conjunct  with  planning  interventions.  Predictive  knowledge  claims  deal,  according  to  Rydin   (2007,  p.60),  with  ‘prediction  of  scenario  under  trend  condition’,  which  in  this  regard  could  be   extended  to  all  kind  of  context-­‐scenarios.  Normative  knowledge  claims  are  about  understanding   what  the  results  will  be  of  a  future  planning  intervention.  Note,  that  this  is  not  the  same  as  a   normative  claim  (Rydin,  2007),  although  also  of  crucial  importance  of  less  importance  for  the   particular  purpose  of  this  paper.     Combining  the  characteristics  form  and  claim  results  in  a  set  of  typical  applications  of  knowledge   in  planning  (see  table  1  for  examples),  whereby  it  should  be  noted  that  in  the  messy  reality  of   actual  planning  situations,  one  would  find  combinations  of  forms  and  claims,  rather  than  neatly   defined  ideal  types.  These  characteristics  are  useful,  however,  to  understand  the  use  of  knowledge   in  planning       Table  1:  Characteristics  of  knowledge  in  spatial  planning:  examples  of  the  combination  of  knowledge  form  and   knowledge  claim  in  spatial  planning.       Claim                                                                 Form   Empirical   Process   Predictive   Normative   Explicit  and   Systematized   Scientific  report   Analysis  of  causal  chains  with   help  of  computer  software   Evolutionary  urban   models   Multi  Criteria  Analysis   Explicit  and       Experience-­‐based   Local  website  about   neighbourhood   Best  practices  and  ‘how-­‐to’  books   Context  scenarios    Visions  of  urban   designers   Implicit  and   Systematized     Environmental  indicators   Guidelines  about  stages  in   planning  process   Traditional  urban   models   Rules  of  thumb   Implicit  and     Experience  based   Residents’  feeling  of  safety   in  certain  neighbourhoods   Phronesis  of  planners   Popular  wisdom.     Intuition  of  planners    
  8. 8. CESAR  Working  Document  Series  no.  5     A  Planner’s  perspective  of  PSS   Page  8     3.3  Knowledge  use   While  some  insightful  recent  accounts  have  re-­‐addressed  the  topic  of  knowledge  use  in  planning   (Healey,  2008;  Gudmundsson,  2011),  the  debate  about  knowledge  use  dates  back  to  the  1970s  and   early  1980s.  Several  scholars  realized  that  the  traditional  instrumental  view  of  knowledge  use  did   not  entirely  capture  the  complex  ways  in  which  (scientific)  knowledge  influences  practice.  The   central  question  in  these  studies  was  not  so  much  what  knowledge  entails  –  since  various  accounts   apply  related  terms  like  ‘research’,  ‘evaluation’  and  ‘information’  (e.g.  Weiss  1977;  Van  der  Heijden,   1986)  –  but  what  it  means  to  use  knowledge.  Amara  et  al.  (2004)  empirically  show  that  three   dominant  types  of  how  knowledge  is  used  in  policy  exist:  instrumental,  symbolic  and  conceptual.     • Instrumental  use  of  knowledge  refers  to  direct  application  of  knowledge  into  planning  practice.   It  has  a  modernistic  perspective  of  the  contributing  role  of  knowledge  in  general,  and  the   endeavour  of  spatial  planning  in  particular.  Planning  rests  upon  scientific  knowledge,  which  is   considered  a  reflection  of  reality.  This  approach  is  found  in  modernist  approaches  in  which   science  precedes  practice  (‘survey  before  the  plan’)  and  in  situations  where  the  planning   problem  is  well-­‐defined  and  agreed  upon.  It  rests  on  a  belief  that  following  the  right  arguments,   procedures  and  techniques  will  result  in  an  optimal  planning  situation,  a  view  that  has  proved   very  attractive  for  developers  of  a  variety  of  quantitative  models  ranging  from  land  use  to   traffic  behavior.  This  type  of  knowledge  use  relies  strongly  on  codified  knowledge  forms,  and   has  traditionally  focused  on  empirically  understanding  the  current  situations,  predicting  the   future  and  providing  scientifically  sound  future  visions.  This  view  has  been  criticized  by  planner   scholars  specialized  in  power  analytics  (Flyvbjerg,  1998;  Flyvbjerg  and  Richardson,  2002),  for   being  naïve  and  not  acknowledging  the  power  relations  determining  rationality.     • Symbolic  knowledge  use  acknowledges  the  latter  by  describing  the  use  of  knowledge  in   instances  in  which  knowledge  is  not  used  so  much  to  gain  new  insights  or  solve  problems  but  as   a  way  to  sustain  predetermined  positions  or  interests  (Amara  et  al.  2004).  It  has  no  fixed   relation  with  specific  knowledge  form;  depending  on  the  situation  the  predetermined  position   can  either  be  sustained  by  a  local  narrative  or  a  model  output.  However,  the  most  well-­‐known   examples  are  based  on  codified  knowledge  forms  (e.g.  Gudmundsson,  2012;  Flyvbjerg  1998).   Depending  on  the  planning  context,  this  type  of  use  could  be  applied  to  any  knowledge  claim.     • The  central  premise  of  conceptual  knowledge  use  is  that  knowledge  is  used  in  indirect,   unexpected  and  implicit  ways  (Amara  et  al.,  2004;  Innes  1998).  Knowledge  is  not  used  for  direct   problem  solving,  but  for  general  enlightenment  and  understanding,  occurring  in  a  non-­‐linear   way.  It  is  hereby  crucial  to  relate  to  the  tacit  knowledge  of  actors  (Polanyi,  1966;  Te   Brömmelstroet  2010),  which  is  necessarily  implicit,  central  in  learning  processes.  Whereas  tacit   knowledge  is  uncontested  for  conceptual  knowledge  use,  it  can  be  applied  in  relation  to  several   other  forms,  depending  on  the  actor.     These  three  knowledge  uses  do  insufficiently  right  to  the  participatory  and  interactive  nature  of   spatial  planning,  which  is  characterized  by  debate,  deliberation  and  consensus  seeking  (e.g.   Forester,  1999;  Innes  and  Booher  1998)  Therefore,  the  tripartite  distinction  by  Amara  et  al.  (2004)   should  be  complemented  by  a  fourth  type:  interactive  knowledge  use.   • Interactive  knowledge  use  starts  from  the  perspective  that  knowledge  use  is  a  social  process  in   which  all  stakeholders  should  be  involved  and  different  knowledge  claims  are  tested  (Rydin   2007).  Knowledge  use  is  addressed  here  as  generating  output,  rather  than  handling  input.  Both   collaboration  and  participation  are  central  in  this  type,  which  resonates  strongly  with   Habermas’  premise  of  communicative  rationality  (Habermas  1983,  for  spatial  planning  see   Healey  1992,  Innes  1998,  Innes  and  Booher  2010).  While  interactive  knowledge  use  could  in   principle  take  place  in  all  planning  situations,  most  examples  from  the  planning  literature  focus   on  local  engagement  and  participation  (e.g.  Innes  and  Booher,  2010).     4.  PSS  and  Knowledge  
  9. 9. CESAR  Working  Document  Series  no.  5     A  Planner’s  perspective  of  PSS   Page  9     4.1  Methodological  approach   To  test  the  value  of  this  framework  in  the  field  PSS,  a  literature  review  of  recent  PSS  applications  is   conducted.  It  is  evaluated  to  what  extent  the  different  uses  and  characteristics  are  found  in  PSS   case  studies  and  how  this  can  be  evaluated.  In  doing  so,  three  recent  edited  volumes  of  PSS   applications  in  practice  were  reviewed,  edited  by  Brail  (2008),  Geertman  and  Stillwell  (2009)  and   Pettit  et  al.  (2008).  Additionally,  recent  studies  by  Alexander  et  al.  (2012),  Pfaffenbichler  (2011)  and   Timmermans  and  Arentze  (2011),  te  Brömmelstroet  (2010),  Boroushaki  and  Malczewski  (2010),   were  included.  Three  criteria  are  defined  in  selecting  the  articles:  they  have  to  be  recent  (>2008),   they  have  to  include  some  kind  of  geo-­‐information  component,  and  the  inclusion  of  actual  planners   in  the  application  of  the  tool  (i.e.  no  model  description).  The  latter  proves  a  challenge  in  most   studies,  generally  resulting  only  in  minor  roles  for  planners.  Nonetheless,  51  articles  were  included   in  the  analysis,  which  vary  hugely  in  focus,  scale  and  planning  issue.  It  was  not  possible  to  assess   whether  PSS  has  value  at  all,  since  all  case  studies  included  a  PSS.       4.2  Instrumental  knowledge  use   Instrumental  knowledge  use  was  seen  as  the  traditional  role  for  knowledge  technologies  in   planning.  Following  a  devastating  critique  by  Lee  (1973)  and  the  rise  of  communicative  and   collaborative  approaches  (Friedmann,  1987;  Forester  1989)  to  planning,  PSS  were  developed  that   are  more  modest  in  their  ambitions  and  start  from  the  perspective  that  knowledge  use  is  non-­‐linear   and  interactive.  Nontheless,  it  could  be  argued  that  in  all  but  a  few  exceptions  (e.g.  Carver  et  al.,   2009;  Kahila  and  Kyttä,  2009),  instrumental  knowledge  use  played  a  substantial  role  in  the   application  of  PSS.  While  almost  all  authors  realize  that  the  scientific  analytical  approach  to  spatial   planning  has  waned,  the  implicit  assumption  of  technology  as  a  provider  of  objectified  knowledge  is   still  dominant.    Only  a  few  case  studies,  however,  explicitly  describe    instrumental  knowledge  use.   This  situation  is  found  in  situations  with  clearly  defined  problems,  were  the  solution  is   straightforward  (e.g.  Levine,  2009;  Pelizaro  et  al.,  2009).         These  examples  are  mainly  found  in  situations  where  there  was  only  one  sector  or  aspect  of   planning  involved.  Examples  include  green  space  planning  (Pelizaro  et  al.,  2009),  traffic  safety   planning  (Levine,  2009)  and  pollution  emissions  (Van  Esch  et  al.,  2009).  This  is  related  to  the  fact   that  these  are  specialized  expert  tasks  asking  for  a  relatively  unambiguous  solution.  Most  authors   do  realize,  however,  that  their  PSS  only  describes  one  aspect  of  planning  and  the  generated   knowledge  only  provides  a  partial  explanation.     Moreover,  instrumental  knowledge  use  has  an  almost  intrinsic  relation  with  systematized   knowledge  (e.g.  Levine,  2009;  Pelizaro  et  al.,  2009).  Additionally,    the  rise  of  scale  of  the  content  of   a  planning  issue  a  PSS  has  to  cope  with  and  the  use  of  systematized  knowledge  forms  are  positively   associated  (e.g.  Alexander,  2008,  cf.  Van  Delden  and  Hagen-­‐Zanker,  2009).  More  relevant  for  the   purpose  of  these  paper  is  to  see  how  the  other  knowledge  uses  play  a  role.       4.3  Symbolic  knowledge  use    Symbolic  knowledge  use  is  hardly  mentioned  in  almost  all  of  the  PSS  case  studies.  Some  PSS   emphasized  the  function  of  PSS  to  communicate  knowledge  to  a  wider  audience  (e.g.  Gibin  et  al.,   2009).  However,  the  political  context  and  power  relations  that  determine  the  role  of  knowledge   (Flyvbjerg  1998,  for  technology  in  planning  Gudmundsson  et  al.,  2012;  Naess,  2011)  are  almost   absent.  One  of  the  explanations  could  be  because  that  the  researchers  paid  no  explicit  attention  to   this  issue,  but  it  could  also  be  explained  by  the  fact  that  most  PSS  applications  are  conducted  in   initial  phases  and  detail  about  implementation  issues,  rather  than  the  role  of  knowledge  in  a  web  of   politics  and  power  relations.  Nonetheless,  it  could  be  argued  that  every  PSS  implicitly  facilitates   symbolic  knowledge  use,  since  the  models  include  assumptions  ,  which  are  not  always  discussed  by   planners  and  sometimes  function  as  a  black  box  (Hajer,  1996).  In  a  case  study  by  Lieske  et  al.   (2009),  for  instance,  strong  emphasis  is  put  on  public  engagement.  The  specific  topics  to  be   discussed,  ‘landscape  sensitivity’  and  ‘growth  efficiency’  are  fixed,  however.  Hence,  the  PSS  
  10. 10. CESAR  Working  Document  Series  no.  5     A  Planner’s  perspective  of  PSS   Page  10     functions  to  communicate  predetermined  positions  about  criteria  which  function  as  knowledge   input  the  planning  process.  It  is  for  this  reason  that  Te  Brömmelstroet  (2010)  calls  for  ‘Mediated   Planning  Support’  instead  of  Planning  Support  Systems,  focusing  on  transparency  and  co-­‐ construction  of  the  tools  involved  in  planning.   One  study  that  is  sensitive  to  symbolic  knowledge  use  is  a  case  study  about  the  Greater   Houston  motor  vehicle  safety  PSS  by  Levine  (2009).  While  the  author  has  a  strongly  instrumental   perspective  of  knowledge  use,  he  is  also  very  much  aware  of  the  political  context  in  which  the  PSS   is  used.  Hence,  the  knowledge  and  information  provided  by  his  PSS  can  also  be  used  symbolically:   (…)  creating  a  high  visibility  advisory  body  with  specialists  from  a  variety  of  fields  (especially  from  medicine  and  law)  can   provide  credibility  and  support  for  tough  actions  that  need  to  be  taken  to  reduce  the  number  and  severity  of  motor  vehicle   crashes.  (...)In  this  effort,  creating  a  safety  planning  support  system,  such  as  the  Greater  Houston  motor  vehicle  safety  PSS,   can  be  an  important  tool  in  providing  information  that  allows  an  advisory  body  to  make  recommendations  based  on   knowledge  and  information.  (Levine,  2009,  pp.107)   Similarly,  De  Nijs  (2009)  mentions  that  the  findings  of  the  Environmental  Explorer  were  used  in  the   political  debate  by  stakeholder  groups:   The  conclusions  were  quoted  by  various  stakeholder  groups  in  the  Netherlands.  One  of  these,  the  Netherlands  Society  for   Nature  and  Environment  (SNM  2005),  published  an  article  in  its  newsletter  calling  on  the  Dutch  population  to  stop  further   urbanization.  (De  Nijs,  2009,  p.65)   These  case  studies,  however,  are  exceptions.  Much  more  attention  was  paid  to  conceptual   knowledge  use.     4.4  Conceptual  knowledge  use   The  term  conceptual  knowledge  use  is  only  explicitly  mentioned  in  the  study  by  te  Brömmelstroet   (2010),  but  seems  to  be  applicable  to  most  of  the  scrutinized  case  studies  that  handle  more   complex  and  strategic  planning  issues  (e.g.  Deal  and  Pallatucheril,  2009;  Van  der  Hoeven,  2009,   Klosterman,  2008)  Te  Brömmelstroet  (2010)  argues  that  different  knowledge  forms  need  to  be   combined:  ‘a  PSS  which  also  aims  to  generate  new  knowledge  [i.e.  learning]  has  to  be  able  to   effectively  interact  with  the  tacit  knowledge  of  the  planning  actors’  (te  Brömmelstroet,  2010,  p.47).   An  interesting  example  of  this  approach  is  given  by  a  case  study  by  Pettit  and  Wu  (2008),  who  apply   several  visualization  and  simulation  (‘virtual  worlds’)  tools  to  let  users  learn  about  natural   phenomena  like  biodiversity,  climate  and  soil  health.       The  PSS  which  focused  on  gaining  a  better  insight  into  local  knowledge  and  fostering   participation  (e.g.  Carver  et  al.  2009,  Kahila  and  Kyttäa,  2009)  are  still  in  its  pioneering  phase.   Including  local  knowledge  in  planning  is  still  very  much  a  learning  process  (e.g.  conceptual   knowledge  use),  both  in  terms  of  methodologies  and  content.  The  two  quotes  below  aptly  describe   the  focus  on  understanding  and  learning  of  participatory  PSS:     (…)  planners  have  to  acquire  not  only  new  skills  and  professional  roles  (Forester  1989;  Puustinen  2006),  but  also  develop  more   usable  and  effective  participation  methods,  as  well  as  a  deeper  understanding  of  the  knowledge  hidden  in  the  experiences  of   the  inhabitants.  (…)  SoftGIS  aims  to  support  urban  planning  by  gathering  experiential  knowledge  systematically  and  allowing   the  urban  planners  to  take  part  in  the  development  of  softGISapplications.  (…)  we  are  keen  to  study  how  the  knowledge  of   every  day  life  can  be  assimilated  in  planning  practices  and  decision  making.  (Kahila  and  Kyttä,  2009,  p.389,  398  and  409)     (…)  a  new  planning  support  system  aimed  at  collecting  spatial  and  contextual  information  about  public  perceptions  of   landscapes  with  an  emphasis  on  developing  better  understandings  of  place-­‐based  values  and  associated  meanings.  (Carver  et   al.,  2009,  p.444).   Interestingly,  these  participatory  PSS  focus  on  gathering  and  including  local  knowledge,  rather  than   facilitating  debate  and  interaction.  Van  der  Hoeven  et  al.    (2009)  show  in  a  context  with  only  expert   planners  (the  Land  use  Scanner  in  the  Netherlands),  that  there  is  a  thin  line  between  learning  and   interaction:   The  system  is  developed  to  support  the  discussion  on  the  long-­‐term  adaptability  of  the  Netherlands  to  flood  risk.  It  aims  to   facilitate  the  learning  of  the  user  on  the  subject,  instead  of  giving  unambiguous  answers  on  what  management  strategy  is   preferable.  This  is  a  significant  difference  with  the  more  traditional  decision  support  systems.  (Van  der  Hoeven  et  al.,  2009,   p.162,  emphasis  in  original)  
  11. 11. CESAR  Working  Document  Series  no.  5     A  Planner’s  perspective  of  PSS   Page  11     Hereby  it  is  important  to  note  that  this  discussion  only  involves  a  limited  number  of  stakeholders,   an  observation  that  was  found  throughout  the  cases.       4.5 Interactive  knowledge  use   As  in  the  case  study  by  Van  der  Hoeven  et  al.  (2009),  in  several  other  PSS  applications  (e.g.  Deal  and   Pallatucheril,  2009;  Hahn  et  al.,  2009;  Pettit  and  Wyatt,  2009)  the  findings  and  assumptions  of  the   PSS  were  discussed  by  a  group  of  expert  stakeholders.  While  this  process  leads  to  learning  and   enlightenment  among  stakeholders,  it  also  is  a  way  to  create  new  knowledge  as  an  outcome  of   interactive  knowledge  use.  In  most  case  studies,  knowledge  is  perceived  as  a  fixed  entity,  which  a   PSS  helps  to  expand,  a  notion  which  strongly  relates  to  a  modernist  conception  of  knowledge.  In   some  approaches,  however,  participation  and  interaction  were  combined  to  come  to  a  shared   knowledge  base:     In  our  experimentation,  participation  is  used  to  constitute  a  knowledge  base  that  supports  decision  making  and  consensus   building.  The  process  results  in  better  knowledge  for  all  participants  and  in  a  strong  consensus  about  the  diagnosis  of  the   actual  situation  and  about  the  strategic  objectives  for  the  local  development.  (Soutter  and  Repeti,    2009,  p.386)   This  case  study  is  an  exception  in  the  sense  that  it  combines  participation  with  coping  with   knowledge  claims.  In  other  PSS  applications  focusing  on  participation  (also  PGIS,  see  Dunn,  2007;   McCall  and  Dunn,  2012)  the  focus  is  either  on  gathering  local  knowledge  or  including  values  and   normative  claims  to  reach  consensus.  The  former  is  already  discussed  in  the  previous  paragraph   about  conceptual  knowledge  use,  whereas  the  integration  of  (local)  values  with  expert  knowledge   was  found  in  several  PSS  (e.g.  Alexander  et  al.,  2012;  Boroushaki  and  Malczwewski,  2010;  Lieske  et   al.,  2009).  Boroushaki  and  Malczwewski  (2010)  aim  for  a  tool  that:     (…)  provides  a  mechanism  for  expressing  the  preferences  and  objectives  of  the  participants  and  for  generating  a   compromise  solution  that  takes  into  account  the  individual  participants’  evaluations.  It  offers  users  a  structured  environment   for  investigating  the  sources  of  conflicts,  and  the  intensity  of  such  conflicts,  among  different  participants  (Boroushaki  and   Malczwewski,  2010,  p.  323)   In  a  similar  vein,  Lieske  et  al.  (2009,  p.295)  state:  (…)  a  planning  support  system  (PSS)  is  used  to   integrate  public  values  in  the  development  of  a  concept  plan  which  becomes  the  basis  of  the   comprehensive  plan’.       The  only  instance  in  which  different  forms  of  knowledge  were  explicitly  confronted  is  a  case   study  by  Van  Delden  and  Hagen-­‐Zanker  (2009),  who  combine  qualitative  storylines  with   quantitative  modelling.  The  study  only  includes  expert  stakeholders,  making  it  more  of  a  learning   exercise  than  a  confrontation  of  knowledge  claims  which  vary  in  form.  The  study  is,  however,   innovative  in  the  sense  that  it  combines  different  forms  of  knowledge.       4.6 Knowledge  characteristics   Unlike  the  study  of  Van  Delden  and  Hagen-­‐Zanker  (2009),  most  PSS  studies  focus  on  one   characteristic  of  knowledge,  either  by  providing  input  in  the  planning  process  through  systematized   and  explicit  knowledge  forms  (e.g.  Clarke,  2008;  Van  Esch  et  al.,  2009;  Pelizaro  et  al.,  2009)  or   capturing  local  knowledge  forms  through  a  PSS  (e.g.  Carver  et  al.,  2009;  Kahila  and  Kyttä,  2009).  All   four  knowledge  claims  were  found  in  the  case  studies,  whereby  most  PSS  handle  more  than  one   type  of  claim.  An  overview  is  given  in  Table  2.  Whereby  it  should  be  noted  that  Healey’s  (2007)   distinction  in  explicit  and  implicit  practical  engagement  is  hard  to  find  in  PSS  applications,  since   techniques  do  not  function  as  a  somewhat  opaque  exogenous  force,  but  are  the  central  topic  of   inquiry.  Moreover,  for  widely  applied  tools  like  CommunityViz,  the  knowledge  characteristics  can   vary  across  its  applications  (for  CommunityViz  see  e.g.  Alexander,  2012;  Janes  and  Kwartler,  2008).   The  characteristic  ‘implicit  and  experience-­‐based’  is  completely  absent,  since  this  is  the  tacit   knowledge  held  by  planning  actors,  rather  than  the  knowledge  handled  by  a  PSS.       Table  2:  Characteristics  of  knowledge  and  examples  of  PSS                                Claim                                                                Empirical   Process   Predictive   Normative  
  12. 12. CESAR  Working  Document  Series  no.  5     A  Planner’s  perspective  of  PSS   Page  12     Form   Explicit  and   Systematized   Greater  Houston   motor  vehicle  safety   PSS  (Levine,  2009)   LEAM  (Deal  and   Pallathuceril  2008,  2009)   SLEUTH  (Clarke,  2008)   GRAS  (Pelizaro  et  al.,   2009)   Explicit  and   Experience-­‐based   SoftGIS  (Kahila  and   Kyttä,  2009)   Combination  of  tools     (Miller  et  al.,  2009)   METRONOMICA  (Van  Delden   and  Hagen-­‐Zanker,  2009)   n/a   Implicit  and   Systematized   n/a   n/a   Land  Use  Scanner  (Van  der   Hoeven  et  al.,  2009)   CommunityViz   (Alexander  et  al.,  2012)   Implicit  and   Experience-­‐based   n/a   n/a   n/a   n/a     Empirical  knowledge  claims  function  in  two  important  ways.  Firstly,  most  participatory  PSS  (e.g.   Carver  et  al.,  2009;  Kahila  and  Kyttä,  2009)  describe  empirical  knowledge  claims,  aiming  to  better   understand  the  local  perspective  of  the  current  situation.  In  PSS  focusing  on  regional  or  national   land  use  empirical  knowledge  claims  are  a  starting  point  for  follow-­‐up  analyses,  which  focus  on   knowledge  claims  with  a  future  orientation.  Providing  predictive  knowledge  claims  is  traditionally  a   core  function  of  for  models  in  urban  planning.  These  claims  are  hardly  instrumentally  used,   however,  but  function  more  as  a  learning  process  or  a  starting  point  for  discussion.  There  are   different  ways  PSS  deal  with  predictive  knowledge  claims.  SLEUTH  (Clarke,  2008)  provides   predictions  based  on  past  evolutionary  processes,  whereas  scenarios  are  used  by  PSS  like  the  Land   Use  Scanner  (Van  der  Hoeven  et  al.,  2009)  LEAM  (Deal  and  Pallutuhceril  2008;  2009)  and   Metronomica  (Van  Delden  and  Hagen-­‐Zanker,  2009).  A  common  approach  in  planning  practice  is  to   discuss  the  input  and  output  from  modelling  exercises  aiming  at  prediction.  Richard  Klosterman  is   explicit,  his  PSS  What  If?™    is  ‘(…)  not  attempting  to  predict  precisely  an  unknowable  future.   Instead,  it  is  an  explicitly  policy-­‐oriented  model  that  suggest  what  might  happen  in  the  future  if   clearly  specified  public  policies  are  adopted  and  assumptions  about  the  future  are  correct’   (Klosterman,  2008,  p.90  –  emphasis  in  original).       As  the  latter  quote  reveals,  the  distinction  between  predictive  and  normative  knowledge   claims  in  PSS  applications  is  not  always  clear  (see  for  instance  the  different  ways  in  which  the  term   ‘scenario’  is  used).  Nonetheless,  based  on  this  literature  review,  it  could  be  argued  that  the  core   function  of  contemporary  PSS  is  to  facilitate  and  generate  normative  knowledge  claims.  A  PSS  helps   to  understand  the  implications  of  interventions  in  the  regulatory  or  spatial  domain.  A  range  of  PSS   include  impact  analysis  with  regards  to  for  instance  land  values  and  travel  times  (Waddell  et  al.,   2008)  and  air  pollution  (Allen,  2008).  This  function  is  sometimes  accompanied  be  a  normative   judgement  (i.e.  weighing  of  the  impacts).  In  this  regard,  Pelizaro  et  al.  (2009)  argue  that  their  GRAS   PSS  provides  an  optimal  way  to  evaluate  the  design  of  green  space,  based  on  costs  and  perceived   appreciation  by  stakeholders.  However,  when  the  planning  issue  becomes  more  complex  and   holistic,  it  becomes  very  difficult  to  include  strict  judgement  in  a  PSS.     5.  Potentials  of  PSS  to  support  knowledge  use   5.1  Planning  Contingencies   The  uses  and  characteristics  of  knowledge  handled  by  a  PSS  are  dependent  on  a  set  of  contingent   factors  (Geertman,  2006).  The  importance  of  instrumental  characteristics  has  been  extensively   outlined  elsewhere  (Vonk,  2006;  te  Brömmelstroet,  2010)  and  will  not  be  repeated  here.  Instead   the  focus  will  be  on  four  factors:  the  planning  actors,  the  planning  process,  the  content  of  the   planning  issue,  and  the  institutional  context.       The  importance  of  the  role  of  actors  is  gaining  more  attention  in  the  PSS  literature.  Hahn  et   al.  (2009)  stress  the  importance  of  a  ‘DSS  architect’;  a  linking  pin  between  the  more  technical   oriented  model  builders  and  the  more  content  oriented  policy  makers.  Actor  characteristics  which  
  13. 13. CESAR  Working  Document  Series  no.  5     A  Planner’s  perspective  of  PSS   Page  13     pop  up  during  later  phases  of  the  PSS  application,  such  as  the  differences  between  spatial  planners   and  transport  planners  (te  Brömmelstroet,  2010),  and  the  varying  frames  about  maps  of  process   oriented  policy  makers,  urban  designers  and  scientific-­‐analytic  oriented  planners  (Carton,  2007)   only  receive  limited  attention  ;  for  instance  reflected  by  the  lack  of  attention  to  symbolic   knowledge  use.  While  it  is  well-­‐known  that  the  use  and  characteristics  of  knowledge  gathered   through  participation,  requires  a  different  treatment  than  expert  knowledge  (see  the  developments   in  Participatory  GIS  en  Participatory  PSS),  the  differentiation  among  actors  involved  in  the   professional  circle  of  policy  makers  (landscape  architects,  transport  planners  etc.)  is  only  in  a  few   PSS  applications  explicitly  taken  into  account.         To  a  certain  extent  this  is  related  to  the  focus  on  developmental  and  early  stages  of  the   planning  process  in  most  case  studies.  The  political  dimension  becomes  more  visible  when  the   planning  process  gets  closer  to  the  decision  stage  (cf.  Teisman,  1998).  Conversely,  PSS  studies   provide  only  limited  insight  into  the  influence  knowledge  has  had  (Gudmundsson,  2011).  However,   since  many  PSS  have  matured  (e.g.  WhatIf?™,  UrbanSim  and  CommunityViz)  it  is  likely  that  this   aspect  will  get  more  attention  in  the  future.       Much  more  attention  is  paid  to  the  complexity  of  spatial  phenomena  a  PSS  has  to  cope  with   (e.g.  Batty,  2007),  part  of  the  factor  content  of  the  planning  issue.  A  range  of  methods,  such  as   activity-­‐based  modelling  (Timmermans  and  Arentze,  2011),  cellular  automata  (de  Nijs,  2009)  and   evolutionary  modelling  (Clarke,  2008)  have  been  developed  to  capture  the  complexity  of  cities  and   regions.  Hereby  it  is  more  and  more  acknowledged  that  the  future  is  inherently  uncertain,  a  PSS   functions  to  help  to  understand  spatial  phenomena  and  the  implications  (i.e.  conceptual  knowledge   use),  rather  than  providing  a  ‘royal  road  to  truth’  (Sayer  2000,  p.17).  The  most  problematic  for  PSS   is  the  final  challenge  of  ‘wicked  planning  issues’,  ambiguity  (Renn  and  Klinke,  2002).This  challenges   presumes  the  presence  of  co-­‐existing  and  conflicting  knowledge  claims,  often  taking  different   forms.  In  some  instances  the  form  of  knowledge  is  a  result  of  the  scale  of  analysis.  While  most   planning  issues  are  inherently  multi-­‐scale  in  nature,  there  is  a  lacuna  in  PSS  studies  which   specifically  address  this  topic  (for  a  notable  exception  see  Miller  et  al.,  2009).     From  a  governance  perspective,  the  relevant  levels  of  scale  differ  across  the  countries  in   which  a  PSS  is  applied,  the  institutional  context.  In  Geertman  and  Stillwell  (2009)  for  instance,  it   seems  that  PSS  in  the  US  (e.g.  Deal  and  Pallathucheril,  2009,  Levine  2009)  operate  in  a  relatively   empty  institutional  space,  whereas  in  the  cases  from  the  Netherlands,  the  multiplicity  of   governmental  layers  involved  in  spatial  planning  becomes  apparent  (e.g.  De  Nijs,  2009;  Van  der   Hoeven  et  al.,  2009).  These  differences,  however,  are  not  made  very  explicit,  which  makes   comparison  difficult.  The  latter  would  be  very  fruitful,  since  more  and  more  a  PSS  like   CommunityViz  is  applied  widely  across  the  world.  Carefully  tailoring  its  application  to  the  use  and   characteristics  of  knowledge  in  a  particular  country  or  region  would  likely  result  in  a  more   successful  role  for  PSS.  This  brings  us  to  the  potentials  for  PSS  to  improve  knowledge  use.       5.2  Potentials:  contributions  to  planning  tasks   Having  analyzed  a  whole  range  of  different  PSS,  it  is  time  to  turn  to  the  central  question  of  this   paper:  What  are  the  potentials  of  PSS  to  support  the  use  of  knowledge  in  planning?  Obviously,   there  is  no  clear  cut  answer  to  these  question.  Nonetheless,  a  set  of  potentials  could  be  distilled   related  to  the  type  of  knowledge  use,  the  knowledge  characteristics  and  the  planning  context.   These  potentials  will,  in  line  with  Geertman’s  (2008)  definition  of  PSS,  be  framed  as  contributions  to   planning  tasks.       A  first  important  underutilized  potential  is  to  pay  more  attention  to  the  background  of  the   planning  actors  involved.  The  task  a  PSS  supports  is  dependent  on  the  background  and  institutional   reference  of  the  actors  involved.  For  a  planner  with  a  strong  research  oriented  function,   instrumental  knowledge  use  might  be  the  dominant  function  of  a  PSS,  whereas  for  policy  makers   closely  aligned  to  the  political  process,  symbolic  knowledge  use  plays  a  much  more  dominant  role.   Or  as  Timms  (2008,  p.410)  puts  it  with  regard  to  transport  models:  ‘(…)  moves  should  be  made  to  
  14. 14. CESAR  Working  Document  Series  no.  5     A  Planner’s  perspective  of  PSS   Page  14     adopt  a  communicative  approach  to  transport  modelling  which  views  models  as  being  tools  in   communicative  planning  processes’.  An  actor-­‐oriented  perspective  has  implications  for  both  the   process  (how  is  the  PSS  embedded  in  planning)  and  the  instrumental  characteristics  (what   knowledge  use  is  the  PSS  supporting).  While  some  recent  studies  (Carton,  2007;  te  Brömmelstroet,   2010)  have  provided  preliminary  answers,  more  research  into  the  relation  between  actors  and   knowledge  in  the  context  of  PSS  is  needed.     Secondly,  the  notion  of  planning  as  learning  (May,  1992)  is  a  fruitful  endeavour  for  PSS   application.  In  several  case  studies,  conceptual  knowledge  use  was  –implicitly  or  explicitly-­‐   mentioned  as  a  core  aim  of  PSS.  This  purpose  could  be  made  more  explicit,  by  carefully  relating  to   experiential  knowledge  (e.g.  tacit  knowledge)  and  stimulate  a  continuous  learning  process   facilitated  by  a  PSS.  Participation  of  local  actors  is  an  important  component  of  this  learning  process,   since  local  knowledge  is  complementary  to  expert  knowledge.  However,  in  some  instances  conflict   could  also  arise.     Hence,  as  a  third  potential  PSS  could  handle  this  conflict  by  facilitating  the  ‘testing  of   knowledge  claims’  (Rydin,  2007).  While  it  is  not  always  easy  to  distil  mere  opinions  from   knowledge,  a  PSS  is  a  means  to  get  a  debate  based  on  arguments.  It  should  be  noted  that  it  is   hereby  important  to  be  very  careful  to  integrate  experiential  knowledge  forms.  Systematized   knowledge  forms  are  the  natural  liaison  of  a  knowledge  technology  like  PSS  and  could  easily  be   privileged  resulting  in  a  strongly  modernist  bias.  Moreover,  as  several  case  studies  revealed,  PSS  are   not  only  a  platform  for  knowledge  claims,  but  also  for  other  claims  like  attitudes,  values  and   interests.  Hence,  PSS  could  support  not  only  negotiation,  but  also  contribute  to  create  a  narrative   about  a  region;  planning  as  storytelling.  Or  as  Hajer  et  al.  (2010,  p.22-­‐23)  put  it:  ‘Good  regional   planning  is  like  a  tribunal,  at  which  all  claims  –  knowledge,  position,  interests  –  are  confronted  with   each  other  with  aim  of  arriving  at  a  final  verdict,  a  cohesive  story’.     Couclelis  (2005)  also  pointed  at  the  potential  of  PSS  to  support  storytelling  in  planning.  In   recent  PSS  applications  this  task  was  overlooked,  whereas  the  visual  potential  (3D  visualization,   simulation)  is  overwhelming  and  could  bridge  barriers  between  systematized  knowledge  forms   (‘numbers’)  and  experience-­‐based  knowledge  forms  (‘stories’).  This  is  crucial,  since  knowledge  does   not  ‘add  up’  (Innes,  1998;  Rydin,  2007),  but  is  an  outcome  of  co-­‐constructivism.       6. Conclusions  and  Reflections   This  paper  has  attempted  to  provide  a  new  perspective  on  the  role  of  Planning  Support  Systems  in   spatial  planning.  In  doing  so  it  has  bridged  insights  from  the  PSS  literature  and  knowledge,  and   subsequently  applied  this  conceptual  lens  to  a  set  of  recent  PSS  case  studies.  A  starting  point  was   that  the  answer  to  an  improvement  of  knowledge  use  through  PSS  should  be  found  in  a   combination  of  modernist  and  post-­‐modernist  approaches  to  planning.  This  endeavour  has  resulted   in  a  set  of  potentials  to  improve  knowledge  use  through  PSS.  When  interpreting  these  findings  a   couple  of  caveats  should  be  kept  in  mind.     This  paper  was  based  on  a  secondary  literature  review,  not  on  a  collection  of  primary  data.   The  latter  would  probably  have  resulted  in  an  even  more  precise  understanding  of  the  dynamics  of   knowledge.  As  was  pointed  out  before,  PSS  researchers  are  in  their  description  not  always  aware  of   the  nuances  of  knowledge  and  planning  that  are  considered  in  this  paper.  Nonetheless,  some   obvious  patterns  emerged  from  the  literature  review.  Instrumental  knowledge  use  still  permeates   many  PSS  applications,  whereas  conceptual  knowledge  use  is  starting  to  get  more  and  more   attention  and  is  likely  to  be  more  firmly  on  the  agenda  in  future  PSS  research,  such  as  in  the  study   by  te  Brömmelstroet  (2010).  Symbolic  knowledge  use  is  surprisingly  absent  in  the  case,  in  contrast   with  critical  studies  about  knowledge  and  technology  (Flyvbjerg,  1998;  Gudmundsson  et  al.,  2012;   Naess  2011).  Further  research  should  make  clear  whether  this  absence  is  an  inherent  characteristic   of  PSS,  or  related  to  the  instrumental  focus  and  interest  (most  authors  describe  their  ‘own’  PSS)  of   the  researchers.  Interactive  knowledge  use  is  a  challenge  for  PSS,  because  it  faces  the  ambiguities   involved  in  handling  different  forms  of  knowledge.  Nonetheless,  some  interesting  examples  were  
  15. 15. CESAR  Working  Document  Series  no.  5     A  Planner’s  perspective  of  PSS   Page  15     found  of  interactive  knowledge  use  within  a  professional  circle.  It  would  be  very  interesting  to   extend  these  approaches  to  participatory  GIS  and  participatory  PSS.  An  interesting  link  could  also   be  made  with  the  emerging  paradigm  of  ‘storytelling’  in  spatial  planning  (Couclelis,  2005;  Hajer  et   al.,  2010).       This  paper  has  deliberately  set  aside  the  normative  question  of  what  constitutes  ‘good’   knowledge  use.  From  a  post-­‐modernist  perspective  the  answer  would  always  be  time  and  space   dependent.  A  participatory  process  in  which  all  actors  are  heard  is  a  key  component  of  good   knowledge  use.  From  a  modernist  perspective,  the  object  of  knowledge  plays  a  central  role.  Put   bluntly:  including  more  (instrumental)  use  of  scientific  knowledge  is  better.  The  latter  position  is   arguably  also  the  reason  PSS  evolved  in  the  1990s.  All  of  the  four  knowledge  uses  (instrumental,   symbolic,  conceptual,  interactive)  have  their  advantages  and  disadvantages  in  spatial  planning.   Future  research  should  provide  empirical  insights  about  instances  of  what  types  of  knowledge  use   have  benefits  in  what  situations.  Only  then  could  PSS  become  widespread  phenomena  in  practice,   rather  than  a  rather  marginal  and  diffuse  academic  paradigm.     Acknowledgements   The  author  wishes  to  thank  Dr.  Stan  Geertman  and  Professor  Rob  van  der  Heijden  for  their  invaluable  comments.  The   research  has  been  carried  out  in  the  Sustainable  Accessibility  of  the  Randstad  program  of  the  Dutch  Science  Board   (NWO).     References   ACKOFF,  R.  (1989)  ‘From  Data  to  Wisdom.’  Journal  of  Applied  Systems  Analysis,  16  (1),  p.3-­‐9.   ALEXANDER,  K.,  R.  JANSSEN,  G.  ARCINIEGAS,  T. 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