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Cesar working document 10 workshop us cartesiusdriehoek pelzer klerkx kolthof


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Cesar working document 10 workshop us cartesiusdriehoek pelzer klerkx kolthof

  1. 1. CESAR WORKING DOCUMENT SERIES Working document no.10 Workshop Urban Strategy Cartesiusdriehoek Quantitative and Qualitative findings from a workshop on March 11, 2014 Peter Pelzer, Ralph Klerkx, Basten Kolthof 13 May 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:
  2. 2. CESAR Working Document Series no. 10 Urban Strategy Workshop Cartesiusdriehoek 1. Introduction This working document reports on a workshop conducted with the Planning Support System (PSS) Urban Strategy on March 11 2014 in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The workshop was organized by the TNO, the Municipality of Utrecht and Utrecht University. It focused on the redevelopment of the Cartesiusdriehoek, a redevelopment area close to the center of Utrecht. The following pages will first describe the tool, the case and workshop. Next it will elaborate on the results of three research methods applied to study the workshop (evaluation, survey, observation). This will be done to answer the research question: How do practitioners perceive working with Urban Strategy in a workshop setting and what lessons can be learned for the future? 2. The PSS: Urban Strategy1 The Dutch research firm TNO started around 2005 with the development of the PSS Urban Strategy, aiming to overcome the existing flexibility bottlenecks and communication bottlenecks. Urban Strategy aims to improve complex spatial planning processes on the urban- and regional level. To do this, different computer models are linked to a central database and interface to provide insights in a wide area of urban indicators and maps. The effects of interventions in infrastructure, land use, build objects and their functions can be calculated and visualized. Because the PSS is able to calculate fast and present the results in 1D, 2D and 3D visualisation this can be used in interactive sessions with planning actors. Starting point for Urban Strategy is the use of existing state-of-the-art and legally accepted models in the Netherlands. To link these existing models a number of new elements were developed: - a database with an uniform datamodel; - interfaces that show a 3D image of the modeled situation, indicators and that offer functionality to add interventions; - a framework that structures the communication between the models and the interfaces. The goal of Urban Strategy is to enable planning actors in workshop sessions to communicate their ideas and strategies to the PSS and to learn from the effects that are shown. This interactivity calls for fast calculations of all the model and fast communication between all elements. For this, the models were enabled to respond on events (urban interventions from the participants in the workshops). A new software architecture was developed to have all these elements communicate 1 This section is adapted from: Te Brömmelstroet (2013)
  3. 3. CESAR Working Document Series no. 10 Urban Strategy Workshop Cartesiusdriehoek Page 3 (figure 2).Because of this increased speed and the wide variety of models that are linked together, the PSS aims to be highly flexible in offering answers to a large number of questions that a group of urban planning actors can have. Figure 1 Schematic overview of communication architecture of Urban Strategy. The 3D interface generates, based on objects in the database, a 3D digital marquette of the urban environment. To this, different information layers can be added, such as air quality contours, noise contours and groundwater levels. Also, the objects can be colored according to their characteristics (function, energy use, CO2 emissions, number of inhabitants, etc). The 2D interface can be used by the end user (or chauffeur) to add changes to the database. Objects can be added or removed, their location can be changed and the characteristics of the object can be changed. The 1D interface shows indicators that are calculated by all the models that are included. Examples are the percentage of noise hindrance, group risk in an area or the contribution of types of objects to CO2 emission. Figure 2 The three interfaces of Urban Strategy
  4. 4. CESAR Working Document Series no. 10 Urban Strategy Workshop Cartesiusdriehoek Page 4 3. Case description: Cartesiusdriehoek The plan area of the Cartesiusdriehoek is bordered by two railway tracks, giving it a triangle-like shape (see Figure 1). Traditionally, the area had a primarily industrial function, with some residential zoning. The last years it has become an explicit aim of the Municipality of Utrecht to make the area more diverse in terms of functions. The main arterial in the area is the Cartesiusweg, which cuts the area in two. East of the Cartesiusweg is the actual ‘Cartesiusdriehoek’. This is a so called ‘transformation’ area, where the Municipality of Utrecht aims to encourage different functions, such as housing, amenities and commercial functions. The area west of the Cartesiusweg (‘Werkspoorkwartier’) contains industry and is bordered by a large industrial area (Lage Weide). Therefore, no dwellings are planned in this area, the main aim is to attract small commercial firms. Figure 3: the plan area of the Cartesiusdriehoek Three main challenges and related interventions were discussed during the workshop: 1.) The Muncipality of Utrecht is planning to reduce to capacity of the Cartesiusweg significantly, because of livability reasons (also beyond the scope of the plan area). Currently the Cartesiusweg is 2 by 2 lanes, but in the future it will be 2 by 1 lane. In the session it was discussed and analyzed what this change would mean for the plan area of the Cartesiusdriehoek in terms of traffic flows and environmental impact. 2.) The aim of the Municipality of Utrecht is to significantly increase the density in the Cartesiusdriehoek (particularly east of the Cartesiusweg), in the workshop the aim was on CARTESIUSDRIEHOEK
  5. 5. CESAR Working Document Series no. 10 Urban Strategy Workshop Cartesiusdriehoek Page 5 the one hand to get more insight into what impact this would have for the area in terms of traffic flows and related environmental impact (noise, air quality). On the other hand, the stakeholders were also interested in the possibilities and the constraints of the plan area. Because the Cartesiusdriehoek is adjacent to a rail track, building too close to it is legally not allowed because of environmental reasons (noise, safety). 3.) Explore a range of mitigating measures for the area, such as the construction of walls against noise pollution. 4. The workshop The workshop was conducted on March 11, 2014 at TNO in Utrecht. It lasted for three hours, and after the workshop a group evaluation was conducted. In addition, the workshop had the following characteristics:  The session took place in TNO’s workshop room (see Figure 4) in including a large table, several screens and a touch table. For a brainstorm in two groups a separate room was available. Figure 4 Overview and pictures of the workshop setting
  6. 6. CESAR Working Document Series no. 10 Urban Strategy Workshop Cartesiusdriehoek Page 6  Besides Urban Strategy, several other support tools were available: large paper maps, a whiteboard, a touch table, and internet connected computers with large screens to access Google Streetview and the website of the Municipality of Utrecht, which also has an extensive information base. The support tools had a twofold function, gather knowledge of the involved stakeholders (whiteboard, paper maps) and provide information to the stakeholders (Urban Strategy, web browsers).  The involved stakeholders (n=9) were all part of the area team for the Cartesiusdriehoek of the Municipality of Utrecht. Central roles were fulfilled by the ‘area manager’ (leading the meetings) and the ‘area secretary’ (facilitating internal and external communication). In addition, the area team included several disciplinary specialists, including: an environmental analyst, a transport planner, a housing specialist and an urban designer.  The agenda of the session consisted of two main stages. The first 45 minutes were used to explore to challenges and opportunities in two groups. This resulted in a list of problems and solutions which were written down on a whiteboard. Next a selection was made of the topics that could be further analyzed with help of Urban Strategy. The remainder of the workshop focused on iteratively analyzing the problems that were raised in the brainstorm. During this process some new issues evolved, which were then analyzed. 5. Research Methods The following methods were applied to study the workshop: a survey, observations and a group evaluation.
  7. 7. CESAR Working Document Series no. 10 Urban Strategy Workshop Cartesiusdriehoek Page 7  The survey focused on four dimensions: background characteristics of the participants, the focus of the workshop, the usability of the PSS, and the added value of the workshop. It mainly consisted of Likert items and scales on a 1 to 7 scale (1= strongly disagree, 7 strongly agree). However, stakeholders were also asked to identify one main added value from a list of seven. A recent paper by Pelzer et al. (forthcoming) provided important input in structuring the questions of the survey. The survey started with some open background questions and ended with open questions about the session.  The workshop was observed in two ways. First, two external researchers observed the whole session and made notes. Second, the whole workshop was recorded with cameras and audio devices. All that was said during the session has been described verbatim.  After the session, an evaluation was conducted with all the participants, in which they reflected on the workshop and Urban Strategy. In order to let the participants speak frankly, the chauffeur and moderator were absent during this session. In addition, a feedback interview was conducted with the contact person at the Municipality of Utrecht. 6. Findings Since it was an interdisciplinary team, the background of the users varied significantly. As a consequence the experience of the workshop also differs among the stakeholders. This is for instance exemplified by relatively high standard deviations for almost all statements and scales. Moreover, during the evaluation it was mentioned that Urban Strategy facilitated some disciplines better than others (in particular: transport planning, environmental analysis), hereby some participants acknowledged that they find it insightful to learn more about the discipline of their colleagues. Many of the stakeholders had a focus on financial and economic aspects, something that is only limitedly, through costs, covered by Urban Strategy. In Table 1 and Figure 5 usability scores are depicted. All but one dimension score above the neutral score of 4 (neither agree nor disagree). In addition, other things can be noted from this table. Flexibility has the highest score and a relatively low standard deviation, implying that most of the stakeholders agreed on this topic. Interactivity and calculation time, which relate to this dimension also have relatively positive scores, implying this was not considered a problem. Transparency and level of detail both have a relatively high standard deviation of around two, implying that the attitudes are mixed. This implies that there does not seem a uniform way of presenting data and model outputs. Finally, the score for user friendliness is remarkably low (3.00). In the background
  8. 8. CESAR Working Document Series no. 10 Urban Strategy Workshop Cartesiusdriehoek Page 8 interview, it was indicated that this could be related to the fact that Urban Strategy can only by used through the assistance of a chauffeur. Table 1 and Figure 5: Scores of Urban Strategy on a range of usability issues (n=9) Dimension Score (1-7) SD Flexibility 5.67 0.5 Interactivity 5.22 1.3 Calculation time 5.22 1.79 Communicative Value 4.89 1.05 Integrality 4.78 1.48 Reliability 4.78 1.39 Transparency 4.56 1.94 Level of detail 4.33 2.06 Data quality 4.11 1.27 User friendliness 3.00 1.41 The added value2 was measured in two ways. First, it was asked what participants considered the main added value of Urban Strategy (Figure 6). As the figure shows, more than half of the respondents indicated that the added value of Urban Strategy is related to the planning object and the outcome (Learning about the object and Better informed outcome). This underlines the emphasis of Urban Strategy as being an integral or comprehensive tool. 2 Note that technically it is not correct to speak of ‘added’ value, because there was no control group. We use this term to be consistent with the debate.
  9. 9. CESAR Working Document Series no. 10 Urban Strategy Workshop Cartesiusdriehoek Page 9 Figure 6: Main added value of Urban Strategy as identified by the participants (n=9) Second, Likert statements were used to evaluate the added value of the whole workshop (Table 2 and Figure 7). Again, standard deviations are high, so some caution is required when interpreting the patterns. All dimensions again score positively and the spread among the dimensions is limited3 . It is interesting to note that in some instances the impression of the support staff differs significantly from the scores of the participants. For instance, the observant had expected a much higher score for efficiency whereas the chauffeur and the moderator had expected lower scores for communication. This underlines that to grasp the demands of users it is critical to be in a continuous dialogue with the participants. Table 2 and Figure 7: Scores of the participants and expectations of the support staff for different dimensions of added value. Dimension Participants (n=9) SD Cronbach's Alpha* Observant Δ ** Chauffeur Δ Moderator Δ 33. Collaboration 5.15 1.23 0.85 4.3333 0.81 4.00 1.15 5 0.15 32. Communication 4.93 1.35 0.78 5.00 -0.07 3.60 1.33 4 0.93 30. Learning about others 4.54 1.18 0.73 3.6667 0.87 4.00 0.54 5 -0.46 35. Efficiency 4.30 1.12 0.73 5.6667 -1.37 4.33 -0.03 5 -0.70 34. Consensus 4.29 1.53 0.82 4.00 0.29 4.67 -0.38 5 -0.71 * The dimensions 'Learning about the object' and 'More informed outcome' are left out, because Cronbach's Alpha was lower than 0.5. ** Negative is overestimation, positive underestimation. 3 Unfortunately, likely because of the low n, Cronbach’s Alpha of Learning about the planning object and Better informed outcome was too low to include in the analysis. Therefore, figure 6 and figure 7 are hard to compare.
  10. 10. CESAR Working Document Series no. 10 Urban Strategy Workshop Cartesiusdriehoek Page 10 The group evaluation provided a qualitative insight into the added value of the session. It was broadly acknowledged that Urban Strategy has potential to improve planning processes. However, it could have facilitated the session more optimally, now the tool was to a certain extent a barrier for collaboration and communication, because the interaction was with the tool and the chauffeur, not with each other. Hereby it should be noted that this lack of communication is also related to the fact that the participants had to get used to the tool and had a very different starting knowledge base, in a follow-up session the group interaction would likely be better. Moreover, some of the participants emphasized that it was not very clear to them what the purpose of the session was. It had a very different format from the regular meetings. Hereby a complex issue was the existing knowledge of the involved stakeholders; it was not always evident what important information Urban Strategy added to the already existing knowledge. An important finding from the observations is that the project manager played a dominant role during the session. He had a strong influence on the focus of the workshops and the issues that were handled with Urban Strategy. This might have influenced the experience of the workshop by the participants. 7. Reflections, Conclusions and Recommendations An important reflection is that for all but one of the participants it was the first time they worked with Urban Strategy. In the evaluation it was emphasized that the learning curve for Urban Strategy
  11. 11. CESAR Working Document Series no. 10 Urban Strategy Workshop Cartesiusdriehoek Page 11 is rather steep in a first workshop, a second workshop would probably lead to a more fruitful experience. From a methodological point of view, it should be noted that the findings above should be treated with some caution, particularly the surveys. The n (9) is very low and – to a certain extent as a consequence – standard deviations are high and some of Cronbach’s Alpha’s low. A first important conclusion is the low score for user friendliness. This could on the one hand be explained by the rather complex and detailed visualizations that are depicted on the screens and on the other hand by the fact that a chauffeur is needed to conduct calculations in Urban Strategy. Hereby, the waiting times before the results were visible seemed on the long side, as was also emphasized in the evaluation, although this was not considered a problem in the survey. Perhaps the most important conclusion is that the process management of the workshop is at least as important as the characteristics of the support instrument. It seems that Urban Strategy lead to a focus on the support process, rather than a communication process; the latter being pivotal for an interactive workshop. Some caution should be taken with generalizing these findings, however, for more technically focused sessions a support process might be more important than a communication process. Moreover, it was emphasized during the evaluation and a feedback interview that Urban Strategy should be applied selectively rather than continuously. Another aspect with regards to the process is hierarchy and power relations. We found that most of the questions directed at Urban Strategy only came from a few stakeholders, rather than resulted from a group consensus. Based on the findings from the workshop several recommendations could be done for future workshops with Urban Strategy in particular and possibly PSS general. First, it is critical to be aware of the scale of the planning issue. The impact of the planning interventions done in the Cartesiusdriehoek hardly resulted in visible changes related to traffic. Only when large scale interventions where proposed (e.g. ‘add 7000 dwellings), this resulted in visible changes. It seems that the traffic model is more relevant at the city scale than the neighborhood scale. Conversely, running a session for a neighborhood without an interactive traffic model, but a fixed scenario would reduce calculation time and complexity. Moreover, interventions on the neighborhood scale (e.g. sound walls) lead to visible changes in terms of environmental impact (e.g. noise contours). Second, it is recommendable to think very carefully about the role of Urban Strategy in future workshops, both in terms of physical set up (less screens and detail) and the agenda (also focus on dimensions that are not in Urban Strategy). A finding from this workshop is that unless there is a dedicated question that has to be answered by the tool, Urban Strategy should stay in the
  12. 12. CESAR Working Document Series no. 10 Urban Strategy Workshop Cartesiusdriehoek Page 12 background as much as possible, because it might hamper the primary communication process among stakeholders. However, whether this conclusion is representative for other workshops and other cont Thirdly and finally, future sessions with Urban Strategy should have a more fixed agenda. It is an illusion to have a completely interactive and open session with a planning support tool. Knowing most of the issues on forehand leads to a quicker and more focused process. References Pelzer, Peter, Stan Geertman, Rob van der Heijden and Etiënne Rouwette (forthcoming) ‘The Added Value of Planning Support Systems: a Practitioners’ perspective.’ Submitted to Computers Environment and Urban Systems. Te Brömmelstroet, Marco (2013) ‘Urban Strategy to support group learning: Randomized control trial no.4’ CESAR working document series no 6.
  13. 13. CESAR Working Document Series no. 10 Urban Strategy Workshop Cartesiusdriehoek Page 13 Annex 1: Questionnaire conducted after the workshop
  14. 14. CESAR Working Document Series no. 10 Urban Strategy Workshop Cartesiusdriehoek Page 14