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Geographical information systems - Essay Example

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Summary
During the last decade there has been a sharp increase in awareness of the adverse impacts of mankind's technological development on the environment. This has led to many new initiatives aimed at researching and understanding the mechanisms involved, and to new legislation aimed at minimizing or ameliorating the negative effects of development…
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Geographical information systems
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Geographical information systems

Download file to see previous pages... The problems concerned can be broadly described as 'environmental management problems'. Examples of environmental management problems range from those of global scale (climate change, ozone depletion), through international scale (atmospheric transportation of radiation and pollutants), to regional and local scales (river pollution, sitting of potentially hazardous facilities) (Wyatt, 1995). What they have in common is that they are all concerned with spatially distributed phenomena. This means that the information relating to the phenomena can be spatially referenced and an appropriately chosen GIS is now the natural means to support and analyze such information. In addition to information management and analysis there is also frequently a requirement for assistance in making decisions which are effectively choices between alternative possible future courses of action, and hence the need for decision support systems (DSS). The need for such decision support systems is now growing, particularly in urban and regional planning, where environmental impacts must now be taken into account and new regulations and directives respected. In the context of urban planning, the environmental management approach is particularly required with respect to atmospheric and acoustic pollution, protection of parks and green areas, and layout and sitting decisions which have a bearing on risks to the population and solar exposure. All these aspects can now be addressed to some extent by the use of GIS (Bowers, & Benford, 1991).
Growth of Milton Keynes
The Milton Keynes area has been subject to massive planned growth for nearly 35 years, and as we approach that anniversary it is worth reviewing the situation. The city -- it has always presumed to the title, although it was never officially conferred -- has become established effectively as the sub-regional centre at the interface of the South East, Eastern, and East Midlands regions of England. This growth has been on a scale unmatched anywhere in the EU, with over 5,000 companies resulting in the creation of over 85,000 jobs. Economic success is backed by a good quality of life for an inclusive range of residents, and a wide range of facilities and services, many of which are regional or even national attractions (Lock, 2002).
The city currently has a population of more than 170,000 (213,000 in the borough). It has an unemployment rate of just 1.4 per cent (technically full). The number of full-time jobs has grown by some 17,000 in just the last three years. Around 900 houses are being built every year (Lock, 2002).
The city will reach its planned growth of approximately 200,000 people by 2008 or thereabouts. To meet current structure plan requirements, Milton Keynes Council is already preparing a local plan that will see growth beyond the boundaries of the original new town. These sustainable urban extensions, together with the city's urban capacity will cause the city to reach somewhere around 250,000. Further ready expansion land still be drawn upon -- whatever spatial configuration is chosen next in the emerging local plan -- might see the city accommodate 280,000 comfortably (Lock, 2002).
Aside from this inevitable growth -- the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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