GIS and Scenario Analysis: Tools for Better Urban Planning

Arnab Chakraborty, Andrew McMillan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Scenario planning offers urban planners a set of approaches to explore how urban areas may grow and change in the future. Geographic information systems (GIS), and spatial analysis tools that employ some form of GIS, are commonly used in scenario planning as a way to create, visualize, and analyze futures outcomes of present-day decisions. These tools include ArcGIS, planning support systems, and advanced urban models. The strength and interactivity of GIS tools can help make scenario planning processes become both technically sound and inclusive of diverse stakeholders. This is particularly important in the context of regional land-use and transportation planning where persuasiveness of planning analysis is critical to overcoming the weak institutional mechanisms for decision-making. As our case study in this article illustrates, the process can be more compelling when scenario planning and GIS are combined carefully. These include systemically identifying and analyzing a variety of factors such as trends, uncertainties, and decision choices, and employing GIS tools to creatively serve the goals of the planning process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationComprehensive Geographic Information Systems
EditorsBo Huang
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780128046609
ISBN (Print)9780128047934
StatePublished - Jul 21 2017


  • Chicago
  • Future
  • Overlay analysis
  • Plan making
  • Planning support system
  • Scenarios
  • Uncertainty
  • Urban models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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