Group Project

Multi-Criteria Evaluation (MCE)
and Multiple Objective Land Allocation (MOLA)

Development of a Hypothetical Land Use Plan
for the Town of Mansfield, Connecticut

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You will continue your experience with GIS-based decision-making support practices through the development of a hypothetical land use plan for the Town of Mansfield. The objective of the exercise is to develop a plan for the Town of Mansfield that allocates certain quantities of town land to each of four different land uses:

  • residential (a desired minimum of 10000 cells or 900 hectares)
  • commercial (a desired minimum of 7000 cells or 630 hectares)
  • industrial (a desired minimum of 3000 cells or 270 hectares)
  • open space/passive recreation (a desired minimum of 35000 cells or 3,150 hectares)
  • The class will be divided into four teams, with each team representing a different town interest group. The four roles for different groups are:

    Conservationist: someone whose main goal is to protect
    natural resources and heritage and might be perceived as anti-developmental.

    Real Estate Developer: someone who is trying to
    maximize the dollar value of the landscape, perhaps at the expense
    of natural resources and wise land management practices.

    Engineer: someone who is probably pro-development,
    but recognizes the limitations and constraints imposed by the

    Chief Elected Municipal Official: the person who
    wants to make everyone happy. She wants to encourage development
    to broaden the tax base, but also recognizes the value of a clean
    and healthy environment. Hopefully, she is someone who clearly
    sees the whole picture and learns to balance all concerns.

    Each group will identify the siting criteria and their relative importance in determining the suitability of land parcels for each proposed land use activity using the multi-criteria evaluation procedures discussed in class and used in the previous MCE & MOLA exercise. Once the suitability for land parcels for each land use has been estimated using the Idrisi software system, each interest group will prioritize and weight each land use so that the Idrisi multi-objective land allocation (MOLA) software module can assist in resolving any conflicts among the competing land uses and in developing an initial town land use plan.

    Each interest group will then examine its initial results and make the requisite adjustments to its criteria and weights until a satisfactory land use plan has been developed for each group. This, of course, will be an iterative process requiring discussion, give-and-take, compromise, re-evaluation, refinement, and re-implementation. Once a consensus plan has been developed, and actually throughout the planning process, each group should carefully and completely document its procedures and results (interim and final).

    A database of ten initial layers for the Town of Mansfield will be used in support of this project. This database, MANMOLA.ZIP , is located on the GATE Server. Copy this file and unzip it to a local drive on the PC of your choice. These data are all in an Idrisi raster format. Each layer measures 460 columns by 409 rows and consist of 30 by 30 meter pixels. Data are projected into UTM coordinates, NAD27, Zone 18. The appended table lists the Idrisi files and some recommended palettes, as well as a brief description. It should be noted that most of these layers is accompanied by Comments that describe map lineage, properties, and other relevant information. Also, there are two vector files, one for roads and another for the Mansfield town boundary. The latter you might consider for clipping some of your results to the extent of the town (this will make sense as you encounter that particular situation). You might consider rasterizing the roads vector layer into an Idrisi grid cell format (or alternatively, get the rasterized roads from the downloadable file located at:

    Before beginning this project, your group will want to learn more about these source data using the Idrisi Describe and Display functions.

    From the perspective (i.e., with the mindset of) your respective profession, groups will enter into a discourse that will identify the suitability criteria (factors and constraints) for each land use to be allocated, their relative weights, apply MCE (to generate maps for each criterion), and resolve conflicts with MOLA. Of course, there will be a need to use other programs within Idrisi throughout this process. You can find an example MCE and MOLA exercise at the following site:

    as well as some sample results from one of our Summer GIS Institutes.

    On the final day of class, Friday, May 2, 1997, each group will make a presentation of their work at The University of Hartford. You are encouraged to use graphics in support of your presentation. Color overhead transparencies can be produced on a color printer. Simple textual, tabular, or black-and-white graphics (such as flowcharts) can be done on regular paper and reproduced as a transparency. Your respective instructors can help with both of these. Your are expected to work in groups over the next several weeks, with each member playing a key role and making substantial contributions. Good luck and enjoy this practical, group-interactive project !

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    IDRISI Coverage
    Type or Units
    DEMdefault Digital Elevation Model
    LEVEL1Blevel1b Level 1B Aquifer Protection areas
    LULC6lulc6 6-class land cover (from LULC25)
    LULC25lulc25 25-class land cover (from Landsat)
    NDDBnddb Natural Diversity Database
    ZONINGzoning Town zoning
    SEWERSsewers Areas served by sewer lines
    WATERwater Permanent major water features
    WATSRVwatsrv Public water supply service areas
    WETLANDwetland Legally recognized wetlands

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