Assessing the Urban Environment: The Role of Geographic Information Systems as a Policy Making Tool for Urban Sustianability

Date of Award


Document Type

Capstone Project


Environmental Policy And Management

Degree Name

Master of Applied Science


Environmental Policy And Management


Kenneth Knox


environmental policy; geographic information systems; GIS; policy making; sustainability policy; sustainable development; urban sustainability; urban sustainability assessment


As urban population growth accelerates and the impacts of climate change continue to make their presence felt, there is an urgent need to integrate sustainability into urban policies to counter increases in urban ecological footprints and negative impacts on citizens' lives. The use of geographic information systems (GIS) is a necessary assessment tool to measure urban sustainability and ensure that quantitative, place-based information is available to decision-makers. From the analysis of literature and case studies, it is evident that assessment methodologies utilizing GIS are in development through public and private research, but that they still need to be passed from researchers into the hands of planners and policy-makers so that they can be utilized for creating sustainable urban policies.

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