Information technology and the practice of modern urban planning

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Osiowy, Jill Alexandra
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This thesis determines the links between the profession of city planning and the rapidly advancing field of information technology; and in so doing, analyses the critical path of progression of the profession of city planning and the implications of information technology regarding the practice of city planning. The current investigation begins with an analysis of the links between technology, culture and planning in order to gain an understanding of the evolution of planning thus far. From this analysis, the planning/technology link is established and the investigation continues with a case study providing examples of current planning related to IT. The case study participants--the Toronto planning firm Berridge Lewinberg Greenberg Dark Gabor Ltd.--through their input in the form of questionnaires, interviews and a site visit, enabled several important issues of IT and planning to be isolated. From this, a further adjunct to the study was developed, an Internet survey in which planning professionals were asked to comment on a World Wide Web page which highlighted planning issues for the future. The investigation concludes with a scenario of the future of planning, one that can be considered pro-active and forward looking. The incidence of use and influence of IT in the field of planning comes at a critical juncture in the development of the profession. The society which planning was created for, an industrial city with a top heavy power base, is no longer. The society and culture which have taken its place demand a different perspective on the workings of the city. The inevitable is taking place as the profession of planning evolves and changes moment by moment. The investigation however, concerns itself specifically with the role of information technology within a perspective of change, and explores how IT can aid the positive evolution of the profession. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)