Design of a prototype decision support system for urban redevelopment planning
Urban revitalization involves the redevelopment of commercial building space. The future potentials for utilizing vacant building space in urban core locations a e affected by a number of primary and secondary social, economic, legal, institutional and political factors. Urban planners are one of a number of representative participants in the urban revitalization and redevelopment process. The role of the planner as an information broker, political facilitator, strategic analyst, and 'deal-maker' in this public-private sector process of urban redevelopment requires the ability to identify critical variables, understand important interconnections between variables and generate realistic 'what if' alternative scenarios in order to build a consensus for action. This practicum describes the design of a prototype decision support system developed to assist planners in multiple stakeholder downtown revitalization projects. Using a site in the City of Winnipeg's downtown "Exchange District", the practicum identifies four critical variables that planners need Co work with in redevelopment planning. These factors include the location-specific growth potential for a specific activity, the ability of a specific type of vacant space to support an activity, locational advantages of the available space for certain activities, and the value of alternative activities in encouraging additional activities and investment. These four critical factors and specific data related to them for the selected demonstration site are used as the basis for creating computer data bases and search engines to assist planners in selecting, organizing, relating and communicating redevelopment potentials for a specific area. The program was designed to function on Microsoft Excel but is appropriate for any informational management software program. The application of the prototype system is demonstrated in the practicum for the selected site in the Exchange District and illustrates how planners can generate alternative redevelopment scenarios as part of a multiple stakeholder consultation and decision-making process.