ANALYTIC HIERARCHY PROCESS (AHP) AND GEOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION SYSTEMS (GIS): AN INTEGRATED SPATIAL ASSESSMENT FOR PLANNING STRATEGIC CHOICES
In the contemporary debate regarding environmental assessment and integrated approaches, a Spatial Decision Support System (SDSS) designed to help a user or a group of users reach more effective decisions by solving semi-structured spatial problems can be supported by Geographical Information Systems (GIS) combined with an Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). This paper explores the potential of Multi-Criteria Spatial Decision Support Systems (MCSDSS), denominated Integrated Spatial Assessment (ISA), for the field of land-use planning. Such a system takes into account both technical knowledge regarding the decision problem at hand and the lay knowledge of the local community in the construction of shared planning choices. Through the empirical investigation of an operative case study, an integrated evaluative approach implemented by means of MCSDSS can go beyond spatial and hierarchical limits - taking into account the different components, clarifying weights and recognizing different priorities - to define appropriate strategies, considering social participation and dynamic dialogue among different experts in keeping with sustainability principles.