Building Consensus using a Collaborative Spatial Multi-Criteria Analysis System
Taranu, John P.
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This thesis studies the use of a collaborative spatial Multi-Criteria Analysis tool in site evaluation with multiple participants. The approach is situated within the context of three concepts of space, choice and participation, and is informed by fields as diverse as Decision-Making, Participatory Planning, Geographical Information Systems, Decision Support Systems, Voting, and Group Collaboration. A collaborative spatial Multi-Criteria Analysis software tool called MapChoice was designed for this thesis, built upon open source components and featuring easy-to-use decision support functionality in both single-user and collaborative modes. MapChoice was then evaluated in a real-world site selection situation with a case study on the location of much-needed affordable housing in the Town of Collingwood, Ontario. Based on previous discussions and workshops on the project, a workshop was held with a group of community housing advocates to compare a set of possible sites for an affordable housing project according to a set of spatial and aspatial criteria. The study indicates that a collaborative spatial MCA approach can be used in dealing with complex planning problems, and that it has the potential to contribute to improved consensus between participants.