Transcript

00:01The next speaker in this series of lightening talks is going to be Richard Kingston from the University of Manchester.

00:08Thank you. I was about to say good evening because it is actually good evening for me but for the rest of you it's good afternoon.

00:13I hope you're all still awake after your lunch.

00:18I'm from the UK as you can probably tell, from the University of Manchester, and there's a bit of design on this first slide already.

00:26The University of Manchester was originally formed and some clever person, design person thought...

00:31...let's use the "est" in Manchester.

00:35It was formed in 1824.

00:36We have been around for quite awhile but in it's current formation...

00:40...the University of Manchester has only been around since 2004, and this was its new logo that some clever...

00:45...probably highly paid, designer came up with the 1824 logo.

00:50Now what I want to talk to you about is I'm a lecturer in spatial planning and have specialized in GIS every since an undergraduate.

00:59I always remember the first time I ever used Esri products, or Esri products, was at the old command line...

01:06...and remember used to see this scrolling bit of text that used to come up every time you logged in...

01:11...and started the arc command, it would say New York Street, Redlands.

01:15And I used to think, where on earth is that, and I finally...21 years since first typing arc at a command prompt, finally got here.

01:28But, anyway, what I want to talk to you about, as a planner and someone who is educated in spatial planning...

01:34...and then specializing in GIS, I've always had an interest in how, as a planner, I teach my students GIS...

01:42...but also in how planners actually in practice make use of GIS.

01:46And there was recent funding stream led by Paul Longley that some of you might have heard of from UCL...

01:51...called, a funding stream called Spatial Literacy in Teaching...

01:54...and I got one of the teaching fellowships to look specifically at...

01:58...whether or not, are we actually teaching planners the most appropriate GIS knowledge?

02:07Now over the last few decades, I would argue there's been a decline of quantitative skills in the planning profession.

02:14When I was being trained as a planner, certainly in the UK, I'm not sure whether this applies, you know...

02:19...the western societies, but certainly in the UK, there was a decline of quantitative skills in the planning profession.

02:25And through the 1990s, when I was...from the late '80s to the early '90s when I was being taught and educated as a planner...

02:31...I was educated by Patsy Healey who had this idea of collaborative planning, and it was a very sort of, kind of a soft...

02:41...fuzzy, you know, I call it wooly kind of way of doing planning, getting...

02:44...you know, everyone was being very friendly to each other and trying to plan together and move forward.

02:48And a lot of things like this on the left here, you know, quantitative analysis and [unintelligible] didn't really go on.

02:55I had one lecture course sort of 10 weeks of what GIS was as part of a initially a three-year degree...

03:03...and it wasn't until I got into postgraduate study that I was able to actually start doing GIS.

03:09So there's been this decline in sort of quantitative analysis within the planning profession.

03:17And that actually has an impact on what planners can then go out and do.

03:20But at the same time, there's been a long tradition in which there's been a strong connection between...

03:25...the development of technology and the development of planning...

03:28...from the '50s and '60s where we had blueprint planning and the use of mainframe computers to big...

03:34...large economic modeling of how our cities might develop in the future...

03:38...through the '70s and '80s through to now in the 2000s where we've heard lot in the last couple of days...

03:42...about cloud-based computing, grid-based processing and these moved to into what I would term integrated city regional planning...

03:50...or spatial planning as we refer to it as.

03:53So although planning has moved through different kind of phases...

03:57...and particularly through the collaborative and participatory planning approach through the '90s...

04:02...there's been a lack of planners in the UK and possibly in Europe going out into the workplace...

04:06...we've got a lack of sort of quantitative and technical skills.

04:13But over the last decade, certainly since sort of 1997 when we got a labor government...

04:20...there was an emphasis that then suddenly shifted towards evidence-based policy making...

04:25...and this idea of spatial planning, spatial awareness, and spatial skills.

04:30Now, part of my splint fellowship, I actually did a survey of RT...Royal Town Planning Institute for accredited town planners...

04:38...and asked them about their use of spatial planning.

04:41I'm not going to go through all the results from that, but I just picked out a few of them.

04:45So, one of the questions in that was one should have a better understanding of what GIS than they do at the moment.

04:52And here we've got strongly agree and agree on the left.

04:55So although what I was finding was that a lot of planners who've never actually used GIS...

05:00...they were aware of what GIS was and believe that they need to know more about how we use GIS.

05:10And over the last couple of days, there's been talk about well what exactly is geodesign.

05:14Is it about GIS? To what extent is it about people and place?

05:20And a key thing about spatial planning is that in the UK, spatial, probably in England...

05:25...spatial planning goes beyond traditional land-use planning to bring together and integrate policies...

05:30...for the development and use of land with other policies and programs which influence the nature of places and how they function...

05:37...particularly looking forward into the future and the way the design is.

05:40This was from the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act of 2004.

05:45This was the main government policy that was driving forward how planning was changing...

05:52...from a land-use planning system to a spatial planning system.

05:55So example of that was that traditionally, planning would operate ways just looking at land use.

06:00The planners wouldn't talk to the health professionals, whereas now through spatial planning...

06:05So, a good example in the greater Manchester region where I'm based...

06:09...where there was a new hospital built in the north of the city region...

06:15...and the hospital was built with no regard for its actual spatial location.

06:20They built the hospital on an intersection of an orbital motorway with a north-south...

06:25...so it was a junction with an orbital motorway on the north of the city with a north-south route...

06:30...with no regard for public transport considerations.

06:33So the only way you could get to this hospital was by driving in a car...

06:38...which basically meant elderly people were struggling to get to or from the hospital.

06:41Whereas through spatial planning, the idea now is that health planners and health professionals...

06:46...are involved in the planning process about making decisions and about developing plans and collaborating on them.

06:56But as part of this, spatial planning has basically become about everything.

07:00It's become a bit of a catchall kind of phrase.

07:02I mean looking at land-use futures, visualization of spatial relationships, facilitating public participation...

07:09...modeling climate change scenarios is some work I'm involved in at the moment, modeling demographic change.

07:14There's a whole range of things that spatial planning is now about.

07:18And one of the questions I asked of the professional planners in practice was...

07:22...what is the main purpose of, if you are using GIS, what do you use it for?

07:25[unintelligible] a whole range of things that they are using, of those who use GIS, that they're using GIS for.

07:33And they regarded, you know, the outcomes of such, and we're all very aware of this...

07:37...the outcomes of such analysis can provide priceless decision support for policy makers.

07:44But there's a but.

07:46I always put this as copyright of Stan Openshaw.

07:48I was taught about GIS by Stan Openshaw.

07:50If any of you remember, Stanley.

07:52He would always have a but. There was always a but.

07:57And my but is, while GIS skills are increasingly sought after, particularly my experience of teaching GIS...

08:06...is that GIS teaching is extremely resource intensive.

08:09Compared with my colleagues who may come in and talk about the planning system or planning law...

08:15...it doesn't often change very often.

08:16They'll come to the...they'll do their one-hour lecture each week, lecture to the students..

08:21...they wander off, and the students go off and have to read books.

08:23I come in and do my one-hour lecture about the principles of GIS...

08:26...then I have to go and do a two- to three-hour lab class with them about how to actually learn how to use the GIS.

08:32So, it's been recognized that GIS, in terms of teaching students how to use GIS, is resource intensive.

08:39As well as doing the survey of professional planners...

08:41...we held a series of workshops in planning schools and universities around the UK...

08:47...where we got together people similar to myself, the lecturers in the planning schools actually taught GIS...

08:54...to start discussing about how we might be able to change the way that we teach GIS.

08:59And these were some of the comments.

09:00It is often perceived as too abstract and disconnected from other modules or what you might call classes.

09:06So you would have pretty much every planning school in the UK would have a GIS course that ran a module...

09:12...set of classes that run through that.

09:15And the students would often struggle to understand.

09:18You'd try and convince them on how they could apply this in some of our other modules...

09:21...but we've always found that they really struggle with that.

09:25We also found there's a lack of time allocated for teaching GI...using GIS or GIScience in the planning curriculum.

09:32Because they are professionally accredited programs, similar to here...

09:35...you're accrediting body often requires certain things that they have to do.

09:43So we've been thinking about how we can change things.

09:45And this is traditionally the way in which we've approached things.

09:49So you have your different, what we would call modules or classes...

09:52...and one of those typically has been GIS in our program until recently.

09:56But what I'm starting to do in about two weeks' time when I finish my sabbatical and have to get back to teaching...

10:02...is that we're putting GIS over the top of everything else.

10:06I have managed to convince, it helps that I'm director of our undergraduate program, so I have a bit of control over what goes on.

10:14But, I thought, while I'm in this position, I might as well make use of this...

10:17...so I've convinced other colleagues that we should be integrating GIS into a lot more than we do at the moment.

10:22And what they gain from that is, well, so integrating it into problem-based learning rather than having a stand-alone module...

10:31...and some small projects we've done with students, the students immediately see the benefits from that.

10:36And for my colleagues, I can then convince them, well, we've created some space in the curriculum, let's do another module.

10:43And actually, the one that's slid in there has been planning for climate change.

10:46So my colleagues are happy, and I get to teach.

10:51So what I'm going to start doing in two weeks' time...

10:53...I'm taking over a module from someone who's been teaching the same module for about 30 years...

10:59...they've retired and I am now giving students one of these wedges; they’re going to be in groups...

11:05...and we have a mixture of town planning as landscape planners environmental managers.

11:09They'll be doing sketching pen and paper.

11:12They might be using a camera or increasingly a camera phone.

11:16And they use...we use a whole range of different software.

11:19But by giving them a particular part of the city, and they'll actually go out and analyze that...

11:28How should they think that area should be in the future?

11:33So I'm hoping that by doing this, we'll be able to maybe get some geodesign in there.

11:36...then they'll come up with a new plan for that area.

11:39So although, this is my penultimate slide.

11:42I've been held at my minute and to get...

11:45GIS systems, as we all know, have become an increasingly user friendly...

11:48...some would argue, some of my students would say they're not...

11:51...and the potential for data integration is vast.

11:53We've been shown that over the last couple of days.

11:57What I would say is though that while the intensity for the demand...

12:01...this intensifies the demand for adequate levels of IT skills and...

12:05...in particular, what it really requires though is, are the students asking the right questions?

12:10We can give them all the technology.

12:11But do they know to ask the right questions and interpret the outputs from that?

12:17And what I'm hoping to find out with this new approach, I'm going to deliver this module over the next semester is...

12:24...will geodesign overcome this?

12:27And I think it was Jack who said on the first morning, geodesign is both a new idea, but it's also an old idea.

12:35And I put these slides together before Carl spoke earlier.

12:40So this is a bit of a coincidence.

12:41But, geodesign, I think, has been around for a long time.

12:47Ebenezer Howard's Garden Cities of To-Morrow was published in 1898 and again in 1902.

12:57So, thank you.

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Do We Teach Planners the Most Appropriate GIS Knowledge

Richard Kingston from the University of Manchester presents "Do We Teach Planners the Most Appropriate GIS Knowledge?" at the 2011 GeoDesign Summit. 
 

  • Recorded: Jan 7th, 2011
  • Runtime: 13:06
  • Views: 24137
  • Published: Feb 25th, 2011
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