The Macaulay Institute

Land Allocation Decision Support System

Land Use Planning Tools

One of the land use planning tools developed within LADSS is a search and optimise tool based on genetic algorithms (GAs). The GA maintains a set of alternative candidate solutions (the population). Each solution (or genotype) encodes a complete land use plan as a series of genes. Crossover and mutation operators allow new genotypes to be created from existing parent genotypes. Each genotype has an associated fitness which is derived from a specified impact assessment goal.

The algorithm uses a survival-of-the-fittest regime which keeps the most fit solutions and eliminates the least fit. The GA can be used to optimise for multiple-goals so that the trade-off between objectives can be explored. The paper Applying Genetic Algorithms to Multi-Objective Land Use Planning details the testing of the multi-objective land use planning tools. The results are compared against those suggested by land managers at a workshop and a further paper Using soft-systems methods to evaluate the outputs from multi-objective land use planning tools discusses the approach.

The development of the land use planning tools is was undertaken in collaboration with Prof. Susan Craw of The Robert Gordon University.