Application of Strategic Foresight Methodology in Strategic Spatial Development Planning; Case Study: Karaj Urban Region Scenario Writing
Spatial planning to improve future agenda, theoretically deals with aspects related to the future. However, both in theoretical and practical areas, future is mostly ignored, often for reasons such as the impact of social science and the scientific method on intellectual frameworks of planning, lack of data and unknown future events, political constraints, insufficient funding and professional routines. Even in strategic plans, future is seen only as a normative destination. To equip planning to operate in complex environments full of uncertainty, "strategic foresight", which is distinguished from traditional planning, considers the alternatives futures foresight and imagines multiple possible outcomes with the aim of expanding the perception of decision-makers. Accordingly, this paper, with the aim of integration of foresight in the strategic planning process, first detect multiple arenas of overlapped concepts and meanings via literature review and then reviews different foresight approaches and processes to propose how to combine strategic foresight in planning. This process using cross-impact analysis method and Scenario Wizard software has been tested in Karaj Metropolitan Region. Uncertainty out of spatial development planning system, due to the institutional, functional and physical affiliation to Tehran, is the main rationale for selection of this case study. Karaj Urban Region, consists of 6 cities of Karaj, Savojbolagh, Nazarabad, Taleghan, Eshtehard and Fardis, as well as 13 cities with the centricity of Karaj and a population of 1,614,626 (2011), has been separated from Tehran province on 2010 and turned into Alborz province. The results of the analysis show that the scenario of the continuation of the current trends is the most consistent scenario of spatial development in the Karaj metropolitan area. The model of mono-centric system consists of potential integrated areas (PIAs) with distinct functional areas and weak correlation among them, corridor oriented spatial structure centered on the Tehran highway in Qazvin with territorial spatial logic and behavior, acting as a pole of agriculture in the region, benefiting from scale-based savings with the management system led by the governor of Tehran, are the main features of this scenario. In this paper, it was tried to provide alternative strategies for strategists through scenario writing in a participatory way by means of futurology workshop. For the four consecutive scenarios, the output of the software only provides imagery of the potential future, thus providing the possibility of thinking about what is "unthinkable". Since the value of the future is not in the scenario creation, but is more likely in illustrating the consequences of any scenario, the author has tried to address, describe and draw the consequences of the five key determinants identified as spatial drivers (due to the greater relevance with spatial development planning dimensions). Therefore, the future agenda of the planning system, according to the proposed methodology of research, should be to create different decision-making options through scenario planning. Formulating the most appropriate perspective for the correct guidance of the system in the alternative futures, proposing suitable spatial organization, and developing a strategic plan for this area are to be taken into account.
Journal of Architecture and Urban Planning, No. 20, 2018
23 - 48
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