Current Living Labs

PhD project - Co-designing Planning Support Systems (Carissa Champlin)

Project: Co-designing Planning Support (Systems)

PhD Researcher: Carissa Champlin, MSc. - c.j.champlin@utwente.nl

Supervisors: Dr. Timo Hartmann, Prof. Geert Dewulf

Carissa is a PhD researcher working on the project “Co-designing Planning Support (Systems)”. The aim of this research is to develop a collaborative design planning support design strategy that serves the dual purpose of bringing structure to complex early attempts at spatial planning. Her research is a part of Revitaplan, a bi-national Dutch-German project funded by the INTERREG program that aims to streamline municipal planning processes. The holistic toolkit developed in the project supports the renovation and revitalization of urban and industrial spaces.


Before joining the University of Twente, Carissa was a lecturer and researcher at the Technische Universität Berlin. She lectured for the Urban Management Studies professional Masters Program and conducted research at the Chair of Integrated Transport Planning (IVP), centered on low-emission land-use and transport interactions in urban environments with thematic studies on user perspectives in mobility behaviors and reactivated infrastructures. She has additionally worked as an urban planner in Germany where she founded a planning consultancy centered on global urban networks of innovation and knowledge transfer. Carissa holds an MSc in Urban Management (TU Berlin) and an MSc in International Trade and Development (Oklahoma State University), which she received while working for the United States Peace Corps.


Co-designing Planning Support (Systems)

Many of the recent advancements in planning support have come from computer-based technologies like planning support systems (PSSs). These geo-information based systems aim to support the generation of spatial development strategies. However, to benefit from these highly sophisticated technologies, users like planning practitioners would have to acquire knowledge beyond their standard skillset. As a result, PSSs in practice tend to block future-oriented thinking while fragmenting knowledge of the planning process within their complicated frameworks.


The aim of this project is to develop a planning support design strategy centered on PSS development. The design approach is collaborative (involving end users) and contextually driven by the planning process in need of support. The result is a co-design strategy based on a systems view of planning processes to situate support to a specific planning context. Methods applied in the co-design approach include serious gaming to reveal stakeholder interests, sketch planning to map out spatial parameters and constraints and the refinement of primitive visualization and simulation software for use by non-experts.


Images L to R: Sketch planning exercise with Dutch and German planning practitioners; practitioners identifying important scenario planning parameters; practitioner describing site details using planning support visualization software.


The PS(S) co-design project is supported in part under the INTERREG funding framework as a part of the Revitaplan project, a bi-national Dutch-German project that aims to streamline municipal planning processes


Serious Gaming

Weblinx is born out of the challenges of complex young spatial planning projects. The game employs an interactive, collaborative method to help planning practitioners identify and prioritize stakeholder interests, which they use to create a set of implementable planning objectives. The method simultaneously benefits IT developers by revealing the key facilities, investments, policies, regulations, and issues that must be included in their visualization and simulation designs for use later on in the scenario planning of a project.

Image: Testing the Weblinx prototype

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