Public Participation GIS as a Tool for Urban Systems Planning Processes

Core Teaching Staff

Centre of Urban Epidemiology (Cue):

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Susanne Moebus, Julita Skodra, M.Sc. Urban Management and Robynne Sutcliffe, M.Sc. Public Health


Course description

This practice-oriented course is designed to provide students with a tool for geospatial data collection and analysis, which engages residents in the process of planning and enables direct insights in people’s needs for better quality of life in their neighborhood. More precisely, this seminar is an introduction to the usage and impacts of spatial technology on collaborative planning on the neighborhood level. Main objectives of Public Participation GIS (PPGIS) approach are to use and integrate spatial information technology with people’s perception about their living environment as well as to engage stakeholders and enable their influence on decision-making in planning process in order to improve the quality of life in urban areas.


Furthermore, the course will introduce students to ZUGABE (ZUkunftschancen GAnzheitlich BEtrachten), a planning tool which is aimed to create an interdisciplinary platform for communication and discourse between different actors on municipal and local level (environmental and urban planners, rainwater and sewage system planners, etc.). In this course ZUGABE can be used for identifying areas of special interest/research area.

In a selected research area (Recklinghausen) students will learn how to conduct community mapping with electronic maps in order to obtain data from citizens on their needs and space usage.

The aim of this course is to connect data on the specific needs of residents (PPGIS) with planned interventions identified in ZUGABE. This can be seen as an example how to include public participation in planning processes.

A short theoretical part of the seminar will include:

§  introduction to PPGIS and softGIS,

§  concept of public participation

§  introduction to ZUGABE

Tasks of the practical part are:

§  to learn about  ZUGABE

§  to conduct softGIS within a group of residents in the identified neighborhood in Recklinghausen

§  to analyse the needs which were identified from resident’s created softGIS maps

§  to discuss the opportunities and challenges of combining/linking such data


Objectives of the course:

In this seminar  students will gain knowledge and experience in using new technology (softGIS) and new insight about public participation within the context of a real-world project (ZUGABE- planning tool).

Upon completion of the course, students

§  will have enhanced knowledge and understanding of

o   key principles of public participation GIS in the context of urban systems

o   use of new technology to assess resident’s needs and space usage

§  will possess practical skills to

o   use spatial technology (softGIS) to engage citizens in qualitative data collection

o   conduct community mapping with electronic maps

o   interpret results obtained from the residents on electronic maps