Spatial multicriteria analysis for environmental decision-making
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Environmental decision-making involves the identification and comparison of different alternatives based on multiple objectives and criteria. This calls for a framework to integrate factual information on effects and impacts, with values and preferences of stakeholders. Multicriteria analysis (MCA) offers such a framework, and it is increasingly used in combination with GIS (spatial multicriteria analysis, SMCA).
This course provides the essential principles of MCA and SMCA applied to environmental decision-making, and covers the following topics:
- Basic concepts of decision theory and problem structuring
- The philosophy of (S)MCA for environmental decisions
- Methodological steps in MCA and SMCA (value function and weight assessment, criteria aggregation, sensitivity analysis, result presentation). Overview of main MCA and SMCA methods
- Using Decision Support Systems (DSS) and GIS-based DSS
- Case studies in different domains.
The teaching method is based on theoretical lectures and hands-on exercises, using freely available software packages. The expected learning outcomes include:
- Understanding the advantages and limitations of (S)MCA
- Familiarizing with different methods and techniques
- Acquiring skills in DSS and GIS-based DSS
- Understanding the role played by technical experts, stakeholders and decision-makers
- Gaining first-hand experience in real-life case studies
The target audience of this course is represented by PhD students, post-doc and research fellows, practitioners, as well as public officers interested in environmental decision-making and in the comparison of options.