Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 93–112 | Cite as

The Online What if? Planning Support System: A Land Suitability Application in Western Australia

  • Christopher J. PettitEmail author
  • Richard E. Klosterman
  • Phillip Delaney
  • Amy L. Whitehead
  • Heini Kujala
  • Andrew Bromage
  • Marcos Nino-Ruiz


Recent advances in cloud computing and the ability to more easily deliver online tools and services provide exciting opportunities for the development and application of online planning support systems. This paper describes the application of an online open source land suitability tool which has been developed as one of the many tools available through the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN) workbench. The tool is part of the larger open source online What if? planning support system (PSS) which implements the desktop What if? PSS developed by Klosterman (Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 26:393–408, 1999; 2008). This paper describes the development of the online What if? suitability tool and the advantages and disadvantages of developing this novel solution. The paper focuses on a case study which used the tool for collaborative planning in the context of developing land suitability scenarios for the Metro North West sub-region in the Perth-Peel region undertaken by the Department of Planning in Western Australia. The paper concludes by discussing the lessons learned from formulating the land use suitability scenarios for Perth and outlines the next steps in the development and application of the online What if? tool.


Land suitability analysis Strategic planning Geographical information system Planning support system What if? 



AURIN is a $24 million project which is developing national networked urban research infrastructure for Australia funded by the Commonwealth Government under the Education Investment Fund and the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy. AURIN is hosted at the University of Melbourne. This project was also supported by the Environmental Decisions Research Hub through funding from the Australian Government’s National Environmental Research Program (NERP). The authors thank their colleagues in the AURIN Office and the Core Technical Team and the Western Australia Department of Planning, in particular Bryce Bunny for his many contributions to this project. Finally, the authors wish to acknowledge contributions made by Brendan Wintle, Erin Pears, Nicole Matthews, David Mitchell, Catherine Garlick, Jess Miller and Dave Osborn.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (PDF 84 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher J. Pettit
    • 1
    Email author
  • Richard E. Klosterman
    • 2
  • Phillip Delaney
    • 1
  • Amy L. Whitehead
    • 3
  • Heini Kujala
    • 3
  • Andrew Bromage
    • 4
  • Marcos Nino-Ruiz
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculty of Architecture Building and PlanningUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.What if? IncorporatedHudsonUSA
  3. 3.School of BotanyUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Department of Computing and Information SystemsUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

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