Bridging the evidence gap in spatial planning

Lessons from assessing the impact of transport infrastructure




The article focuses on how the use of evidence in spatial planning could bridge the gap between vision and reality through the continuous evaluation of the spatial impacts of the proposed interventions. The introduction sets the theoretical, institutional, and practical context on how evidence is used to assess these impacts in relation to both the expected outcomes and the pursued policy priorities. The research section addresses these issues based on the empirical and methodological background derived from a series of successive studies carried out between 1999 and 2014. These studies are related to the establishment and operation of the spatial impact observatory of the Egnatia motorway, a major European transport infrastructure project in northern Greece. The results section introduces a methodological approach, succinctly referred to as the IRIS model in which spatial planning is conceived as an adaptive process, and the use of evidence aims to enhance its flexibility and preparedness in dealing with the uncertainties that arise from dynamic conditions, rather than relying solely on predetermined solutions. It comprises three key components: a theoretical model that simulates the relationship between transport infrastructure and spatial development, an intermediate data model in which raw data were constructed as evidence indicators, and a combination of inductive and deductive paths in which evidence is used to assess the anticipated impact of spatial plans and to evaluate the actual spatial outcomes after their implementation. Finally, the conclusions underline the value added of the IRIS approach as a comprehensive and integrative methodology that aims to improve the efficacy of spatial planning by establishing a link between theoretical models, policy objectives, and evidence-based decision-making.





How to Cite

Kafkalas, G. and Pitsiava, M. (2023) “Bridging the evidence gap in spatial planning: Lessons from assessing the impact of transport infrastructure ”, REGION. Vienna, Austria, 10(3), pp. 59–81. doi: 10.18335/region.v10i3.474.