Development of a software based decision support platform for assessing the impacts of urban pollutants
Cleall, P., Jones, M., Thomas, H., Kapelan, Z., Dorini, G., Hutchings, T., Sinnett, D., Swithenbank, J., Sharifi, V., Fletcher, T., Chalabi, Z., Vardoulakis, S., Tiwary, A. and Azapagic, A. (2009) Development of a software based decision support platform for assessing the impacts of urban pollutants. In: ISEE 21st Annual Conference, Dublin, Ireland, 25th-29th August 2009.
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Background and Objective: In order to fully assess the environmental, health and ecological impacts of changes in different products, processes and human activities occurring within an urban environment, a large number of research disciplines need to be considered. To address this a new software based decision support platform has been developed allowing sustainability assessment and comparison of various scenarios. Methods: The decision-support framework is divided in three parts: problem structuring, problem analysis and problem resolution, the software platform follows the same approach. Following definition of sources of pollution, the software incorporates fate and transport models to map these pollutants as they progress through the urban environment. Tailored human health analysis and ecological impact modelling is then used to assess the impacts, with uncertainty being considered. Additionally, the wider impacts of changes made within the urban environment, such as contribution to global warming or impacts of activities that feed into the urban environment are considered using Life Cycle Assessment and Substance Flow Analysis. Finally Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis tools are used to compare various scenarios in the context of various stakeholders viewpoints. Results: The PUrE Software Platform integrates these varied research disciplines into a cohesive package to aid planners, researchers and consultants in assessing the impacts of urban pollution. The integration is undertaken within the context of a Geographic Information System (GIS) allowing the clear visualisation of results at each stage of analysis. Throughout the development of the platform challenges have been faced in ensuring the correct integration of each model, thereby allowing the models to work alongside each other with minimal requirement for user intervention. Conclusion: This paper outlines the development of this model and highlights some of the major challenges faced in combining discrete models and tools for performing fate and transport, impact modelling and life cycle assessment.
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