Considerations on the Use of Visual Tools in Planning Processes: A Brazilian Experience

  • Camila Zyngier Laboratório de Geoprocessamento – Escola de Arquitetura – UFMG – Belo Horizonte, BR
  • Stefano Pensa SiTI - Higher Institute on Territorial Systems for Innovation –Torino, IT
  • Elena Masala SiTI - Higher Institute on Territorial Systems for Innovation –Torino, IT
Keywords: PSS, sDSS, Visualization, Communication, Participation


This paper assumes that citizen participation does not really happen in relation to current urban planning practice for a number of reasons. First of all, many planning processes do not involve citizens as ideally they should. Secondly, although if they involve citizens, many planning processes are not able to communicate them the actual questions to deal with. Thirdly, many citizens have not a sufficient knowledge or ability to understand the planning issues. Therefore, the paper supposes that the use of visual interfaces can collaborate to organize data and improve the involvement of citizens within planning processes. Focusing on the Brazilian reality, the case study present two selected areas with great relevance for the Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte’s (MRBH): Santa Lúcia, within the municipality of Belo Horizonte, and the neighborhood Vale do Sereno, in the Nova Lima municipality. The areas result under a great pressure and intensification of anthropic interventions, containing consolidated occupancy. The example on the two areas shows how urban planning still lacks a systematization of data. This also implies that the two municipalities not consider the communication of information as a priority for developing cities. Although current information technology can offer advantages for implementing the planning processes though visual languages, harder efforts are required to build the communication process between people, including communication as part of the planning process.


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Author Biographies

Camila Zyngier, Laboratório de Geoprocessamento – Escola de Arquitetura – UFMG – Belo Horizonte, BR

Graduated in Architecture and Urbanism, Master Degree in Architecture and Urbanism, and is a Ph.D. student at the School of Architecture of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG). Has experience in GIS applications for Urban Analysis and Urban Planning. Currently is teaching at Methodist Institute Izabela Hendrix, school of Architecture and Urban Planning. She is a member of the Project “Parametric Modeling of Territorial Occupation: proposal of new resources of geo-technologies to represent and plan the urban territory”, with the support of CNPq – National Council for the Scientific and Technological Development - Call MCTI/CNPq/MEC/CAPES Nº 43/2013, Process: 405664/2013-3. Since 2010 the author works in her Architectural Office.

Stefano Pensa, SiTI - Higher Institute on Territorial Systems for Innovation –Torino, IT

Stefano Pensa has completed his PhD in Architecture and Building Design in 2013, with a thesis concerning the use of geovisualization tool as a support for spatial planning and decision-making processes. He currently works as a researcher at SiTI - Higher Institute on Territorial Systems for Innovation, Torino (IT), where he carries out applied research and works at several European projects. His scientific interests range from the visualisation of spatial data to interactive systems, from web mapping to VGI. He also actively participates to a number of COST Actions. He is author of several national and international publications and he has been an invited speaker to a number of workshops.

Elena Masala, SiTI - Higher Institute on Territorial Systems for Innovation –Torino, IT

PhD in Architecture, in 2003 Elena Masala starts working as Research Fellow at Politecnico di Torino (Italy).  Since 2010, she carries out her activity at SiTI - Higher Institute on Territorial Systems for Innovation, in the research field of geovisualization. Her experience ranges from 3D modeling to video animations, from Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to interactive visualisations, with a strong experience on virtual environments. Her work aims at supporting spatial planning and decision-making processes by means of visual analysis, data exploration and communication. Her activity focuses on the usability of Planning and spatial Decision Support Systems (PSS and sDSS) to be applied in the operational research. She takes part to some COST Actions and she is author of several publications on both national and international books and journals.


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How to Cite
ZyngierC., PensaS., & MasalaE. (2014). Considerations on the Use of Visual Tools in Planning Processes: A Brazilian Experience. TeMA - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment.