Planning for the future: combining spatially-explicit public preferences with tenure policies to support land-use planning

Azadeh Karimi*, Vanessa M. Adams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Allocating multiple land-uses in the landscape while accommodating social preferences is an overarching goal of an effective land-use plan. While there is momentum to include social preferences into planning, successful integration of preferences for multiple objectives, such as development and conservation, have been limited to date. Our aim was to examine how land-use designations can be modified to reduce conflict among multiple social preferences in a regional study area in Baffle Basin, Queensland state, Australia. We collected empirical data on spatially-explicit preferences for land-uses using Public Participation Geographic Information System (PPGIS) and integrated them into land-use planning. We used the systematic conservation planning tool Marxan with Zones to optimize zone allocations in a way that met objectives for these land-use preferences while minimizing conflicts as much as possible. We considered four scenarios that ranged from no constraints (assuming we could zone the region without consideration of existing land tenures or policies) through to full constraints (including preference against use, existing land-use, and land tenure types). We considered a full range of targets (10%–90%) to explore the extent to which targets influence the ability to align zones with preferences or result in possible conflicts. In the fully allocated outputs (90% targets), we found spatial land-use zonings were similar across scenarios; however for lower targets there were spatial variations in priority areas depending on the constraints included. In terms of meeting objectives, all targets could be met across scenarios up to 50% targets and tourism and residential preferences were the first to have missed targets and displayed the largest shortfalls for higher targets. Suggesting that for targets higher than 50% trade-offs in land-uses and social preferences will be made. The findings of this study can inform future landscape arrangements in terms of the influence of social preferences on zone allocations in the context of current and future use policies in order to reduce potential conflicts and make more socially acceptable land-use decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-508
Number of pages12
JournalLand Use Policy
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • land-use preferences
  • land-use planning
  • land tenure
  • Marxan with Zones
  • systematic conservation planning


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