PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2010, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (1): 52-58.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2010.01.007

• Original Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The Environmental Evaluation of Human Settlement as a Tool for Urban Planning and Urban Policy Studies

GAO Xiaolu   

  1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Online:2010-01-25 Published:2010-01-25


From a theoretical perspective, the author argues that evaluation of the environments of human settlement has become an essential tool for urban planning and urban policy studies. In practice, it has three folds of functions: First, it provides a spatial expression tool for describing the current situation of the environments with comparison to that of other places and cities; Second, it helps communicate and get consensus among people and stakeholders in terms of how to improve the environments of human settlement; Third, it is an effective tool for policy analysis and for decision making. The objectives, contents, and principles of the evaluation out of each of the three functions are elaborated. Within this framework, the progress and trends of relevant research were discussed reviewing the English and Chinese literature. It is argued that domestic research on the evaluation of urban and rural environments is inadequate in that most of the current work have focused on the spatial expression of the environments, whereas only a few have put emphasis on the roles for communication and consensus, and policy analysis and decision making. Due to this shortage, the application of the research outcome in urban planning and urban policies is limited. To enhance the policy significance of the studies on the evaluation of human settlement environments, it is necessary to shift the focus point of the study. In particular, the valuation of environments and analysis of policy effects should be strengthened.

Key words: evaluation of human settlement environments, policy analysis, spatial expression, valuation