Developing policy scenarios for sustainable urban growth management: A Delphi approach

Sajida Perveen, Md Kamruzzaman, Tan Yigitcanlar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


In many parts of the world, a rapid urbanization process is taking place at an unprecedented scale, and its drastic impacts on societies and the environment are evident. To combat the externalities of such rapid, and to a degree uncontrolled, development, many cities around the globe introduced various urban growth management policies. However, policy making-to provide sustainable outcomes, while generating growth opportunities-has been a daunting task for urban administrators. To ease the task, scenario-based planning methods are introduced to produce alternative visions for managing urban growth in sustainable ways by incorporating various socio-environmental issues. However, even though modelling urban growth and associated impacts based on these scenarios have emerged to strengthen and quantify the future of urban policies and related planning actions, this process has a number of glitches. Major issues include the uncertainties associated with the selection of suitable methods to generate scenarios, identify indicators to be used to assess scenarios, evaluate scenarios to prioritize for policy formulation, and assess the impacts of policy scenarios. This paper aims to address the challenge of developing suitable policy scenarios for sustainable urban growth. As for the methodological approach, the study undertakes a thorough review of the literature and current practices, and conducts a two-round Delphi survey-involving experts from public, private and academic sectors specialized in the fields of urban planning, environmental planning, social planning, transportation modelling, and economic development. The expert driven policy scenarios are validated in a local context by comparing findings against the policy options as proposed in the South East Queensland Regional Plan 2017 (Australia). The findings offer valuable guidelines for planners, modellers, and policy makers in adopting suitable methods, indicators, and policy priorities, and thus, easing the daunting task of generating sustainable policy solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1787
Number of pages27
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Australia
  • Delphi method
  • Policy scenarios
  • Regional plan
  • Scenario-based planning
  • South East Queensland
  • Sustainability indicators
  • Sustainable urban development
  • Urban growth management

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