Studies in Applied Geography and Spatial Analysis
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Studies in Applied Geography and Spatial Analysis

Addressing Real World Issues

Edited by Robert Stimson and Kingsley E. Haynes

This timely and fascinating book illustrates how applied geography can contribute in a multitude of ways to assist policy processes, evaluate public programs, enhance business decisions, and contribute to formulating solutions for community-level problems.
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Chapter 8: Urban growth in the Brisbane–South East Queensland region and its implications for emergency services provision: a Geographic Information Systems-based approach

Jonathan Corcoran, Robert Stimson, Prem Chhetri, David Rohde and Angela Higginson


For a long time geographers have used spatial analysis and modelling tools to investigating issues to do with accessibility to, and planning the provision of, public services in cities. In the 1970s gravity-based accessibility models were used to address issues to do with access opportunity for city residents to travel to services such as hospitals, and allocation-location models were used to help plan the optimal location of services, including the capacity of emergency services such as ambulance and fire services to respond to calls within specified time thresholds. The use of operations research tools was also common in planning optimal routings for the delivery of public services. Those approaches were basically concerned with solving the efficiency–equity trade-off dilemma according to specified welfare criteria (Schneider and Symons, 1971). Those concerns resulted in the emergence during the 1970s of a field of study known as welfare geography (Smith, 1977). At the same time geographers and others were developing complex urban models to forecast patterns of urban growth and expansion (Wilson, 1974), the outputs being useful in helping to address those issues. With advances made in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technologies it has become much easier to operationalize such modelling approaches (see, for example, Bell et al., 2000; Batty, 1992; Batty et al., 1999; Densham, 1994; Horner and Murray, 2003; Ward et al., 2001a, 2001b). The work discussed in this chapter was undertaken by a group of researchers (mostly geographers) using advanced GIS-enabled spatiotemporal modelling techniques to identify the determinants of emergency service incidents and develop a spatial decision support system to help formulate new planning strategies enhancing emergency response to calls relating to residential fires in the Brisbane–South East Queensland (SEQ) region, Australia’s third-largest and rapidly growing metro-city.

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