Use of Geographic Information System (GIS) in Land Suitability Analysis for Urban Development; Case Study of Kisii Town, Kenya
Land use planners often make complex decisions within a short period of time when they must take into account sustainable development and economic competitiveness. Land suitability analysis would be very useful in this respect. Kisii town is one of the fastest growing urban areas in western part of Kenya. The present urban development and growth in situation in the town is characterized by a state of mixed and conflicting land uses. This has been partly attributed to lack of land suitability analysis to guide proper land use allocation strategies. During the last 20 years, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has emerged from the scientific laboratories into the heart of conventional urban planning practice. During this period, urban planners have been aggressive adopters and adapters and strong advocates for local governments deploying GIS. This is true at least in part because GIS provides spatial analysis and data manipulation capabilities that align closely with the professional needs of urban and regional planners. The objective of this study was to demonstrate how GIS can be use based in multi criteria evaluation technique in land suitability analysis for urban development. This process involves a consideration of five factors, that is, slope, road proximity/accessibility and ecological sensitivity by using multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) method in decision making process. With the support of Geographic Information System (GIS) and multi-criteria evaluation techniques, these four factors were selected and be used in the analysis of the land suitability analysis for urban growth in Kisii town, Kenya. The main source of data were LiDAR image that was acquired in 2012. Interviews were also conducted with various stakeholders in urban planning in Kisii town. Direct observations were done. The process considers multiple land use objectives, determines the amount of land required by each together with their environmental requirements. This was in view of the fact that the practice of urban land use allocation has all along been begged on economic factors devoid of environmental concerns which play a vital role for sustainable urban development. The results showed that from the study approximately 18.46km2 of the study area is very suitable and this is represented by nearly 26% of the study area. The area under suitable criteria for urban development is 31% represented by 22.01 km2. In addition nearly 21% of the study area of moderate suitability for urban development and this is represented by 14.91km2. Areas of least suitable for urban development are represented by 9.23km2 which makes up 13% of the study area. Unsuitable areas for urban development consist approximately 6.39km2 represented by 9% of the study area.