Multi-criteria GIS analysis for school site selection in Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast, Tajikistan
Abstract: Introduction The aim of this study is to determine the locations for school construction in two isolated mountainous communities in Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) – Khorog and Porshnev towns. In recent decades, this region has become increasingly vulnerable to natural disasters. A major contributing factor to this vulnerability is the fact that very little land is available for human settlement and agriculture coupled with rapid population growth. In addition approximately 93% of the country is mountainous. The study will undertake a comparative analysis of two weighting methods employed in Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA). The first one is the popular Analytic Hierarchical Process (AHP) and the second one is a Rating method that rates criteria using a common scale (allocating 100 points among all criteria). Research Question/Objectives The two objectives of the research in addressing the aim of the study are: a) the development of a standardized set of criteria for school suitability analysis in GBAO and b) the comparative analysis of the site suitability results obtained using the two approaches (AHP versus Rating). Methodology There are six factor datasets used in the study: distance from emergency facilities, distance from existing schools, distance from roads, distance from rivers, distance from transformers and population density which were normalized into four scores: 1- Unsuitable, 2- Less Suitable, 3- Suitable and 4 – Most Suitable and two constraint datasets - slope and hazard risk areas. ArcGIS10.2.2 was used for this study. The distance buffer range was selected to suit the context of the study area. The Rating method included seven scenarios as a sensitivity analysis: all factors equally weighted and six scenarios where each factor was weighted five times the weight of the other five factors. Results In comparing the AHP methodology with the Rating methodology, the AHP method resulted in higher Suitable category values than the Rating method. Each of the seven scenarios results were influenced by the decision makers weighting allocation. AHP has been applied successfully in previous studies to tackle resource allocation, planning and conflict resolution problems. Applications using AHP have included site suitability analysis for landfill sites to identifying locations to site a windfarm. The criteria selected here are generic and could be used to identify location of medical facilities, place of worship and other facilities in the region. Implication of research The criteria used in the research will provide a framework for local governments to mainstream disaster risk reduction in school site planning. In addition, the research identified serious gaps in data that need to be addressed for similar studies specifically demographic and hazard related analysis i.e. georeferenced household data and earthquake fault line data. Furthermore, the study showcased a unique approach to integrating natural hazard data unlike other studies reviewed in the literature review.
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