Environment Explorer

1997-2006, , The Netherlands

The Environment Explorer (LeefOmgevingsVerkenner or LOV in Dutch) allows planners and policy-makers to explore scenarios for a socially, economically and environmentally sound future for the Netherlands. The system models interacting autonomous processes as well as the influence of specified policy interventions. Policy measures from various governmental departments are translated into a spatial and dynamic image of future land use in the Netherlands Additionally a series of spatial indicators show the effect of future developments on population, employment, accessibility, and the natural environment. Spatial results of the Environment Explorer are presented as maps and animations.

The Environment Explorer is built using the Geonamica software platform and simulates processes on three geographical scales. On the national level, it combines economic, demographic, and environmental growth scenarios. On the regional level, the system models the distribution of national growth as well as the migration of jobs and people between the 40 COROP regions of The Netherlands. Figures for jobs and people are translated into a demand for surface area for different land uses, such as residential, industrial or commercial. These area demands are then fed to the local level, which allocates land uses on the map. At this level, land use is represented on a grid with a resolution of 500 meter.

We are especially proud that the Environment Explorer is among the first spatial models that are actually used for policy analysis. For this the model was extensively calibrated and validated to assure good results and increase confidence in the model.
The Environment Explorer is developed for the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (currently PBL) that used it for several scenario studies, for example a study that projects land use in 2030 under the current Dutch spatial planning policies.
Additionally, the system was used in a series of workshop sessions to support various policy sectors of the Province of Utrecht in their search for new housing and working locations as part of the development of their regional master plan (streekplan).

For more information, you can visit the website or contact us directly.