Modeling land suitability for the Tom's Creek Basin, Blacksburg using Geographic Information System

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Virginia Tech


The objective of this paper is to describe a framework for land use analysis that incorporates Geographic Information System (GIS) and to conduct a land suitability analysis for the Tom’s Creek Basin in the town of Blacksburg using the proposed GIS. The land use planning program proposed by Kaiser, Godschalk, and Chapin, Jr. (1995) which incorporates GIS is defined as the framework for a planner to develop land use plans in this study.

Land Suitability analysis, a sum-of-weighted factors technique, often criticized for the number of value judgments or assumptions required during the analysis is used to identify the developability of the land. However, suitability analysis can be made more comprehensive for identifying the location and area of zones suitable for a particular use by incorporating more professional and public input, refraining from aggregating information too far, and including GIS in the analysis process.

The land suitability analysis for the Tom’s Creek Basin identifies prime areas for future residential development in a number of parcels along Meadowbrook Drive and in the area between Tom’s Creek Road, Meadowbrook Drive, Shadow Lake Road, and US 460 Bypass. The suitability analysis identifies incompatibility in the Basin areas currently zoned residential or university with the land suitability findings. The suitability analysis findings for the Tom’s Creek Basin concurs with the replacement of the existing zoning districts by the new proposed zoning districts of Rural Residential, Rural Residential II, and Creek Valley Overlay Districts for developing land use in the Basin which is more environmentally sensitive.



land use planning, GIS, Modeling, land suitability analysis