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A method for examining the spatial dimension of multi-criteria weight sensitivity

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There is growing interest in extending GIS to support pluralistic decision-making processes where the perspectives and objectives of different stakeholders must be represented and, if possible, distilled into strategies that satisfy all decision participants. Augmenting GIS capabilities with multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) methods allows the relative attractiveness of different alternatives (e.g. sites, land-use plans, etc.) to be evaluated in light of subjectively weighted decision criteria. This paper presents a generic methodology for investigating the spatial dimension of multi-criteria weight sensitivity. The methodology is particularly well suited to the spatial domain, as it provides insight into both the robustness of individual stakeholder's evaluations as well as the geographic dimension of weight sensitivity. The methodology is illustrated using a study in which a small group of individuals representing different interests evaluated sites for new tourism development on the island of Grand Cayman, BWI. The results demonstrate how the proposed approach can aid users' understanding of a decision issue and potentially increase confidence in evaluation outputs by providing users with mechanisms to define non-statistical confidence intervals for weights and to visualize weight sensitivity cartographically. The paper concludes by discussing the broader value of this approach in other GIS-MCDM contexts and outlines areas for further research.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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