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Re-imagining the Municipal Land-Use Analysis Process

PHOTO: Prof. Emeritus Paul Zwick and Dr. Changjie Chen, UF Design, Construction, and Planning

Soon, UF could change the way land-use is determined in Florida, nationally, and across the globe.

“Just a few years ago, the typical process for county planning and zoning decision-making was to schedule a meeting, gather all interested parties in a room, and try to determine what the best land use designation for available parcels would be,” mused Paul Zwick, professor emeritus in DCP’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning.

But times change, as do expectations. The initial application, running on a laptop and localized server in Zwick’s office, took up to six months to complete processing of a municipality’s land use analysis. Enter then-graduate student Changjie Chen. Chen worked with UFIT Bioinformatics Specialist Alex Moskalenko to make the industry-standard GIS software work in a high-performance computing environment. With Alex’s guidance, Chen rewrote all of the code so it could run on HiPerGator. The results of this collaboration?

• Instead of six months, land-use analysis modeling takes five minutes running parallel processes on HiPerGator.
• The original software application generated three land use scenarios. Now? In five minutes, UF can produce 100 scenarios for a municipality or government entity.

Visit the website for full details of this project.