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Integrating Geographic Information Systems (GIS) with Sustainability Planning in Eleuthera, Bahamas

Authors: Philana A Jeremiah*, University of Arizona - Geography & Development
Topics: Coastal and Marine, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Tourism Geography
Keywords: GIS, Environmental Sustainability, the Bahamas, Small island, Environmental planning.
Session Type: Lightning Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Islands in the Caribbean region are continually challenged to address critical development issues, whether they are economic, land use, or environmental. Approximately ten years ago, a local Non-Government Organization (NGO) hosted a discussion with a diverse group of concerned residents and community leaders to discuss the development of the southern part of the Bahamian island of Eleuthera, Lighthouse Point. Local and national government officials identified this area for major economic development. However, given the history of failed large-scale economic development projects and the potential for physical damage to the island, community leaders and residents convened to create a plan for environmental sustainability. These concerns prompted community leaders to be open to exploring alternative models and tools for regional planning within the context of economic, social, and environmental development. The purpose of this research project was to explore the willingness of NGOs in the Bahamas to utilize Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data as an analytical tool for addressing environmental sustainability issues. Introducing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for understanding natural and human impact on island ecosystems. Mixed methods were used to develop a conceptual framework for describing needs, actions, and desires towards achieving environmental sustainability goals. Results highlighted the need for NGOs to consider the use of GIS technology as an analytical tool for achieving SDG goals.

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