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A systematic review of the applications of multi-criteria decision-making methods in site selection problems

Jeremy Yee Li Yap (Faculty of Computing and Informatics, Multimedia University, Cyberjaya, Malaysia)
Chiung Chiung Ho (Faculty of Computing and Informatics, Multimedia University, Cyberjaya, Malaysia)
Choo-Yee Ting (Faculty of Computing and Informatics, Multimedia University, Cyberjaya, Malaysia)

Built Environment Project and Asset Management

ISSN: 2044-124X

Article publication date: 22 August 2019

Issue publication date: 22 August 2019

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to perform a systematic review on the application of different multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) methods in solving the site selection problem across multiple problem domains. The domains are energy generation, logistics, public services and retail facilities. This study aims to answer the following research questions: Which evaluating criteria were used for each site selection problem domain? Which MCDM methods were frequently applied in a particular site selection problem domain?

Design/methodology/approach

The goals of the systematic review were to identify the evaluating criteria as well as the MCDM method used for each problem domain. A total of 81 recent papers (2014–2018) including 32 papers published in conference proceedings and 49 journal articles from various databases including IEEE Xplore, PubMed, Springer, Taylor and Francis as well as ScienceDirect were evaluated.

Findings

This study has shown that site selection for energy generation facilities is the most active site selection problem domain, and that the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) method is the most commonly used MCDM method for site selection. For energy generation, the criteria which were most used were geographical elements, land use, cost and environmental impact. For logistics, frequently used criteria were geographical elements and distance, while for public services population density, supply and demand, geographical layout and cost were the criteria most used. Criteria useful for retail facilities were the size (space) of the store, demographics of the site, the site characteristics and rental of the site (cost).

Research limitations/implications

This study is limited to reviewing papers which were published in the years 2014–2018 only, and only covers the domains of energy generation, logistics, public services and retail facilities.

Practical implications

MCDM is a viable tool to be used for solving the site selection problem across the domains of energy generation, logistics, public services and retail facilities. The usage of MCDM continues to be relevant as a complement to machine learning, even as data originating from embedded IoT devices in built environments becomes increasingly Big Data like.

Originality/value

Previous systematic review studies for MDCM and built environments have either focused on studying the MCDM techniques itself, or have focused on the application of MCDM for site selection in a single problem domain. In this study, a critical review of MCDM techniques used for site selection as well as the critical criteria used during the MCDM process of site selection was performed on four different built environment domains.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank the sponsors Telekom Malaysia Research & Development for funding the project (TM RnD MMUE/160021) which has enabled this paper to be written.

Citation

Yap, J.Y.L., Ho, C.C. and Ting, C.-Y. (2019), "A systematic review of the applications of multi-criteria decision-making methods in site selection problems", Built Environment Project and Asset Management, Vol. 9 No. 4, pp. 548-563. https://doi.org/10.1108/BEPAM-05-2018-0078

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited