The purpose of this paper is to investigate the information-seeking behaviour of Malaysian Town Planners (MTPs) in fulfilling their specific work task, which is to prepare the Development Proposal Report (DPR) that incorporates flood risk reduction aspects for planning permission purposes. The researcher investigated MTPs’ involvement in the DPR preparation, types of information sought from five town planning reference instruments, the uses of five town planning reference instruments and additional information sources and the problem faced when seeking for and using of the information from five town planning reference instruments for the DPR preparation.
This study was based on quantitative research using the postal survey method. Data were collected from 60 MTPs using questionnaires, with a response rate of 81.7 per cent.
The study showed that limited professional knowledge is the main factor influencing information-seeking behaviour of MTPs in the DPR preparation. The study revealed that MTPs seek information which are mainly related to the incorporation of flood risk reduction aspects in site planning, detailed information on existing conditions for all planning sectors especially for planning sectors that influence flood risks, detailed information on how development controls that influence the risks of flooding should be considered and detailed information on site planning aspects that influence flood risks from five town planning reference instruments. The MTPs gave various answers for the seven factors influencing their choice of use for each town planning reference instruments. Familiarity and prior success and trustworthiness factors got the most absolutely very important answers; followed by the quality factor with the most important answers; the timeliness factor with the most moderately important answers; accessibility factor with the most somewhat important answers; the cost factor with the most not so important answers; and the packaging factor with the most not important at all answers. The MTPs used additional sources such as the local planning authority, other agencies, colleagues, internet, clients, books, journals, seminar or conference papers and magazines to get useful information for the DPR preparation besides the five town planning reference instruments. The study found that the top three problems encountered by the MTPs during their information seeking for and using of information were the related information on incorporation of flood risk reduction aspects in site planning in all five town planning reference instruments were not sufficient, not in detail and not complete.
Only 60 MTPs, whose DPRs for lowland development areas with planning permission from the Selayang Municipal Council, Selangor, Malaysia, from the year 2012 to 2014 were chosen as samples in this study. Besides that, only site planning aspects in five town planning reference instruments were taken into account in this study.
This paper provides useful understanding of the information-seeking behaviour of MTPs in fulfilling one of their professional tasks, which is preparing the DPR that incorporates flood risk reduction aspects for planning permission purposes.
Being the first study on information-seeking behaviour of MTPs, it contributes to the very limited research literature on the topic for this profession in the world generally and Malaysia specifically.
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