Multi-Objective Optimization in Spatial Planning: Improving the Effectiveness of Multi-Objective Evolutionary Algorithms (Non-Dominated Sorting Genetic Algorithm II)


The multi-objective nature of most spatial planning initiatives and the numerous constraints that are introduced in the planning process by decision makers, stakeholders, etc., synthesize a complex spatial planning context in which the concept of solid and meaningful optimization is a unique challenge. This article investigates new approaches to enhance the effectiveness of multi-objective evolutionary algorithms (MOEAs) via the adoption of a well-known metaheuristic: the non-dominated sorting genetic algorithm II (NSGA-II). In particular, the contribution of a sophisticated crossover operator coupled with an enhanced initialization heuristic is evaluated against a series of metrics measuring the effectiveness of MOEAs. Encouraging results emerge for both the convergence rate of the evolutionary optimization process and the occupation of valuable regions of the objective space by non-dominated solutions, facilitating the work of spatial planners and decision makers. Based on the promising behaviour of both heuristics, topics for further research are proposed to improve their effectiveness.