Journal of Earth Sciences and Geotechnical Engineering

GIS-based Spatial Accessibility to Islamic Facilities for Muslim Community in the Melbourne Metropolitan Area

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  • Abstract

    The Geographic Information System (GIS) technology has not been widely used in Islamic facilities including mosques, Islamic schools and halal butchers, and is an important issue for the Muslim communities in Melbourne, Australia. This study applied spatial methods to analyze the spatial accessibility to Muslim facilities of the population in Melbourne city. Spatial accessibility is needed because Muslim people believe that they must pray in the mosques, buy halal food and educate their children in Islamic environment. Therefore, this study aimed to (i) identify spatial accessibility by car to the above-mentioned Muslim facilities and (ii) identify disadvantaged Muslim communities and facilities using census data at the fine spatial resolution (i.e. at Mesh Block level). The disadvantaged Muslim commonalities in the Melbourne Metropolitan Area (MMA) were delineated in GIS environment using such techniques as spatial and hot spot analysis, network analysis, mean center and standard distance methods by using ArcGIS 10.3. The spatial accessibility was assessed in terms of travel distance and time, to highlight their differences. This study highlighted the most affected Muslim communities in terms of spatial accessibility, which are located in Hume, Whittlesea, and Melton and Casey suburbs. Furthermore, this study stressed that there is a lack of Mosques and Islamic Schools in the MMA, as approximately 5,000 Muslims do not have proper access to this kind of facilities. The findings of this study could be used by Muslim community when choosing a suburb for their families. Therefore, it is recommended that the urban and regional planners should take the obtained results into consideration to achieve fair and better distribution of Islamic facilities in Melbourne city.

    Keywords: Accessibility, Muslim facilities, analysis by GIS, hotspot, road network, Islamic school, halal butchers, mosques, Melbourne Metropolitan Area (MMA), Statistical Mesh Block (MB), Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1).