The design phase during a planning process involves creating and analyzing a set of possible solutions (alternative courses of action) to problem identified in the condition assessment phase (intelligence phase). This phase calls for a transition of the mindset from the \ problem space\ to the \ solution space.\

Depending on the spatial scale and complexity of the decision problem, the design alternatives are either created by humans (e.g., design professionals, public, etc. creating a land use plan), or generated by some software (e.g. an expert system generating a warehouse space layout plan). The design steps \ concept design\ and \ detail design\ are the steps involved when humans are creating the design alternatives. The step \ alternative generation\ is involved when some software is generating the design alternatives.

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