Tom Fisher:
Emcee and Moderator

Thomas Fisher is a Professor and Dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota. Educated at Cornell University in architecture and Case Western Reserve University in intellectual history, he was the Editorial Director of Progressive Architecture magazine.

He has written 45 book chapters or introductions, over 250 articles, and seven books: In the Scheme of Things: Alternative Thinking on the Practice of Architecture; Salmela Architect; Lake/Flato Buildings and Landscapes; Architectural Design and Ethics; Ethics for Architects; The Invisible Element of Place: The Architecture of David Salmela; and Fracture Critical: How to Stop Designing Our Way to Disasters

2014 Keynote Speaker

Kongjian Yu

Professor and Dean, College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Peking University Visiting Professor, Harvard University Graduate School of Design President and Principal Designer, Turenscape

Kongjianu Yu

Kongjian Yu received his Doctor of Design at the Harvard GSD. He is the founder and Dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. He founded Turenscape, an internationally awarded firm of architecture, landscape architecture and urbanism. Yu's projects received numerous international awards, including the 2009 ULI Global Award for Excellence, the 2010 and 2012 ASLA award of Excellence, and 8 other ASLA Honor Awards (American Society of Landscape Architects) , three time winner of world landscape award in 2009, 2010 and 2011 World Architectural Festival. Yu publishes widely; his current publications include The Beautiful Big Foot, Landscape as Ecological Infrastructure and The Art of Survival. Through his works, Yu tries to reconstruct ecological infrastructure across scales and to define a new aesthetics based on environmental ethic. Yu was keynote speaker for the 40th, 43rd , 46th and 48th IFLA World Congress, the 2006 and 2008 ASLA annual conference, and has lectured worldwide. Yu served the Master Jury for the Aga Kahn Architecture Award in 2010, and the Super Jury for 2011 World Architecture Festival, he is currently teaching at Harvard Graduate School of Design as visiting professor. The most recent book: Designed Ecologies: The Landscape Architecture of Kongjian Yu (William Saunders ed., Birkhauser,2012) explores Yu’s work in eleven essays by the world noted authors and extensively documents 22 of selected projects.

Abstract: The Art of Survival and The Promise of Geodesign

The challenges we are facing today are big and becoming more and more complicated: climate change, food security, urbanization, ground water drop, air and water pollution, loss of biodiversity - to name just a few. To solve these problems, we need big data and systematical solutions, which are beyond the capacity of any single human brain. Design, the profession of problem solving, needs to harness the wealth of data available in meeting our modern challenges. Geodesign gives us a way to extend our capability, with the vast information technology, evermore powerful computation tools and ever big data, multiple shareholders and ever increasing participants, to conceive appropriate solutions to address our present challenges. Geodesign promises to upgrade the professions of design to meet the demands of this era. In this lecture, the author will present multiple experimental projects at various scales to demonstrate the positive impacts of a systematic and integrative approach on our degraded environment.



2014 Featured Speakers

Janine Benyus

Co-founder of Biomimicry 3.8

Janine Benyus

Janine Benyus is a biologist, innovation consultant, and author of six books, including Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. In Biomimicry, she names an emerging discipline that emulates nature’s designs and processes (e.g., solar cells that mimic leaves) to create a healthier, more sustainable planet. Since the book’s 1997 release, Janine has evolved the practice of biomimicry, consulting with businesses and conducting seminars about what we can learn from the genius that surrounds us. Her favorite role is Biologist-at-the-Design-Table, introducing innovators to 3.8 billion years of brilliant, time-tested solutions.

In 2010, Janine and her team combined the for-profit and non-profit arms into a single B-Corp called Biomimicry 3.8. Working as a social enterprise, Biomimicry 3.8 is the world’s leader in biomimicry innovation consulting, training for professionals, and curricula development for educators. Its missionis to inspire, educate, and connect the growingcommunityof biomimicy practitioners around the world. Biomimicry 3.8 runs a consulting bureau, a speaker’s bureau, a bio-knowledge subscription service, a K-University educator’s network, a regional network incubator, and a training system for Certified Biomimicry Professionals.

Over the past 14 years, Janine has personally introduced millions to the meme of biomimicry through two TEDtalks, hundreds of conference keynotes, and a dozen documentaries such as 11th Hour, Harmony, and The Nature of Things with David Suzuki, which aired in 71 countries. She has received several awards including The Heinz Award 2011, Time Magazine’s Hero for the Planet Award 2008, United Nations Environment Programme’s Champion of the Earth for Science and Technology 2009, the Rachel Carson Environmental Ethics Award, the Lud Browman Award for Science Writing in Society, and the Barrows and Heinz Distinguished Lectureships.

Her work in biomimicry has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, Esquire, The Economist, Time, Wired, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Nature, and more. In 2010, BusinessWeek named Janine one of the World’s Most Influential Designers. In 2012, she received the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-¬-Hewitt National 2 Design Mind Award, given in recognition of a visionary who has had a profound impact on design theory, practice, or public awareness.

Cities that Function Like Forests: Biomimicry Maps a Sustainable Future

Biomimicry—innovation inspired by nature—has inspired wind farms that function like fish schools, windows that collect energy like leaves, walls that clean themselves with rainwater, and more. Janine Benyus and her colleagues at Biomimicry 3.8 have a new dream. What if a city could function as elegantly as the forest next door? What if it could fix carbon, store water, cool temperatures, cleanse air, build soil, support biodiversity, and remain resilient despite disturbance? What if cities were functionally indistinguishable from wildlands? Janine and her team believe this is possible, but only if we embed quantitative aspirational goals into geodesign toolkits. Ecological Performance Standards are geo-coded metrics that challenge cities to meet or exceed the level of ecosystem services produced by native ecosystems: metric tons of water stored per acre each year, metric tons of air cleansed, centimeters of soil built and retained, etc. Each block would have a portion of the whole, and BIM-like simulation models would drive design of buildings, infrastructure, and landscapes that collectively meet citywide goals. Janine will describe the dream of mapping and modeling these standards worldwide to support the design of “generous” biomimetic cities. She’ll also discuss pilot studies with HOK planners in China and India. It’s time to unify fragmented sustainability efforts in cities. What better framework than one that is place-based, outcome oriented, and proven possible by the local ecologies that graciously gift us, 24/7, with conditions conducive to life?



Keith Besserud

AIA, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Keith Besserud

Besserud is the founder and leader of BlackBox, an applied research-oriented computational design resource within the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Along with design partner, Ross Wimer, Keith set up the BlackBox studio in 2007 to lead the development and integration of advanced computational concepts within the multi-disciplinary design processes in the office. In particular the group is interested in exploiting various types and sources of data to guide form-finding design processes; to tap into better information and integrate it more effectively into the earliest stages of design.

Within this approach the group relies on parametric modeling frameworks built with scripting expertise and parametric software, as well as a variety of digital simulation and search optimization tools, including those that are commercially available as well as those that are custom-developed by the BlackBox team. The group applies its interests and skills at multiple scales, ranging from the product scale to the building scale to the urban scale, and has most recently been developing tools and methodologies related to the semantic modeling of cities and the digital integration of urban systems of systems.

Keith received his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign and his Master of Architecture degree from Georgia Tech. After 20 years of practice he returned to school at the Stevens Institute of Technology where he earned a Master of Engineering degree in the Product Architecture & Engineering program, a highly innovative, intensive, trans-disciplinary program focused on the intersection of design and technology.

Abstract: Parametric (Pre)Tensions: Design at Warp Speed

For a project that entailed the design of a completely new city for 1.75 million people, SOM was asked by the client to develop a detailed digital model that would enable the creation of a large physical model for real estate and business development marketing purposes. The challenge was that the urban design had not yet matured to the level of detail that was required in the physical model. In this presentation we will share anecdotes (war stories) of how a team of designers improvised a workflow that attempted to introduce parametric tools (CityEngine) into an absurdly accelerated design workflow, highlighting both examples where parametrics saved the day, as well as examples of “major collateral damage”.



David Early

Principal The Planning Center DC&E

David Early is renowned throughout California as an expert on smart growth and sustainable development, with work in the fields of comprehensive planning, plan implementation, public paDavid Earlyrticipation, urban design, transportation and environmental review. His work spans diverse fields such as downtown revitalization, transit-oriented development, bicycle planning, greenhouse gas reduction and agricultural preservation. Early is an expert facilitator, and he has helped numerous groups achieve consensus on difficult development and conservation issues. He also has extensive knowledge of GIS planning concepts and has overseen the application of GIS to a number of major projects.

Early is particularly interested in the juncture of planning and public health, and has led numerous planning projects that focused on public health, including the City of Chino General Plan Update, which was the first General Plan in the state to focus specifically on public health.

Early has over 25 years of experience in planning and design, and has master's degrees in both Architecture and City Planning from UC Berkeley. He is a member emeritus of the California Planning Roundtable, whose mission is to promote creativity and excellence in planning by providing leadership in addressing important planning issues in California.

Abstract: Using Geodesign to Create Livable Healthy Communities

In order to move towards a more sustainable future, cities must tackle the topic from multiple geospatial perspectives. David Early of The Planning Center|DC&E will discuss how his land use planning and design firm uses GreenScore, a specialized suite of indicators and methodologies for measuring and evaluating the sustainability of the built environment. Based upon a set of carefully selected indicators and leveraging a dynamic suite of proprietary ArcGIS-based tools, GreenScore provides a qualitative and quantitative assessment of socio-economic and environmental factors that tell the story of how the built environment affects sustainability.

Mr. Early will describe GreenScore in its entirety, and will then focus in on three applications:

  • Park and Open Space Accessibility Analysis addressing park density and accessibility,
  • Developable Land Inventory and Build-Out Analysis identifying both private developable land within large planning areas and the constraints to its development, and
  • Community Health Analysis assessing health-related environmental conditions such as access to clean air, water, parks, and healthy food; land use patterns; transportation networks; social factors; and health care access and affordability.


Michael Flaxman

Michael Flaxman

Michael Flaxman has more than 20 years’ experience working in the field of spatial environmental planning and he has now launched his second startup, Geodesign Technologies, Inc. Most recently he was a professor at MIT and a co-founder of GeoAdaptive LLC. Prior to that he worked for Esri as the Industry Manager for Architecture, Engineering and Construction. He has his PhD from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Flaxman’s main goal is to continue to develop spatial scenario planning tools, ultimately to bring the benefits of sustainable environmental planning to a much wider global audience. He is actively developing new kinds of tools and techniques that blend spatial analysis, analytical rigor and design creativity. Specialties include GIS, spatial analysis, landscape planning, environmental planning, urban growth modeling, and environmental impact assessment.

Abstract: Integrating Scenario Planning within Geodesign

Scenario planning is frequently misunderstood. In the world of physical design and planning, it is often confounded with the generation of design alternatives. In the sciences, it is taken to be synonymous with uncertainty. Either perspective in isolation is potentially dangerous. The former can result in brittle designs which degrade or break due to changes in circumstance which should have been foreseen. The latter eliminates human agency and choice, which is often the most important factor to consider.

A more useful conceptual model is to consider endogenous and exogenous scenarios as a nested set. Design scenarios focus on internal choices, typically under control of designers or other stakeholders. These inherently assume a design context, and the contribution of broader scenario planning is to make this context explicit and testable. Exogenous scenarios allow the development of designs which respond to forces *not* under local control and/or inherently uncertain.

An interesting example is planning for habitat conservation relative to sea level rise and coastal development. In a local or state-level project, SLR and population growth are effectively exogenous forces. However, the pattern of land conservation and development is under local control. An effective planning system in this context must simulate how local policies interact with various levels of climate change and demographic change. Using a method known as "resilience planning", we can systematically test the performance of designs and policies across a range of potential futures. In addition to conventional performance metrics, this allows us to explicitly quantify the robustness of designs. We find that this hybrid approach meets the needs of designers, planners and scientists, but still requires considerable geodesign tools development.



Christopher Markuson

Director of Economic Development and Geographic Information Systems (EDGIS) for Pueblo County

Chris Markuson

Christopher Markuson serves as the Director of Economic Development and Geographic Information Systems (EDGIS) for Pueblo County. Chris serves as a senior advisor to the Board of County Commissioners, implementing progressive economic development policy and GIS technology throughout the County’s enterprise. Under his leadership, Pueblo County’s “Economic Gardening” and GIS programs have significantly increased County revenues and reduced costs of operations in Pueblo County. By utilizing GIS technology, the County departments he serves have downsized their budgets, work more efficiently, effectively coordinate with other agencies and better serve the public’s needs.

Chris has been recognized numerous times nationally for innovations in economic development, virtualized GIS, and GIS applications in emergency preparedness. Chris was proud to receive Esri’s Significant Achievement in GIS award in 2008 for his department’s work in GIS-driven economic development. Chris also received international acclaim from the United Nations, helping create systems to rapidly process and re-deploy satellite imagery to first responders working in the recovery efforts of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. He was also recently honored by Pueblo Chieftain readers as “Best Government Employee,” in their 2012 “Best of Pueblo” publication.

Chris has worked in a variety of capacities in both government and the private sector. He has served as Director of Information Technology for Natrona County Wyoming, President of Calico Multimedia, and IT Manager for Cottonwood Press, Inc. He was also a managing partner of BlueSky Quarterly Magazine, a popular quarterly publication devoted to Southeastern Colorado.

Chris received his B.S. in Landscape Architecture from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, and he has obtained several certifications and awards. Chris is the Local Government representative to Governor Hickenlooper’s Colorado State Government Data Advisory Board. He is the vice-chair of the Pueblo City Center Partnership Board of Directors and the chair of Pueblo’s Historic Preservation Commission. Chris also serves on the Pueblo Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, Pueblo County Community Development Corporation Board of Directors, Pueblo Performing Arts Guild Board of Directors and the Pueblo Community Health Center Board of Directors. He is an active member in numerous professional societies, furthering his reach into the GIS community. Chris is also active in political endeavors, including coordinating several local election campaigns.

He and his wife are proud parents of three fantastic children, and are proud to call Pueblo home.

Abstract: Using Geodesign to Build a Sustainable Economy, One Small Business at a Time

Research shows that the vast majority of job growth originates from small businesses. Yet for decades, economic development programs nationwide have focused on luring large commodity industries to relocate from community to community by offering lucrative incentives. Businesses often relocate to another community to improve their bottom line by taking advantage of tax breaks, free rent, and paying employees lower wages. When businesses relocate, they rarely mesh with the framework of an evolved downtown and thus are typically placed on the outskirts of a community, with little to no community input, master-planning or understanding of long-term budgetary impact to the community to support infrastructure, police and fire services.

Local entrepreneurial businesses, on the other hand, tend to pay a livable wage, offer employee benefits, require little to no additional community infrastructure investment, and are not tempted to relocate when the cost of doing business is cheaper elsewhere. Looking to capitalize on the strength of the existing business community, Pueblo Country created an Economic Gardening program within their GIS office to help local business grow their companies. This innovative program brings small business, entrepreneurs, community resources, and government officials together, and gives them access to the same location analytics tools used by many of the big corporations when they place their next store.

Small businesses often make major decisions about the direction of their company with little to no market information, risking their future on intuition. Because of this, small businesses frequently make costly mistakes and go out of business, even when their business concept is sound. But how do we know when to grow, and where to grow? How do we secure the vibrancy of a historic downtown? It takes everyone to make a sustainable community, but it takes sound economic planning based on real data to achieve it. Come hear how Pueblo County has used geodesign to help hundreds of businesses build community while growing profits far beyond their expectations.



Donald Monti

President and CEO, Renaissance Downtowns

Donald Monti

Mr. Monti has over 35 years of diverse experience covering all aspects of the real estate spectrum having played a major role in the development, construction and management of 80+ development projects. Renaissance has become the branded leader in the holistic and comprehensive development of suburban downtowns with a focus on mixed-use and transit oriented development. The Company is Master Developer in numerous projects throughout the Northeast, with a total development value in excess of $10 Billion along with along with a pipeline of 10,000 plus residential units.   The Company was recently designated as Master Developer for the Nassau Coliseum Hub redevelopment site, which represents Nassau County’s largest tract of redevelopable land.

Two of Mr. Monti’s Long Island based projects have been designated as a “Project of Regional Significance” by the Long Island Regional Planning Council, representing the transformative nature of Renaissance’s downtown redevelopment efforts. One of those projects is the $2 Billion+ dollar mixed-use TOD in Hempstead, NY which was awarded $5 Million by the New York State Economic Development Council, one of the largest awards provided to a single development effort. Hempstead represents a true game changer for Long Island and other mature suburbs by ushering in the ideals of large scale, mixed use, smart growth redevelopment that abide by Renaissance’s “Triple Bottom Line” approach to real estate development – social, environmental and economic responsibility. The Hempstead revitalization effort, slated to break ground in early 2014, is a prime example of the innovative and forward thinking UNiS model of development – Urban Nodes in Suburbia. As such, the project was featured by Mr. Monti as a case study at the United Nations World Energy and Water Forum in Dubai, in October 2012.

Under Mr. Monti’s leadership, the Company instituted the nation’s first grass roots, social networking campaign for public outreach (“Crowdsourced Placemaking”) which allows community members to provide input to the planning process through web based and in-person initiatives. Utilizing the patent pending Crowdsourced Placemaking process in Bristol, CT, the Company has engaged nearly 2,500 people on www.bristolrising.com, which has become a national example for broad based community outreach. Mr. Monti’s proactive approach to community engagement provides for a streamlined approval process by garnering public input and support for the Company’s redevelopment efforts from the outset of the planning process. The Bristol Rising community’s support lead to a unanimous 7-0 approval of the Company's development plan, slated to break ground in the upcoming months.

The success of Crowdsourced Placemaking was never more evident than in the recent 5-0, bipartisan approval of Renaissance’s Development Strategy in Huntington Station, demonstrating the ability for community driven ideas to result in timely implementation. As an outcropping of this success, Mr. Monti was approached by a number of Long Island’s young professionals who inquired about how to spread the word of responsible downtown redevelopment Island-wide, resulting in the formation of Destination LI, a fast growing community of individuals dedicated to creating the types of places that will retain and attract the young workforce and, in turn, drive the innovation economy.

Mr. Monti has been quoted in numerous nationally respected media sources as an expert in downtown revitalization and been a keynote speaker / panelist at numerous national conferences, including the CNU Annual Congress, Railvolution, American Planning Association, California Downtown Association, Wharton Real Estate Summit at the NYSE, Private Equity Real Estate Annual Forum, and Vision Long Island amongst others.

Mr. Monti is a member of the ULI, the APA and the CNU, along with several other leading organizations in the real estate industry. He has also been heavily involved in community affairs, including serving on the Board of Directors for the Don Monti Memorial Foundation and being honored as Man of the Year by the American Red Cross.

Abstract: Is Subruban Sprawl Dead? The Rise of Urban Living and UNiS – Urban Nodes in Suburbia

After 70 years of suburban sprawl development, there is a new pattern of growth emerging nationwide. Building upon trends over the last 20 years that saw a return to major cities, the next frontier for growth and economic development lies with areas known as “UNiS” – Urban Nodes in Suburbia. These regionally significant and local serving “Walk-Up” communities provide walkable, urban living within a transit oriented, mixed-use construct, creating an interconnected series of boutique downtowns located within mega-regions, often anchored by major metropolitan centers. It has been estimated that 90% of growth over the coming years – and decades – will occur in only 10% (and in some cases only 1%) of ALREADY developed land within major metropolitan regions.

One of the nation’s preeminent thought leaders of this new development model will discuss our nation’s transition from suburban sprawl to UNiS, with a focus on empirical data that demonstrates this trend along with methodologies to implement this next phase of our nation’s growth.



Douglas Olson

President, O2 Planning + Design, Calgary, Canada

Doug Olson

As President of O2, Douglas directs the firm’s work in landscape architecture, regional planning, urban design, and landscape ecology. His plans and designs are founded on local understanding, science, advanced technology, interdisciplinary collaboration and creative inspiration.

Douglas holds a Doctor of Design degree from Harvard University specializing in landscape planning, a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Manitoba and a Diploma in Forest Technology. He has served as an instructor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary. He is a member of the Canadian and American Societies of Landscape Architects and the International Association of Landscape Ecology. Douglas has worked in Africa, Central and South America, China, Colombia, Mongolia, and Slovenia, as well as throughout the United States and Canada. His work has appeared in international publications and has won several national awards.

His leadership philosophy is rooted in the conviction that manmade landscapes need to reflect and be respectful of cultural underpinnings, natural processes and valued elements. His professional focus is on the planning of urban and rural landscapes at multiple scales. Recent work examines the role of ecological infrastructure in determining sustainable patterns of use, development and conservation. The development of geodesign tools for landscape planning also figures prominently in O2’s projects.

Abstract: Geodesign for the City Region - three scales, three approaches

Geodesign holds great promise for addressing the complex and interrelated issues associated with urban growth management. Planning for both development and environmental protection in the City Region needs to be addressed in an integrated manner within a nested hierarchy of scales. Examples of differing geodesign approaches to urban growth management and design are provided at scales ranging from the regional landscape to the urban quarter. The approaches include multiple objective optimization modeling, rule based form making and expert opinion. All examples are actual planning and design projects that use measurable impacts to inform and evaluate alternatives within a geodesign environment.



Will Rogers

President and CEO, The Trust for Public Land

Will Rogers

Will Rogers is President and CEO of The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, playgrounds, community gardens, farms, historic places, and wilderness. Rogers is a nationally recognized advocate for land conservation and has given major addresses or interviews to the Urban Land Institute, the National Smart Growth Conference, the National Brownfields Conference, and Talk of the Nation, among others.

Before joining TPL, Rogers managed infill urban redevelopment projects for a Chicago-based real estate development company, managing both new construction and the rehabilitation of vacant industrial buildings for commercial, office, and residential use. Before becoming a developer and then an "undeveloper" Rogers was a commercial beekeeper, founding and managing a commercial honey production company in Bogotá, Colombia. He is a graduate of Stanford University and received his MBA from Harvard University. He lives with his family in Kensington, California, and continues to keep honeybees in his backyard.

Abstract: Geodesigning Our Way to Lovable Cities

Abstract: The Trust for Public Land ParkScore® Index is a groundbreaking effort to analyze how well parks and public open spaces in the 50 largest cities in the United States meet residents' needs for outdoor recreation and experience with the places they love. The Trust for Public Land is applying award-winning GIS models to newly assembled data on neighborhood parks and resident demography to evaluate how well park systems are meeting the needs of residents and contributing to healthy, vibrant communities. By showing how many residents are able to reach a park in a 10-minute walk, the ParkScore® GIS application pinpoints underserved neighborhoods and helps communities identify where to invest in new parks that meet multiple needs of the community like Green Infrastructure for storm water management and Fitness Zones for outdoor workouts. The website provides a platform to compare park systems in different cities. To aid our city park planning partners, The Trust for Public Land created a geodesign application called the "Park Evaluator," which is an online tool for city park planners and managers to create scenarios where new parks can be sited and ParkScore® metrics can be updated. The purpose of the tool is to help our city partners with their park planning process. The tool allows users to sketch in new parks, upload shapefiles of potential parks or select parcels that could become parks. Geoprocessing models run in the background to calculate the 10-minute walking distance buffer and demographic breakouts for who is served or not served. Alternative scenarios can be compared in order to make the best informed decisions possible about the city's park system.



Paul Ross

Founder, Chief Data Scientist

Paul Ross

Paul Ross is the owner and chief scientist of Paul M. Ross, a company deploying research, data analytics and advisory services in Australia and overseas focusing specifically on finance, economics and residential property markets. In early 2011 he established a research institute for an Australian financial institution where he was responsible for designing and implementing its strategic and operational platform. Since 2003 he has held multiple positions in various financial institutions deploying mathematical and statistical solutions helping understand the interconnectedness of human behavior, financial markets, and their impact of urban design.

Abstract: The Risk Business: Thriving in a Rapidly Changing World

Extreme weather, shrinking cities, globalization…we are in a new age of shock and awe. Planning for mitigation and emergency response is no longer enough. Rapid change and dwindling resources are making recovery harder. Communities around the world now need to examine not only where they build, but what they build. Resiliency--nature’s ability to adapt to catastrophic change--is entering the conversation, and it’s being used to characterize a community’s risk. Policy, regulation, and good governance now play key roles. What happens when large swaths of a country can no longer get insurance for their homes? What if financing is not available for a development project because it is within the expected 2-foot sea level rise? Determining hazards is a key part of any condition assessment. Understanding risk in all its forms is complex, probabilistic, and predictive. This presentation will provide insight into how risk managers see the ever changing world and what you need to know to create a successful geodesign project.



Carl Steinitz

Carl Steinitz

Tuesday, January 28th at 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. in the Esri Auditorium.

Open to everyone – attendees of Geodesign Summit, students, professors and all interested in Geodesign.

Carl Steinitz is the Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Landscape Architecture and Planning, Emeritus, at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. In 1967, Steinitz received his PhD degree in City and Regional Planning, with a major in urban design, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He also holds the Master of Architecture degree from MIT and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University. In 1965 he began his affiliation with the Harvard Graduate School of Design as an initial research associate in the Laboratory for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis. He has been Professor of Landscape Architecture and Planning at the Graduate School of Design since 1973.

Professor Steinitz has devoted much of his academic and professional career to improving methods to analyze large land areas and make design decisions about conservation and development. His applied research and teaching focus on highly valued landscapes that are undergoing substantial pressures for change. Professor Steinitz has directed studies in as wide ranging locales as the Gunnison region of Colorado; the Monadnock region of New Hampshire; the Snyderville Basin, Utah; Monroe County, Pennsylvania; the region of Camp Pendleton, California; the Gartenreich Worlitz in Germany; Muskau in Germany and Poland; the West Lake in Hangzhou, China; the Upper San Pedro River Basin in Sonora and Arizona; Coiba National Park in Panama; the regions of La Paz and Loreto in Baja California Sur, Mexico; Cagliari, Italy; the Tajo River and Henares River corridors in Spain; and the regions of Castilla La Mancha and Valencia in Spain.

Professor Steinitz has lectured and given workshops at more than 140 universities. In 1984, the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) presented Professor Steinitz with the Outstanding Educator Award for his “extraordinary contribution to environmental design education” and for his “pioneering exploration in the use of computer technology in landscape planning, especially in the areas of resource management and visual impact assessment.” In 1996 he received the annual “Outstanding Practitioner Award” from the International Society of Landscape Ecology (USA). In 2002, he was honored as one of Harvard University’s outstanding teachers.

Professor Steinitz is author of A Framework for Geodesign (Esri press, 2012) and principal author of Alternative Futures for Changing Landscapes (Island Press 2003). He has received several honorary degrees. Professor Steinitz is currently the External Academic Adviser to the European Union funded LE:NOTRE program to rationalize landscape education in Europe and Honorary Visiting Professor at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London.

Abstract: Geodesign with Little Time and Small Data

Professor Carl Steinitz will describe a recent three day workshop on the future of Soma, the nearest city north of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. It was held among geo-scientists, planners, landscape architects, local representatives and IT specialists at Tohoku University and was organized by his framework for geodesign. He will emphasize some important limitations of current digital support of geodesign studies.



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