January 22–23, 2015
Esri Headquarters,
Redlands, California

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

Keynote Speakers

Noel Cressie

Noel Cressie

Noel Cressie is Distinguished Professor, National Institute for Applied Statistics Research Australia (NIASRA), University of Wollongong, Australia. He has published extensively in the areas of statistical modelling, analysis of spatial and spatio-temporal data, and empirical-Bayesian and Bayesian methods. He is the author of the 1993 book, “Statistics for Spatial Data, Revised Edition” and co-author (with Christopher K. Wikle) of the 2011 book, “Statistics for Spatio-Temporal Data,” both published by John Wiley and Sons. Themost recent book has won a 2011 PROSE award from the Association of American Publishers and the 2013 DeGroot award from the International Society for Bayesian Analysis.

Dr. Cressie is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics. He is a recipient of the 2009 R.A. Fisher Lectureship, awarded by the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies to recognize the importance of statistical methods for scientific investigations, and he is a recipient of the 2014 Pitman Medal awarded by the Statistical Society of Australia for outstanding achievement in, and contribution to, the discipline of statistics.

Abstract: Spatio-Temporal Statistics in Geodesign

Noel Cressie, Distinguished Professor and Director, Centre for Environmental Informatics, University of Wollongong, Australia

Geodesign's principles are closely related to those of statistical experimental design. Those principles (for statistical experimental design) are "blocking," "randomization," and "replication," and more recently emphasis has been on capturing the geographic variability through spatial statistics. Provided the spatial statistical models have no bias (achieved through blocking and randomization), scientific inferences can be optimized by obtaining more data (i.e., replication) but at a cost. However, the temporal variability is often de-emphasized. In contrast, geodesign is fundamentally about actions that bring about change, although its implementation up to now has not systematically accounted for uncertainties. In this talk, I suggest the use of probabilities, particularly conditional probabilities, that allow spatio-temporal statistics to handle uncertainties in the data and the processes.

Joseph Minicozzi

Joseph Minicozzi

Joseph Minicozzi, AICP is the principal of the econometric consulting firm Urban3 (U3). Prior to creating U3, he served the new projects director of the downtown Asheville real estate developer Public Interest Projects. He has also served the Executive Director for the Asheville Downtown Association. Before moving to Asheville, Joe worked in the public sector as the administrator of the Form Based Code for downtown West Palm Beach, FL. Joe’s work has garnered national attention in Planetizen, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Planning Magazine, The New Urban News, National Association of Realtors, Atlantic Cities, and the Center for Clean Air Policy’s Growing Wealthier report. Joe is a sought after lecturer on city planning and downtown development issues. He has been featured at the Congress for New Urbanism, the American Planning Association, the International Association of Assessing Officers, and New Partners for SmartGrowth conferences as a paradigm shift for thinking about city development patterns.

Joe is a founding member of the Asheville Design Center, a non-profit community design center dedicated to creating livable communities across all of Western North Carolina. He received his Bachelor of Architecture from University of Miami and Masters in Architecture and Urban Design from Harvard University.

Abstract: Mapping the Dollars and Sense of Land Use Patterns

Municipalities across the country have been struggling to meet financial obligations as revenues decline and costs increase. Cities across America are going broke by design. Quite literally! As budgets tighten and programs are slashed, cities are using Geodesign methods to quantify their productivity, growing smarter while reducing their impact environmentally and financially. Joe Minicozzi will draw from years of research to visualize the intersection of policy and economics. He will demonstrate economic productivity of urban growth patterns, and show how cities adopt growth and design strategies to ensure long-term financial solvency.

Featured Speakers

Colby M. Brown, AICP PTP

Colby Brown

Mr. Brown is currently Director of Local Government at Citilabs, responsible for managing the development and marketing of products and services offered to cities, counties, and other local government agencies. Past roles at Citilabs include technical support, global training program management, and enterprise technology sales and marketing. During his time at Citilabs, Colby has managed numerous consulting projects related to his areas of core expertise in land use forecasting, mesoscopic traffic simulation, and performance-based transportation planning.

Abstract: Sugar Access

People and businesses are attracted to cities by the public services and amenities they offer—but what good is a city if you can’t get anywhere? Sugar Access is an application for the ArcGIS Platform designed to help local governments connect residents and businesses with the destinations they care about, by measuring and testing the performance of transportation networks and development plans. In particular, Sugar Access allows GIS users to calculate measures of accessibility, or the ease with which points of interest and other destinations can be reached using the multimodal transportation network. In prior research, accessibility metrics have been used to attract new businesses to cities, boost property values and hence tax bases, demonstrate equitable and inclusive provision of public services, and raise grant funds to build new infrastructure providing safe routes to school as well as boosting community livability. Citilabs is pleased to introduce Sugar Access to the geodesign community and present prototypical examples of use cases in real cities around the world.

David Early

David Early

David Early, Principal at PlaceWorks, is renowned throughout California as an expert on smart growth. For more than 25 years, David has worked with communities throughout the State, and has helped numerous clients prepare successful grant applications to help fund long-range planning efforts. As budgets become increasingly constrained, David is working with jurisdictions to develop creative funding strategies to ensure that important projects are able to proceed. He is a member emeritus of the California Planning Roundtable, whose mission is to promote excellence in planning by providing leadership in addressing important planning issues in California. David is both AICP, LEED AP certified.

Abstract: PlaceWorks

PlaceWorks is a California-based urban planning and design firm partnering with Esri to develop tools that allow us to measure and evaluate the built environment. David Early, one of PlaceWorks’ founding principles, will highlight several exciting case studies illustrating how PlaceWorks is using Geodesign principles, and GeoPlanner in particular, to create new interactive tools that enable both city planners and the public to visualize and assess the natural and social outcomes of proposed designs and plans. These tools offer simple desk top and handheld interfaces, a powerful analytic backbone and graphically-rich visual results to create and test land use alternatives and get immediate feedback in regards to a plan’s performance against a predefined set of indicators.

Stephen Ervin

Stephen Ervin

Stephen M. Ervin, MLA, PhD, FASLA, is the Assistant Dean for Information Technology at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and a Lecturer in the Department of Landscape Architecture. Ervin teaches and conducts research in the areas of design, computing, media and technology, with a special interest in landscape modeling and visualization, and the integration of CAD, GIS and emerging geodesign technologies and practices. He is the author, together with co-author Hope Hasbrouck, of 'Landscape Modeling: Digital Techniques for Landscape Visualization' published by McGraw-Hill (ASLA Merit award winner in 2002). Ervin has taught and lectured worldwide, participated in landscape and urban planning projects in America, Europe and Japan and China, and published articles in a number of journals including GIS World, Landscape Architecture Magazine, Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, Computer Graphics and Applications, and others. His most recent teaching has been landscape planning and urban design in China, together with landscape architect Yu Kongjian of Peking University. He holds a Master's degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a PhD in Urban Studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ervin received the ESRI Award for Lifetime Achievement for Geodesign Development in 2012.

Abstract: A Research Agenda for Geodesign

As geodesign inherits equally from the sciences (computational, social, natural, and geographic, where research is fairly well-understood) and the design professions (where 'research' is less well-defined), a research agenda for geodesign will necessarily be a hybrid enterprise. We examine several precedents from the history and literature of GIS, computer science, and design; and propose a map of the geodesign research space, based on Steinitz's four intersecting domains ("The People of the place, Design Professions, Geographic Sciences, and Information Technologies".) We conclude by identifying a number of emergent geodesign research questions, and some strategies for pursuing them.

Zach Ferdaña

Zach Ferdana

Zach Ferdaña is the Lead Coastal Resilience Manager of The Nature Conservancy. He supports U.S. and international projects in ecosystem-based management, climate adaptation, and marine spatial planning. He leads the Coastal Resilience program, an array of projects using online decision support tools to promote the role of coastal habitats in hazard mitigation, restoration and resilience planning. As part of the Conservancy’s Global Marine Initiative Zach provides planning, spatial analysis, project management and geodesign expertise to the organizations’ Climate and Disaster Risk Reduction strategy.

He received his degree in Environmental Studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, with concentration in Landscape Ecology and Marine Mammal Biology in 1994. He then went on to earn an advanced technical degree in GIS at the University of Washington in 1998. He joined The Nature Conservancy in 2000.

Abstract: Are we resilient yet? Using technology and nature to support coastal communities

Katrina, Macondo, Sandy, Odile – these and other disasters change the land and seascape dramatically, forcing communities and nations to reconsider how and where we live and build along our coasts. A question for spatial analysts, database managers, app developers and technical project leads: how can a web-based mapping tool provide decision support pre and post-disaster while at the same time address unique circumstances and the ongoing threat of climate change? Coastal Resilience is such a decision support tool intended to guide communities to become aware of and reduce the ecological and socio-economic risks caused by coastal hazards. The tool is available across the US and globally to assess risk and identify nature-based solutions, operating at multiple scales. Every time a natural or human-caused disaster strikes Coastal Resilience must respond with intuitive design, effective communication, and optimal performance. A core feature of the tool is the open source apps that integrate coastal hazards data with social, ecological, economic and coastal engineering information. Coastal Resilience was recently announced the winner of the best professional and scientific app for disaster risk reduction by Esri and the UN Office of Disaster Risk Reduction. The winning Coastal Defense app in Coastal Resilience identifies the coastal protection value of existing reef and wetland habitats and allows users to design restoration solutions. The most popular and in-demand app, it quantifies how natural habitats including oyster and coral reefs, marshes, mangroves, beach dunes and seagrass beds protect coastal areas by decreasing wave-induced erosion and inundation. This talk will focus on using technology and nature to ultimately help communities become more resilient. Coastal Resilience has been developed by The Nature Conservancy, NOAA, USGS, Natural Capital Project, University of California at Santa Cruz, the University of Southern Mississippi, the Association of State Floodplain Managers, and dozens of local partners.

Mike Flaxman

Mike Flaxman

Michael Flaxman, President of Geodesign Technologies Inc.

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: A Research Agenda for Geodesign

As geodesign inherits equally from the sciences (computational, social, natural, and geographic, where research is fairly well-understood) and the design professions (where 'research' is less well-defined), a research agenda for geodesign will necessarily be a hybrid enterprise. We examine several precedents from the history and literature of GIS, computer science, and design; and propose a map of the geodesign research space, based on Steinitz's four intersecting domains ("The People of the place, Design Professions, Geographic Sciences, and Information Technologies".) We conclude by identifying a number of emergent geodesign research questions, and some strategies for pursuing them.

Kelleann Foster

Kelleann Foster

Professor Kelleann Foster, RLA, ASLA, is the Lead Faculty for the Online Geodesign Graduate Programs at Penn State, the Director of The Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, and Associate Dean for the College of Arts and Architecture.

Kelleann has 30-years of professional practice experience as a landscape architect and has been teaching at Penn State for 25-years. A recent sabbatical, based at Esri’s World Headquarters in Redlands, CA, enabled her to research how Penn State’s new online geodesign programs could most effectively engage students in a collaborative, virtual studio environment. This research resulted in the creation of Penn State’s new geodesign graduate programs -- a Geodesign Option in the MGIS degree, a Graduate Certificate in Geodesign, and a Master in Professional Studies in Geodesign – all offered exclusively online through Penn State’s award winning World Campus.

Much of Kelleann’s work uses computer technologies to communicate alternative scenarios to citizens. Her work has received national and international recognition. She also focuses on generating awareness about career opportunities as a landscape architect. Kelleann authored a book, part of John Wiley & Sons “Careers in Design” series— titled “Becoming a Landscape Architect.” In 2014 the book became available in Chinese through Chinese Architectural Press.

When she’s not working, Kelleann can be found exploring the world via bicycle and she is enjoys anything connected to chocolate! She is a board member of the central Pennsylvania land trust, ClearWater Conservancy, and helps with their annual fundraiser “For the Love of Art and Chocolate.”

Abstract: A Massive, Open, Global Engagement with Geodesign

“Geodesign: Change your world” is a unique approach to scaling up awareness about geodesign to a global audience. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are gaining visibility as a wide-reaching educational trend to provide exposure on topics, theories and techniques in any field. Marrying MOOCs with Geodesign was a crazy idea carried out for 5-weeks in early Fall 2014. Over 17,000 people registered from an amazing 168 countries. The results yielded a unique world-wide conversation about geodesign.

How do you engage a global audience of thousands and help them appreciate the key role geodesign can play in their world? This presentation will share the challenges and opportunities experienced with the development and delivery of this MOOC. It will also highlight the distinctive perspective those from different cultures and backgrounds contributed to the conversation.

The course’s dynamic structure breaks from the typical video-only format of MOOCs. An innovation used here is the inclusion of illustrative case studies, which are interactively mapped and linked to project details. Sensitive to the MOOC’s audience, we curated geodesign case study examples from an international perspective: over half are outside the United States. A theme each week centered on a “change agent.” The case studies, readings and interactive website activities played to the weekly theme. As a free course, it had to be dynamic to keep them coming back each week.

Ulf Månsson

Ulf Månsson

Ulf Månsson, senior project manager and partner manager, has more than 20 years of experience in the geospatial industry. Since starting out as a developer for the ESRI ArcInfo platform he has continuously been interested in combining different technologies for innovation. In 1997 he developed one of the first Web-mapping solutions in the world.

He has focused on connecting data from all kind of geospatial systems, gaining recognition as a Spatial ETL expert. In 2006 he received Safe Software’s “FME Innovator Award” and in 2007 he was among the first to be granted official "FME Certified Professional" accreditation.

In 2013 he invented a method to stream geodata into the game Minecraft. This was used to create a virtual replica of Stockholm in the project “Blockholm” - lead by The Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design.

He is currently working at SWECO in Sweden, a company group specializing in sustainable engineering and design. SWECO is one of Europe’s most respected companies in the fields of consulting engineering, environmental technology and architecture. With approximately 10,000 employees, they carry out about 37,000 projects for 15,000 clients annually, around the world.

Abstract: Geodesign and Gaming

Recently, several geodata 3D gaming initiatives have made the news. Many of these initiatives are based on the very popular block building game Minecraft created by Mojang AB:

  • Government mapping agencies are freely releasing countrywide datasets to promote geography learning in school.
  • Organizations launch projects for involving gamers in citizen participation projects.
  • Museums and design centers create large scale experiments with help of geodata models.
  • Online gamers spontaneously form collaborative crowdsourcing groups for building models of entire cities.

Several hundred millions of users play games like Minecraft. Based on experience from the above initiatives, the presenter will show examples and demonstrate techniques for bringing the creative efforts from this massive user base into the Geodesign perspective.

So far the focus has been mainly on exporting data into the games virtual worlds. However, a life cycle perspective is needed to enable harvesting of data from the gaming community. Recent improvements in the Spatial ETL platform FME makes this possible by allowing integration with GIS, CAD and BIM.

The presenter will also try to illustrate the potential in exchanging ideas with the gaming industry.

Mark Reiner

Mark Reiner

Mark Reiner is currently owner of Non Sequitur, an engineering consultancy that promotes the understanding of the social and cultural aspects and resource constraints of engineering projects and is a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Minnesota working on low-carbon infrastructure in Rajkot, India. Prior to starting Non Sequitur, Mark Reiner was a founding Principal and CEO of Symbiotic Engineering in Boulder, Colorado, a utility data tracking and life-cycle assessment based company that was acquired in September of 2012. Mark received his PhD in Civil Engineering at the Urban Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering Program (USIEP) at the University of Colorado Denver (2007). There he focused on the life-cycle energy and GHG emission impacts associated with many of the primary sectors in the urban environment. Prior to starting Symbiotic, Dr. Reiner served as an engineer with an international engineering firm where he had dual roles as co-lead for the infrastructure assessment for the Master Plan of Kigali, Rwanda, while also serving as the Projects Director for Engineers Without Borders USA. While in Rwanda, he was a team member for the development of low-cost housing design and workshops. He has also served as adjunct faculty at the University of Colorado at Denver where he taught “Urbanization of Developing Nations."

Abstract: Metrics and systems thinking through the lens of culture and resource constraints

The challenge of providing long-term survival of infrastructure in developing nations is best met with innovation that is dependent on the refractive path provided by the cultural and constraints (resource and capacity) lenses of each urban environment. With the advent of the new ISO standard for tracking the progress of sustainable development (ISO 37120:2014, Sustainable development of communities -- Indicators for city services and quality of life), careful consideration needs to be applied by urban planners when applying these metrics. While some metrics can drive technical innovation, others can retard sustainable development if used as a means to an end. For example, if new technologies were filtered through threshold metrics, e.g. life-cycle costs per kWh or per treated gallon of water, there would be far less failed products flooding the markets in developing nations. However, if metrics are used to drive goals for systems, rather than just for tracking progress, e.g. increasing the percentage of the city population with regular solid waste collection, then the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of the cultural narrative and associated synergies may be lost. This point is presented and reflected upon in an example resulting from the infrastructure master planning efforts for the capital city of Kigali, Rwanda.

David Rouse

David Rouse

David Rouse is a certified planner and registered landscape architect with over 30 years of private, public, and nonprofit sector experience in community planning, design, and implementation. As APA’s Research Director, he oversees the Planning Advisory Service and the three National Centers for Planning (Green Communities, Hazards Planning, and Planning and Community Health). Prior to joining APA David was a principal of WRT, a nationally recognized planning, urban design, landscape architecture, and architecture consulting firm. His WRT projects, many of which received awards for excellence from APA or other organizations, included comprehensive plans for cities, counties, and regions; parks, open space, and green infrastructure plans; transportation, economic development, and urban design plans; and zoning and development standards and ordinances.

Abstract: Sustaining Places - Geodesign Meets Comprehensive Planning

Geodesign has powerful potential to address the big problems faced by America’s communities (climate change, public health, etc.) by integrating planning and design across scales and disciplines of practice. To realize this potential, it will need to be deployed in ways that impact policy, capital investment, and decision-making in complex sociopolitical contexts.

The comprehensive plan is the legally-mandated document that local governments use to guide policy, development, and investment decision-making at the community-wide scale. The Sustaining Places Initiative was created by the American Planning Association (APA) in 2010 to define the role of comprehensive planning in addressing the sustainability of human settlement. Through this initiative APA has developed and tested with pilot communities across the country a set of standards for integrating sustainability into local comprehensive plans. These standards include:

  • Principles, the normative statements of intent that underline a plan’s overall strategy (e.g., livable built environment, interwoven equity, healthy community, etc.);
  • Processes, the central planning activities essential to the plan’s success (authentic participation and accountable implementation);
  • Attributes, the plan-making design standards that shape the content and characteristics of comprehensive plans (consistent content and coordinated characteristics); and
  • Best Practices, used by communities to carry out the principles, processes, and attributes of their comprehensive plans.

This presentation will explore how geodesign and comprehensive planning can be integrated to strengthen sustainability outcomes at the scale of the whole community. For example, the principles and associated best practices (e.g., livable built environment, planning for mixed land-use patterns that are walkable, bikeable, and promote transit use) have spatial implications with measurable impacts that can be informed by geodesign. Similarly, geodesign can be used to engage citizens in developing and assessing the projected effects of future scenarios (authentic participation best practice). The indicators used to assess the scenarios can be carried forward into a program to monitor the impact of the comprehensive plan following adoption (accountable implementation best practice). The ultimate goal is to “main-stream” geodesign thinking and technology in contemporary planning practice.

Carl Steinitz

Carl Steinitz

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: Experiments in Geodesign Synthesis

An overarching issue facing geodesign is the need for much more experimentation and the sharing of our experiences. Our talk/demo will focus on situations where geodesign is being conducted under conditions of uncertainty, and results must be achieved very rapidly. We will show recent, collaborative, Change-synthesis experiments made with the diagrams-based geodesign-support software being developed by Hrishi Ballal at The Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London.

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