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

Featured 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.


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.


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 $ense 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.


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: 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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