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Put Smart Planning into Practice

3D GIS is being used in urban planning.
3D GIS is being used in urban planning.

Geodesign techniques and technologies will drive smart planning in the future as community planners and developers seek innovative ways to build more livable, sustainable communities and solve vexing twenty-first-century land-use and development issues.

How to put smart planning into practice using geodesign will be the focus of the two-day Geodesign Summit in Redlands, California. The event will be held from January 25 to 26, 2017, at Esri headquarters, with technical workshops scheduled for January 24.

The purpose of the summit is to share best practices for implementing geodesign principles into planning workflows. Geodesign [PDF], in its broadest sense, combines the art of design with the science of geography. Using input from community members and other stakeholders, creative design techniques, rigorous methodologies, and spatial analysis and mapping, a geodesign practitioner can find the most suitable, environmentally friendly, and sustainable options for how to use space. That may be space for development, agriculture, wildlife conservation, transportation or flood-control systems, or marine protected areas.

Smart planning involves evaluating proposals using geodesign tools such as GIS and getting feedback from project stakeholders.
Smart planning involves evaluating proposals using geodesign tools such as GIS and getting feedback from project stakeholders.

More than 250 people are expected to attend the summit, including planners, community developers, government officials, architects, GIS professionals, engineers, project managers, and academics.

The keynote speaker will be James M. Drinan, executive director of the American Planning Association (APA) and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). The title of his talk will be “Placemaking as Storytelling.”

James M. Drinan will talk about the role of storytelling in planning and design.
James M. Drinan will talk about the role of storytelling in planning and design.

Drinan said there’s a cultural transformation in how people think and work due to technological change and the growing complexity of issues.

“Conveying facts in a manner that resonates is increasingly valuable,” he said. “The power of story transcends the basic presentation of information and enhances learning. What we are all really doing is working to build a shared vision and a map, if you will, to guide us on our journey to creating great places. Telling and listening to stories [are essential elements] of planning, designing, and building great places.”

Many Geodesign Summit speakers will talk about how they go about creating planning scenarios by gathering information on local issues from citizens and other stakeholders and experts in various fields. The planning scenarios or stories are then visualized, analyzed, and disseminated using geodesign technologies such as GIS, 3D GIS, story maps, and infographics.

The speakers include the following:

Trisha Brush of Kenton County, Kentucky, will give a presentation about her department's use of Web GIS and Esri Story Maps.
Trisha Brush of Kenton County, Kentucky, will give a presentation about her department's use of Web GIS and Esri Story Maps.
Brenda L. Carter from Richland County, South Carolina, will speak about green infrastructure.
Brenda L. Carter from Richland County, South Carolina, will speak about green infrastructure.

The event moderator will be Stephen Goldsmith, from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is the school’s Daniel Paul Professor of Government, director of the Innovations in Government program and director of Data-Smart City Solutions. Previously, he served as mayor of Indianapolis and as deputy mayor of New York City.

There’s still time to register for the Geodesign Summit. View the agenda for the event and sign up today.

Stephen Goldsmith from Harvard University will moderate the Geodesign Summit.
Stephen Goldsmith from Harvard University will moderate the Geodesign Summit.

Also, a Southern California Resilience Leadership Workshop will be held from January 23 to 24, 2017, at the Esri campus. The workshop, being jointly presented by the Sustainable Cities Institute at the National League of Cities and Esri, is geared to elected officials and city staff from local municipalities. Attendees will become familiar with tools and planning practices that can help communities become more resilient. And as an added benefit, they get to attend the Geodesign Summit.

For more information about the workshop, send an email to stateandlocalinfo@esri.com.

About

Carla Wheeler is a technology writer and editor at Esri and a former journalist. She currently edits ArcWatch and works with Esri Story Maps apps. Follow @gisjourno.