Essential Elements of Geodesign for Education
As geodesign emerges as a field of study in higher education, a question arises as to the essential elements that require mastery for a student to be seen as competent in the field. I propose that these elements are: 1) spatial description of environmental benefits and constraints, 2) a creative design process with iterations, and 3) refinement of design based on spatially explicit quantitative feedback. As an example of this framework in undergraduate education, I describe two geodesign projects implemented by students. In the first, students balanced benefits of access with potential impacts on protected species to design a trail network for ecological reserve lands in California. In the second, students used GeoPlanner for ArcGIS to explore scenarios for coexistence of a rural subsistence community with an endangered bird species in a protected area in China. In both examples, the development of spatial models for impacts and opportunities represented a majority of the effort, indicating the importance of this step to the geodesign process. Students were able to balance diverse needs within complex landscapes and demonstrate competency in the three essential elements of geodesign.