00:01My name is Bill Miller. I work with Esri; I've been here for 22 years off and on, mostly on.
00:07And I am currently the director of GeoDesign Services at Esri…
00:12…and we're the very small group that is one of the evangelical centers for geodesign at Esri, alright?
00:18There are others who are promoting the agenda as well, but we're part of that team.
00:29A little over two years ago, just before the first GeoDesign Summit, I told Jack I wanted to retire for the third time.
00:36And I was actually successful this time; I got away for about a year.
00:40And then through my big mouth and then Jack's compelling tag, I came back to Esri.
00:48Actually live down here now; I used to live up in the Seattle area.
00:51And so I…it's a pleasure to be here for the second time around, but I remember that first conference…
00:58…I got out of town before it started, and I thought maybe I should contribute my ideas to the subject of geodesign.
01:07And so I searched my brain for what those ideas were, and I didn't find very many ideas I could really share with substance.
01:15And then last year conference, a lot of people presented--and the first year actually was a lot of definition and rhetoric…
01:24…and the second year was a little more of that with some promise of substance…
01:28…and this year we tried to provide more content of a substantial nature into the presentations.
01:34And also, as I was thinking about the definitions that started to be craft…
01:37…worked with Stephen Ervin for a while and Michael Goodchild and a number of other people that presented definitions of geodesign…
01:44…I finally got the courage to formulate my own, and so I'm going to present that to you.
01:52It's documented, for better or worse, in the document that most of you have picked up.
01:58And I'm not going to go through a formal presentation of this document, but I'd like to have a conversation with you about it…
02:05…because the thoughts that I have now I would call catalytic as opposed to conclusive.
02:12And so they're ideas to initiate or catalyze a conversation about geodesign, what it is, what's its extent, et cetera…
02:20…and then to take those documents, weave them into this document, which is a draft…
02:25…eventually have something we can disseminate as a white paper. But it's going to require your input.
02:32So rather than having a presentation, I would actually like to have this as a conversation.
02:38And I'll initiate that conversation with some ideas that I think are essential to understanding the notion of geodesign…
02:46…and you can tell me what you think, and I hope that you'll speak with vitality.
02:52And remember that, even though I speak as if the word was coming from God Himself or Herself, right…
02:56…my ideas are catalytic, not conclusive, and that I've noticed in my own life--almost 72 years of it now…
03:04…that every time I come up with a really good idea, I document it or log it, and out of 100 really good ideas…
03:10…maybe two of them are worth considering further. And one of those might actually stick, right?
03:17So I've got a 1 percent chance of saying something that's really smart, and you people have to qualify that, right?
03:25So where did the word geodesign come from?
03:36Okay, let me offer a couple thoughts.
03:38One is as an idea, it's really been with us since the beginning of time, I think, because as people, tribal organizations...
03:47...and communities started to design where they live, they considered the geography of place, right?
03:54We're going to locate near the river because we have transportation, we have water.
03:57We're going to locate in an area that's good for agriculture or hunting, an area that we can defend…
04:03…and if we make a mistake, we'll move to someplace else.
04:06And so that idea of designing in the context of your geographic information has been with us since the beginning of time.
04:13And the example I like to give, which is documented in here, is the notion of Frank Lloyd Wright designing Fallingwater.
04:20How many know the story about how he designed Fallingwater? A few?
04:24Well, Fallingwater is the house that he designed for Edgar Kaufmann on Bear Run.
04:30It was a second home, a cabin if you will, and Wright designed it when he was 64 years old.
04:38And prior to that, he hadn't had a major commission for about two, three years…
04:42…but he had his little institute, his educational center running a lot of students and staff…
04:47…and they were paying the way, so to speak, while he was waiting for the next project.
04:52So Kaufmann gives him this commission to design a cabin for their family…
04:56…and Wright sits on it for four, five, six months, does nothing.
05:02And his entourage are beginning to think, you know, maybe the old guy's lost it, right?
05:07Can't do a project, not even a single house, you know; we have no work to do.
05:11So about this time, Kaufmann calls, says, Frankie, boy, I'm in town, and I want to come up and see my project.
05:19And Wright says, Oh, yeah, we've been expecting your call; come on up. This was…
05:26…Edgar Kaufmann was about three hours away from Wright's studio at the time…
05:30…so Wright hung up the phone, went to work on the design.
05:35And his staff sat behind him, sharpening pencils, feeding him lead so he could keep going, you know.
05:40So by the time Kaufmann arrived, he had had the whole house designed--floor plans, sections, elevation, and a small perspective.
05:48And of course Kaufmann came up and they went over the project.
05:50And that's since become the, what some say, the most famous house in the world, you know, designed by an architect.
05:57So the question I ask you, Was Frank Lloyd Wright doing geodesign?
06:04Someone said yes. Did you say yes? [Inaudible audience comment] Why?
06:08[Audience comment] Because it fits so nicely in the landscape.
06:11Let's get a microphone here.
06:14[Audience comment] Fallingwater fits so nicely in the landscape…
06:17….and so all of the elements of the landscape permeate into the house, and it's a delightful place to live…
06:23…but it meets all the functions that the family needs.
06:27Do we have a counter idea about that? Back up here. Doug, Doug-- Wait for the microphone…
06:33…then we'll have it recorded.
06:38[Audience comment] I'd say he wasn't doing it. In fact, you could argue exactly the flip side.
06:47This is exactly where you shouldn't build, right over the stream.
06:50But if building codes were enforced, exactly; you wouldn't build there, would you, right?
06:53You're way less than 50 feet from the stream, right; you're on the stream.
06:59So how many say that he was doing geodesign? You have an idea? How many say he wasn't doing geodesign?
07:05How many don't know? How many don't care?
07:09My feeling, that he was doing geodesign. And the reason is that because Wright had studied the site…
07:15…and in his mind, while he was designing Fallingwater, he understood the geography of the site…
07:20…he knew where the boulders were to put the foundation; knew how to orientate the building for views and for sun…
07:26…and he also knew how to capture the cold air that comes down the stream…
07:29…and use that to feed into the house to cool the house in the summer.
07:33So I believe that he was actually doing geodesign in the sense that he was designing in the context of geographic space.
07:40He held that geographic space in his head, right?
07:44So how much can you hold in your head?
07:48Guy by name of George Miller, a psychologist, 50 years ago--no relation to me--wrote a paper called…
07:56…"The Magical Number 7, Plus or Minus Two." Anybody hear of this paper before? Good.
08:02And he discovered through experimentation that the average person could remember, manipulate, keep track of seven things.
08:11So we typically have a seven-digit phone number without the area code.
08:15He said if you weren't so bright, you could probably handle five. Said if you're really smart…
08:22…I mean, you really got it together, you could handle nine.
08:26So you think about designing something as more than nine variables, what happens?
08:32I've seen this in architecture; I'm an architect, so I can speak this way…
08:35…is that we reduce the problem to the number of variables that we can manage in our head simultaneously…
08:41…and we design with respect to those variables and everything else falls in behind that, for better or for worse.
08:48The classic example, I remember I was talking to one architect, and he said…
08:51…Yes, this whole design concept is predicated upon this spline here, and all the buildings relate to that spline.
08:59Everything else is secondary to that.
09:01He could handle one variable at a time.
09:03Now, I found that I can handle two and sometimes three. Architects are below the lower end of the curve, right?
09:12So the aspect of geodesign that's interesting to me is, how do you do geodesign in the midst of complexity?
09:21Enter the digital age, the use of computer for storing information that you can't keep track of in your mind…
09:28…for handling the relationships; for doing mathematically based explorations, whether it be deterministic or stochastic.
09:37It allows you to extend your thinking using digital technology so you can handle complexity.
09:44And one of the things I think that we don't teach in our schools, in our design schools, at least my experience…
09:49…is how to handle complexity. We don't deal with that as a subject.
09:53And so most, say, architectural schools or industrial design schools or landscape architecture schools…
09:59…don't send their students to courses in operations research or systems engineering…
10:03…where you not only learn the value of systems thinking, but you learn the methodology for handling complexity.
10:09So if we can use operations research and systems engineering thinking to get us to the moon…
10:16…surely we could be able to use that same thinking to design solutions to some of the world's complex problems, right?
10:22So this is where I think geodesign gets its value and its importance and its compelling nature…
10:30…is when we move into the domain called complexity.
10:34So I'm going to pause right there and take comments and questions, okay?
10:43Now I know you people can handle more than five variables, right?
10:47And most of you can handle seven, a few of you can handle nine, and here we got one that's going for four.
10:56We need the microphone so we can get it recorded.
11:01[Audience comment] I thought that the keynote speaker yesterday, like, framed…
11:08Can you hold it up to your mouth like a snow cone or something…
11:09[Audience comment] Yeah, is that good? Okay.
11:13I thought the keynote speaker yesterday kind of touched on what you're mentioning about systems…
11:18…and that what we're facing are like maybe system failures, and we are measuring them geographically.
11:27So when I think of geo, I think of the products of systems that are either, you know, our community systems…
11:36…or as he was mentioning yesterday, water systems or nitrogen systems, phosphorus systems.
11:43And then what I'm wondering--or what he seems to be working on is engineering solutions to those systems.
11:52And what I am wondering, as you're like the principal developer on the team of geodesign…
12:02…is geodesign going to address systems design and not, you know, just spatial design.
12:08And like Carl seems to be proposing primarily methodologies and frameworks for, you know, designing space and new communities.
12:19But we're looking at, you know, a system that we may not even be able to visualize…
12:24…but we see the results of that system on the landscape that we've got to redesign something that isn't as easy to map.
12:34Right. Okay, so this is a nice lead-in to my desire to break down the word geodesign into geo and design, define those two terms.
12:44Normally, I go with geo first, but because of what you said, I'm going to go with design first.
12:49So design is a thought process comprising the creation of an entity. Say that again.
13:00Design is the thought process comprising the creation of an entity. It's a process, not a product.
13:09It's thought that includes logic, intuition, insight, and extension of your thinking through use of tools and technology.
13:18Comprising--I'll get to that word in a minute--the creation, that is, the instantiation of something in time and space.
13:28Instantiation of an entity. What is an entity? Four types--actually there's five. Four types.
13:34An object that occupies space; an event that occupies time, such as this conference; a concept like the theory of relativity…
13:43…a relationship such as relationship between man and machine as might be exemplified in the Macintosh operating system.
13:51What's the fifth one? Fifth one is a complex entity.
13:55'Cause most entities are complex in the sense that they involve two or more of those other types.
14:00So a book is an object; you read it in time; you have a relationship with the author or the characters…
14:08…and it often presents concepts that you think about. So a book is a good example of a complex entity.
14:14Most entities are complex.
14:16So if you're talking about designing a system, you're dealing with a system of complex entities.
14:21So design is the thought process comprising the creation of an entity. Now I'll come back to comprising.
14:29It took me two and a half years to codify this definition for myself, and the most difficult word to come up with, to understand…
14:38…in that definition was comprising. So what does comprising mean?
14:43It means everything that occurs before, during, and after or following the instantiation process.
14:52So as an architect, I was trained to design a building; I threw it over the wall to the contractor; contractor built it, put it together…
15:01…and then she threw it over the wall to the owner, who then suffered the consequences, along with the users, right?
15:08So then you join the software development world and you design the specs for a piece of code…
15:15…you write the code, you throw it over the wall to the user, what happens?
15:20It bounces back. It's called tech support or training or customer service. Then what do you do?
15:26Well, I think I'll make it a little better, so I don't have to do so much customer service. The cycle goes on ad infinitum.
15:33So you think in terms of the word comprising, as a designer, you're creating the ideas and you're documenting them…
15:42…so they can be constructed by you or someone else or a group of people and then utilized…
15:48…and the thought process comprising the creation of the entity includes the after service once the entity is instantiated.
15:58Another example is I had the opportunity as a young man right out of school to work as a structural engineer in San Francisco…
16:04…for three years for Stefan J. Medwadowski, Polish engineer; he had the only PhD in structural mechanics in the city.
16:11And every project I worked on for three years made the cover of Architectural Record or Progressive Architecture.
16:16And my last project was Alvar Aalto's library at Mt. Angel, Oregon, and it was the sixth in a series of libraries that Aalto did.
16:26And I took my students through the library one time and went down to the lower stack; we found the Aalto section.
16:33And they had documented all the other libraries that he had done…
16:36…and we went through them one by one, and Mt. Angel was the last one.
16:40It was the most refined, it was the most aesthetic, and the most--it was the jewel, right?
16:45So Aalto took responsibility for designing libraries after the library was built…
16:51…by feeding back what he learned into the next one and the next one.
16:55So that's what I mean by comprising.
16:58So as a designer, that means you take responsibility for not only going from the figment of your imagination to some rendition of it…
17:06…but you take responsibility for getting it instantiated, and you take responsibility for serving it after it's built.
17:13So design is a thought process comprising the creation of an entity.
17:17Now, if you hold to that and you understand the different types of entities, what comes to mind?
17:24Well, first of all, we're all designers, because we're all responsible at some level for designing the entities around our lives.
17:31And if we see ourselves as all designers, what happens when we form a team?
17:35We have an architect, we have an engineer, we have a site designer/planner, a mechanical engineer…
17:41…we've got a client, we've got a banker, we've got some stakeholder groups, we've got some potential users.
17:46They're all part of the design team, aren't they?
17:50So some of my students will say, Well, the banker's not part of the design team. He just gives some money, right?
17:57So I say, okay, we have a project, and we plan to spend $5 million on the project; requires a loan to get it built.
18:04Then we find out that the banker's only going to give us 3 million, okay?
18:08That decision on the part of the banker affects the physical format design far more than anything we do on the drafting table…
18:16…or in our digital geometry, right?
18:19The banker is part of the design team.
18:22So when we see each other as creators and cocreators, it creates a different dynamic…
18:27…as we create and instantiate the entities that we're responsible for.
18:32Now when you think in terms of a systems problem, which is complex, multiple entities, multiple participants…
18:40…that's a huge design team.
18:43They're occurring at different levels, they come and go.
18:45In fact, the participants in the design team change over time because maybe…
18:49…someone dies or leaves and has to be replaced.
18:53Oftentimes the client representatives will change over time because someone will leave and go somewhere else and someone will fill in.
19:00You have a very complex, dynamic system you have to design with.
19:04So we think in terms of how do we do that to solve some of the problems we're facing in this twenty-first century.
19:10They're not small, design-this-park type problem; those exist.
19:14The much larger problems, like global warming or creating a truce between two nations that are at war with each other, right?
19:24Any other comments? Thank you. That help?
19:27[Inaudible audience comment] Okay.
19:31[Audience comment] I have a question about is there a scalar limit, are there any limits on geodesign?
19:37In fact, like, let's take a little piece of packaging that's maybe made from biodegradable plastic or something.
19:44Would you call that geodesign, or is there a scalar limit, or is…
19:50Show you an example I gave earlier today to somebody was a chair, right? Design a chair.
19:56Is that geodesign? Could it be?
19:58Well, let's say you're using exotic wood. Maybe that wood's an endangered species.
20:04How much carbon is produced to get that chair constructed, delivered, serviced, reserviced, recycled?
20:15So I was thinking, that actually came up in the context of developing a design studio…
20:20…in the school of design somewhere. Architecture, whatever.
20:23And that you would give three problems, one right after another.
20:26The first would be design the chair; that sounds like it's not a geodesign problem…
20:30…but you ask the students to look at this whole food chain, if you will…
20:33…from beginning to end and recycling, and look at the carbon footprint for that.
20:39And the other one would be to design a park, a regional plan, which now they're going to be able to come through with...
20:44…'cause that's what they thought they signed up for.
20:47And that's definitely geodesign. Doug Olson's presentation, along with many others, gave excellent examples of that.
20:53The third one would be to assign this problem. Okay, students, we're on a quarter system, you've got 13 weeks.
21:01We will just subtract one because it takes time to get started and to stop, so you've got 12 weeks.
21:07Spend the first 6 weeks understanding the problem regarding the conflict between Pakistan and India over the area called Kashmir.
21:18Then spend the next 6 weeks proposing three alternative solutions that include physical solution, ecological solution…
21:26…economic solution, religious solution, military solution, political solution as a system, right?
21:31Now obviously, in that period of time you're not going to get a real solution that the people are going to buy…
21:37…but you're going to force the students to think through; this is a systems problem.
21:42I assigned a problem like this to my students in Montana one year, when I said, Okay…
21:47I gave out a letter, was on fictitious United Nations letterhead…
21:51…and it said, You've been commissioned to design a building system that could be fabricated somewhere in western Europe…
22:01…warehoused there, but shipped to any place in the world within three days and set up within five…
22:06…to house a team that would be there for as long as three years to look at how to properly develop that area…
22:11…to bring economic, social, cultural, whatever, vitality to the area.
22:15And that, you can spend any amount of money to create and put that system in place…
22:19…but once it's there, it had to be totally self-sustaining.
22:24Had to produce some food, process its own waste, provide its own water, provide its own communication system…
22:29…provide its own access to transportation, et cetera.
22:32So for the first half of the semester, they studied the nine biomes on the planet.
22:36They studied different types of delivery systems, how to deliver and then extract the system.
22:42And then the last part of the semester, they actually designed a modular system to do that.
22:47Only one person completed the problem, but they all went through the thought process of thinking of that as a system…
22:52…a fully integrated system.
22:55Now I think--you had a question? [Audience comment] No, comment.
22:59Okay. Alright, go ahead.
23:06[Audience comment] Well, I think at that broad scale that you're touching on, an area that geodesign ought to be working…
23:13…or thinking about moving into is climate adaptation. That is a design problem, in my mind. It is a strategic design problem.
23:22And the climate change models are out there, and now it's time for us to think about how we design regions, landscapes, biomes…
23:32…to adapt to ecosystems that we may not be familiar with.
23:38So you should talk with Paul Zwick from the University of Florida, Gainesville, one of our presenters here this morning.
23:43He is addressing that problem right now and encouraging others to do the same thing. Thank you.
23:49Any other comments? Yes.
23:54[Audience comment] Do you think all cultures appreciate this broad definition of geodesign the same…
24:01…because in my experience, small, like island nations, like Japan and Denmark, there's something in the people that they…
24:09...probably because of the geography that they live in, they intrinsically understand finite resources…
24:15…and so they have a higher aesthetic.
24:18And it seems to me the way you're talking about geodesign is really taking all the invisible parts of a design…
24:25…and making people appreciate that aesthetically rather than just gooky forms and fun stuff.
24:34I don't quite know how to respond to that. I mean, I'm thinking independent of aesthetics at this point.
24:39I'm trying to delineate the broadness of design; I'll talk about geo in a moment.
24:46And I've been to Denmark a couple of times, and I'm very aware that they see design as an exportable commodity.
24:55And the Japanese suck it up, right? And so do we.
25:00So I think that there's a propensity on the part of various cultures to look at design differently.
25:06I remember one time I was in Germany and I was talking to a design professional there, and I used the word design…
25:11…and they said, What do you mean? Well, they had something like 30 words for design.
25:15We spent the afternoon trying to figure out which one we were talking about and so…
25:21Most often, design is conceived as the surficial quality or aspects of something; it's the geometric sculptural form plus the…
25:30…how you treat those surfaces with color and texture and things like that.
25:35Operationally, it often includes what's behind that, right?
25:39And so there's the notion of organic architecture or architecture where form follows function…
25:44…and the exterior is an expression of what happens on the interior. All that's a big conversation.
25:52Any other comments? Yes.
25:57[Audience comment] So in trying to figure out geodesign as opposed to just design, could you or anyone else…
26:05…give an example of something that's designed but not geodesigned?
26:09Because it seems that so many things are related to, for example…
26:12…producing a carbon footprint, so it seems that if that's criteria for geodesign--I know that's not what you said.
26:20But could you give an example of something that's designed but not geodesigned.
26:26I'm going to let someone else answer that one. Anybody got an example?
26:31[Audience comment] An idea…
26:32An idea, okay.
26:34[Audience comment continued] …doesn't have a carbon footprint.
26:36Okay, the theory of relativity built by Albert Einstein, is that geodesign?
26:43When you think in terms of the universe, it probably is, right...
26:46...if you extend geography to the universe, because it affects our interpretation of how we view the universe.
26:54I don't know. It's a good question. But I'd like to bring up what it brought to my mind, and that's the definition of the word geo.
27:02And thank you. Doug Olson gave us a nice definition of geo, but I'm going to morph that into geographic.
27:12And if I say "geographic space," what comes to mind? Maps? What else? Maps, landscape. Anything else? Sphere.
27:26So typical thing that comes to mind is maps, and they can be flat maps, or if you're really more sophisticated, they're relief maps.
27:35And then we get even more sophisticated, we drape other stuff on top of that in different levels of transparency…
27:41…and we have a very nice, complicated, complex, intriguing surface.
27:47So the geo space, really we think in terms of two-dimensional or two-and-a-half-dimensional environments.
27:56I present the idea of the geoscape, in contrast to geographic space or as a new way to think of geographic space.
28:05The geoscape is everything that's below, on, and above the surface of the earth that supports life.
28:13It's everything below, on, and above the surface of the earth that supports life all around the planet.
28:20So if geo space is now geoscape, right, that's our domain we think in terms of geographic, right?
28:29And we have a broad definition of design as a thought process comprising the creation of an entity, which could be…
28:37…I'm going to teach you a new word. …a cataphrasm. A cataphrasm is a very large gizmo, might even be global in scale.
28:46So if you think in terms of designing an entity, whatever type that is, in our geoscape…
28:52…that means the domain of geodesign is very broad.
28:59And especially when you think in terms of geography as not only being physical geography but cultural geography…
29:05…so you're dealing with social, cultural, economic, et cetera, situations that are spatially disposed…
29:13…this is a whole new way of thinking about geography.
29:16So if we can actually digest and get into our bloodstream that we're designers of entities in the geoscape…
29:26…we have a huge domain of responsibility as professionals and as educators.
29:34I've not found a university on the planet yet that is willing to take on that broader domain…
29:39…and teach their students how to be the impresarios of the opera.
29:43We're teaching people how to be stagehands, choreographers, costume designers, orchestrators, conductors, ticket takers…
29:54…promoters, even how to be a good audience, but we're not teaching them how to be the impresario that pulls it all together.
30:02So I think our design schools need to address this broader problem and teach us how to design the entities that reside in our geoscape…
30:13…and if we got going, we could spend the afternoon thinking of examples.
30:17And I'll give you one that came up last year here.
30:19We were asked by the government of Morocco to give them a proposal…
30:22…to redesign the boundary systems for the country of Morocco to better support democracy.
30:28That's like asking California to redesign all its county, city, education, fire district, police district boundaries…
30:37…to better support an equitable democracy in California. That's a geodesign problem.
30:43Are we teaching people in the school of landscape architecture to solve that kind of problem…
30:47…or architecture or industrial engineering or industrial ecology, as Dr. Allenby presented earlier today or yesterday?
30:57No, we're not. That's a huge challenge.
31:03Is there any comment on this notion of geoscape?
31:11Now, this is the last one for Fred; we have to move to other people here, so wake up and get your hand ready to…
31:18[Audience comment] I just, I read your paper and I thought it was like the most interesting part of this idea of vertical dimension…
31:25…and the geoscape is for me, in my mind, what really set geodesign apart from what I would normally call design, so I like it.
31:34Okay, thank you. Alright.
31:40[Audience comment] Bill, what are the implications legally for geoscape?
31:44In other words, how far down does one's property rights go, how far up does one's property rights go?
31:49I mean, we're dealing with this with oil extraction and other things below property.
31:54So it seems to me the geoscape idea suggests that we need a different kind of legal framework…
32:00…and need to think about what property is.
32:03Exactly, right, right. I remember when my family first moved to a little town here in Southern California called Tujunga…
32:09…I subtitle that Rocks and Rattlesnakes, and they only paid $6,000 for their house. Imagine that?
32:16And I remember even at a young age talking to my parents about, oh, do we own all the ground…
32:22…and someone had discovered oil somewhere; do we own the oil?
32:26And they looked, no, we didn't have rights to the minerals below our…maybe even before three feet of topsoil.
32:31Everything else belonged to someone else.
32:34And it's just like the Colorado River water does not belong to Colorado, right?
32:40Mostly [inaudible] California; we talked about that earlier.
32:43Any other comments from this side of the room?
32:47Okay, we're giving away a free Prius this afternoon to everyone on the side of the room that asks the most questions.
32:54Right now, this side is leading by seven points, okay, so you guys awake over here? It's one to seven--or eight right now.
33:05Anybody else read the paper yet? Okay. Any comments? Microphone.
33:15[Audience comment] My thought goes into the direction--I'm a geographer by training, and I'm not trained in the United States…
33:21…and since I've lived here a long time, I can say my geography training is very different from what students experience in the United States.
33:31I very much like the beginning of your paper where you say this has been around for many, many…
33:37…you know, for as long as we know about people. Because geodesign to me is fitting yourself into the landscape that is there.
33:46And when it comes to geoscape, we need to recognize that everything is connected.
33:51Even though I may own a parcel, and I personally claim that everything below and above is mine…
33:57…I have asked neighbors to cut down their trees because they are growing onto my property; that's my land.
34:05So everything is connected, so we cannot--I think that we need to include or be conscious of that when we speak of geoscape…
34:14…that there is a continuum underneath, there's a continuum in the air, and certainly of course on the ground as well.
34:21So it is not just this little unit that I can maybe cookie-cut out of a map or mark on a map.
34:29It's a continuous space that I am part of, a big thing, the Earth.
34:36Right, right. Okay, so let's summarize.
34:42Geodesign is a thought process comprising the creation of entities in our geoscape.
34:55[Audience comment] Over time?
34:57Over time. It's going to take a lot of overtime to solve this problem, right?
35:00Okay, what else is missing? [Inaudible audience comment]
35:04Okay, that is included in comprising. Now, if you want to heckle from the back of the room, you're alright…
35:11…but I'd invite you to come down here and participate, okay? So I can deduct his salary here later.
35:21He likes to heckle me; he's one of my former students.
35:25What's missing? Yes.
35:28[Audience comment] Sustainability?
35:30Sustainability? That's…you're getting close.
35:33[Inaudible audience comment] People? That's even closer. What else? Suitability? Yes.
35:39[Audience comment] Feedback.
35:40Feedback. Okay, you're all nudging the target. What is missing is an ethic.
35:46How do we know whether or not the design is good or bad?
35:51If I say design is a thought process comprising the creation of an entity…
35:54…how do you know whether your entity is a good entity or a bad entity?
35:59The ethic for design comes not from the definition of design but from the purpose of design…
36:05…which my contention is always the same, no matter what it is you're designing.
36:09The purpose of design is to facilitate life.
36:12If your entity facilitates life, it's good; if it inhibits life, it's bad; does neither, it's neutral. Very simple, right?
36:22Wrong. Very complex, because what's your definition of life? Whose life? Over what period of time?
36:29You design goodness for some aspect of life at the expense of some other aspect of life.
36:40And I think this is something that's missing often in our challenge to design something…
36:48…is we don't take time to delineate the design ethic…
36:51…that gives us the ability to measure whether or not what we've designed is good or bad and to what degree it's good or bad.
36:58Ethics is just something always we assume it's going to be…
37:04Budget, less than $30 million. That was the budget for this building. We didn't quite achieve that. Almost.
37:14Or it's to keep people dry or fed. What is the ethic with respect to life? Whose life?
37:26This was very apparent to me many years ago when I was working with a young designer.
37:29Was asked to design a second home, ski resort area in the Tahoe area.
37:38And it was kind of a low-scale development; developer didn't have a lot of money…
37:41…but they already owned the land and they could develop.
37:43So he designed a hotel on steroids, 12 stories high, as modern as you can conceive of today…
37:53…and then he convinced his employer that they should go with that, and the employer said…
37:58…Well, how should we present this to the client? I mean…
38:01He says, well, we need a rendering. And this is before digital technology, right?
38:07And so the guy says to David, How much is the rendering going to cost? And David says, oh, it's going cost five.
38:15So his boss figured 500 bucks, right? You know what's going to happen, huh?
38:22He got the rendering, it was beautiful, everybody liked it. Rendering cost $5,000, and his boss was not happy. I mean, $5,000 in 1971?
38:35Why did David design that building and want that rendering? 'Cause he wanted it in his portfolio.
38:45He wanted to be able to show somebody how sexy he was, right, at the expense of the client, his boss, and everyone else, right?
38:54So his notion about goodness was to serve his life, not the life of those who were going to promote the project or even use the project.
39:05So what's the nature of life? Well, Fritjof Capra, who wrote The Tao of Physics, also wrote a book called The Web of Life.
39:13He points out that all living systems are self-sustaining if they are in relationship with other living systems…
39:21…so there's this connection, and that they use feedback loops, more intelligent ones, to condition their response to an environment.
39:29And some living systems actually learn from the feedback and accumulate that knowledge…
39:33…so they don't have to keep getting the same feedback over and over again.
39:37So this relates to designing something for someone.
39:40You design something for someone that doesn't allow them to self-actuate, probably it's not going to be sustainable as a design…
39:48…because they're not going to be able to do what they want to do with it.
39:52If you design it so well that they're able to do anything they want to with it…
39:57…then what happens is that the physical form of that entity disappears, and what they get is total facilitation.
40:04That's kind of my personal definition of really good design, if what you design disappears…
40:10…and what the person gets who uses that design gets total facilitation.
40:14So you think about using ArcGIS. You start using it; does it disappear for you?
40:21Are you just able to create maps and do overlays and do analysis and sketch proposals and evaluate them…
40:27…without ever having to think about it, 'cause the program just disappeared?
40:33Of course not. No, no. I mean, you've got little warning things flashing up, you got little user interfaces to discover…
40:38…you got to find out where the bird in the cage is so you can let the bird out of the cage to scare the snake…
40:45…that's guarding the gate to the gold so you can open the gate with the key that you found under the rug.
40:49I mean, there's all sorts of things like that in ArcGIS. Right? Right, right, right? Why are you laughing?
40:57It's an adventure game.
41:01So this notion about design disappearing is the antithesis of the way I was taught…
41:06…and the ethic about facilitating life was the antithesis of the way I was taught.
41:12So my ethic as a young designer coming out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, right, was very simple.
41:19If I designed it, it was good. If anyone else designed it, it was bad. It was very clear.
41:31So you think about if you design something in such a way that the physical form disappears and you get total facilitation…
41:37…what do I mean by that?
41:38Well, if I have a fountain pen, I take it out, and I write with it, and it spills ink all over my fingers, that's not too good.
41:47That didn't disappear, right? Or I take it out…
41:51I bought it last week when I was in Zurich, by the way.
41:54It's gold; it's got a little white star in it, cost $300, and when I take it out, I want everybody in the airplane to see it.
42:03Now what was I going to say?
42:04Oh, I forgot what I was going to write about, I got so intrigued with my ego and my fountain pen. Oh, well, I'll remember it tomorrow.
42:10That's not good either.
42:11But if you take it out, I put it down; I put my pen back, and all I've done is think about my idea and write it down…
42:17…I even forgot I was using a pen. That's what I mean by "disappearing."
42:21Another example. Let's say you meet someone for the first time. What are you aware of?
42:26You're aware of their physical appearance.
42:28Get to know them a little better, used to their demeanor, and you look at their physical nature and then you see that.
42:37They become a really good friend. What happens the next time you see them? You experience friendship.
42:44You stopped at knowledge of physicalness and what they looked like, you get the icon of friendship.
42:50Designers that strive to create entities that disappear, so they create total facilitation for the user…
42:57…as opposed to creating attention-getting entities.
43:01Now there's some exceptions, and you could even argue against these exceptions…
43:06…but one might be, you develop an advertising program, and you want to create a graphic for a magazine that gets attention.
43:13The one I had when I was much younger, in an earlier age--this can't leave the room--I had a poster this long, this high…
43:24…that won an award from the New York Graphic group, their association, because it was advertising an exposition...an exhibit.
43:39And it was the frontal view of a naked lady painted with the word "exhibit" right down the front of it.
43:47And I had that above my drafting table as a young man. I wish I still had that poster actually, put it behind the door.
43:54But anyway, that poster was designed to get attention, obviously, for that thing. So maybe there's some exceptions.
44:00Any comments on the notion on the purpose of design or this notion of design disappearing?
44:09See, it's this side of the room again.
44:12[Audience comment] Bill, I like the idea of design that is graceful, but I'm not sure that disappearing is what I want.
44:19And let me offer a contrarian point of view, that a good design is something that invites you to dance with it.
44:27Somebody referred to Donald Schoen earlier on, and Don said that designing is a conversation with something.
44:35It may be with your iPhone, it may be with your house or your auditorium or your piece of software, but it doesn't disappear.
44:42That's like having a conversation with yourself, just talking into the void.
44:45You want something that talks back in an interesting and engaging way, that invites new thoughts into the conversation.
44:52Okay. Anybody want to add to that?
44:58I'll give you my experience with my iPhone.
45:00I had a BlackBerry first, and I liked it quite a bit, and when I came to work at Esri, they got me an iPhone.
45:07So I ditched the BlackBerry.
45:08And I didn't know how to use the iPhone. I bought one of these books, you know, iPhone for Dummies, right?
45:16I actually never had to read it. But I learned how to use most of the functions I use.
45:20And when I use it now, if I'm in a hurry, I just use it; I don't really think about it.
45:26But if I'm not in a hurry, I again recognize that, Jeez, this is pretty cool.
45:31And what I'm getting, when I recognize it, is a symbol of something that really works, and it becomes an example of quality for me.
45:39So maybe there's this overlapping space between disappearing and dancing, and I contend that that's probably so. Thank you.
45:51Okay. Any other comments about this?
45:56Boykin. I want you to say something. Give the microphone to Boykin over here.
46:01I want you to say something really intelligent so you get three points for this and bring these guys back into the game, okay?
46:10[Audience comment] So if geodesign is a verb, which I hear a lot and I agree with, and we generally recognize that the GIS part…
46:19…the geo part--and I appreciate that you separate them--has to be taught, does design have to be taught?
46:29I'm going to say yes. You have to teach design. And I'm going to say no. Okay?
46:38Steve, you want to make a comment? Wait for the microphone. Got to get your exercise here, right?
46:56[Audience comment] I don't know which side of the room I'm on here…
46:59You're on his side.
47:00[Audience comment, continued] Alright. Being a fellow Cal Poly alum--Bill and I graduated together, so…
47:07I do believe that design is something that needs to be taught. Not that we were taught all that well.
47:15Because it's a continuing process. And one of the things I drew from my earlier life in high school…
47:23…I went to Hoopa High School in northern California, Indian reservation…
47:26…is the Indian way of thinking is that, hey, we're not landowners.
47:32The whole concept of landownership is an utterly foreign concept.
47:37But playing into that is that we are stewards of this wonderful earth that we all find ourselves on, and so that lends a responsibility.
48:09Is it on? Oh, yeah, here we are.
48:13[Audience comment continued] I think it's incumbent on each of us who consider ourselves designers…
48:19…to design with a high level of sensitivity to the environment about us.
48:24And I think that's what geodesign's about in my own estimation.
48:29And so yes, there are good designs; there are ones that suck because they plunder the earth rather than dance with it.
48:44Thanks. Boykin, I think that designers do need to be taught. In fact, if we're all designers…
48:50…then we all need to be taught how to be cocreators at some level, right?
48:54And a lot of us learn that by doing, just by living, right? We're in a situation; we have to resolve a certain problem.
49:01We have to get dressed in the morning, select clothes or whatever, however low you want to go with this.
49:06So I think that design education is very important, and I think that as we think in terms of geoscape, yes, because that's a new idea.
49:14As we think in terms of this more holistic view of design, that's a new idea to most people, yes.
49:19And I think as we think in terms of working with teams and collaborating, yes.
49:23Because when I was taught design, I was taught when I was a designer, then you were my client.
49:29And like Frank Lloyd Wright, when he was working with Kaufmann on Fallingwater…
49:33…designed a desk for Kaufmann in his study, and the desk was shortened a bit…
49:38…because the way the windows swung into the room to get ventilation and all the details were worked out…
49:44…and Kaufmann said to Wright, said, "You know, I need a bigger desk."
49:49And Wright in his contract wrote in clauses like "thou shalt not move furniture without the architect's approval."
49:56With that spirit, Wright said, "It can't be done."
50:00Kaufmann said, "Well, this is hardly big enough for me to write a check to my architect."
50:05Wright changed the desk immediately.
50:11So I think the challenge is to teach design at various levels, whether it be in first grade or in graduate school…
50:18…and to teach design in all disciplines because the design is really the third part of three things that every organization does.
50:29Every organization, large or small, public or private, does three things essentially.
50:35They get and manage information; we'll call that data.
50:41They assess that information, evaluate it, analyze it for various purposes; we'll call that analysis.
50:47Based upon that data and that analysis, they create or re-create goods and/or services.
50:54And it's the creation or re-creation of goods and/or services that I call design.
50:59And this brings us to the world of GIS, à la Esri's version, anyway…
51:06…is that GIS technology serves very well the notion of acquiring and managing spatial information.
51:15Esri's geodatabase, very powerful; it's transactional…
51:18…it can do all sorts of things including consume your own custom-designed data models, et cetera.
51:24We also offer over 700 functions doing geoprocessing within our software suite, so we're very strong for doing analysis now.
51:33ModelBuilder is an example of a way that you can orchestrate those functions to do different things.
51:38Up until recently, we've offered very few tools that allow our customers to create or re-create their goods and/or services.
51:46Example. The Trust for Public Land was here a few months ago.
51:51Bruce Witherspoon was directing their GIS program, and they showed us how they create greenprints.
51:58They gather up data, they overlay it in respect to suitability and vulnerability to identify properties…
52:05…within a certain jurisdiction that are candidates for being permanently allocated as green space…
52:12…and then they select those candidates, evaluate them, present them to some jurisdiction or NGO who acquires them…
52:20…and then they get instantiated as protected land.
52:24And over the last 20 years, I think they've protected over $6 billion worth of property doing this.
52:30Well, they managed all their data in GIS, they do all their analysis and overlays in GIS.
52:36When it comes time to drawing the selection part, they plot out a map showing the suitability areas…
52:42…they put a piece of tracing paper over it; they go grab a couple of felt-tip pens, they start drawing in the things they want to protect.
52:52Their design work falls out of the geographic workflow that's represented by GIS, right?
52:58Therefore, you can't assess the depth of goodness or badness of those plans using GIS, 'cause it's not in the system anymore.
53:11So we need to develop the technology that supports the workflows that's as easy to use as pencil and paper…
53:23…so that people can create and re-create their goods and/or services within this geographic context called GIS.
53:31As you can see, we're moving that direction, but we're not there yet.
53:36Last year when Carl Steinitz did his workshop with nine teams, each team had three or four people on it.
53:45One of them was an expert in GIS technology and the use of our software.
53:50Each team was assigned a specific design strategy--exploratory, deterministic, et cetera.
53:57Every team did this…they got the data, they did some analysis, they started to use our tools to design.
54:06Within three minutes, they were using pencil and paper or pen and ink. Why?
54:12Most of the tools that they wanted to use were there, but they were not discoverable, right?
54:16They were not sustainable in the sense you open the tool, and you want to draw with it again…
54:21…you got to go back and refind it and reopen it again.
54:25And so you heard some of the designers present this week, and they say that…
54:30…Look, we need tools that allow us to work instantaneously without any impedance.
54:35And so we're putting out the idea at Esri, at least through our GeoDesign Services group, the concept of zero impedance.
54:43Zero-impedance-based design tools allow designers to use those tools without any impedance.
54:49In other words, the tools disappear, and what you get is the ability to go from the figment of your imagination…
54:55…to some rendition of it with zero impedance quickly…
54:58…and then you get to assess the goodness of that quickly so you can recycle again.
55:02You do it again and again and again, and this is what you guys do, right, in your office.
55:09So that's one of the challenges to us, right?
55:12What other challenges do you think we have with respect to GIS technology if we design…
55:16…if we think in terms of geodesign as the geoscape and design holistically.
55:20What other things come to mind? Currently--yes. Let's get a microphone. Sorry, Brent.
55:40We'll do five more minutes, right?
55:44[Audience comment] It's not specific to GIS technology necessarily, but you made reference to the fact that…
55:49…most universities right now really aren't implementing geodesign. I mean, it's pretty new and that sort of thing.
55:55And I like the idea of geoscape, but I think there's a…the structures of universities and departments…
56:05…because the geoscape is so complex, we can't handle it, say, within our department of landscape architecture.
56:11And so it's something that's very broad and has to be very collaborative in terms of solving these problems…
56:18…but universities right now really aren't organized to facilitate that, and so I think we're going to have to see some reorganization…
56:25…within universities, within departments and colleges to make all of this happen.
56:29And I think it's going to happen, I think it's exciting, but right now we're not quite there yet.
56:34Right, good. Well, first thing is to recognize the problem, and thank you for doing that.
56:38So one thing that--another question or comment up here? Doug.
56:48[Audience comment] Yeah, there was a comment yesterday, someone I was speaking with…
56:51…and they were talking about the issue of big data and that we have so much data, so much complexity…
57:00…that when we start to deal with horizontal and vertically integrated systems, that we need an interface between us and the data…
57:12…that can somehow synthesize and simplify some of the questions. And I think the analogy that I think of is like a GPS.
57:23I mean, GPS is using tremendous amounts of data, and yet Garmin's got an interface that says Where to, your favorites, right?
57:33And I think that that's one of the challenges that geodesign faces that when we're dealing with such interrelated complexity that…
57:44…and because, as you say, most of us can handle maybe seven numbers, that that's a real challenge.
57:54And I'm not sure how you overcome that, but it seems to me that it's that interface…
58:00…that what you're providing through your software and so on is one of the real areas that really is critical.
58:08Right, that's a big challenge. So there's three things that come up here.
58:11One is the complexity issue; how does our software handle complexity via interface that allows you to work with it.
58:19How does it support collaboration? Because you think about solving a larger, complex problem over a period of time…
58:28…it's going to require more than one person on the design team.
58:31Let's say it requires 12. Let's say the project is going to last over a year.
58:37What are the chances of getting 12 people in the same bricks-and-mortar space…
58:42…over and over again through that year to get that design out? Pretty low, right?
58:49So you have to have a collaboration environment that supports virtual collaboration…
58:52…as well as bricks-and-mortar collaboration, and we're just now beginning to explore that.
58:57The thing that you alluded to a little bit, which I was thinking of…
59:00…was the notion of the third dimension and representing the geoscape with a three-dimensional extent…
59:08…that includes the atmosphere above the surface and the geology and groundwater, et cetera…
59:13…below the surface, and that's a three-dimensional extent.
59:16We have no way to represent the atmosphere, such as using 3D grids or voxels…
59:21…or using that same technology to represent what's below it.
59:23Now some of our customers do, but we don't.
59:26And we don't have the ability then to, if we did, to seamlessly move from this environment, voxel based…
59:33…to this environment, which might be two-dimensional raster or vector based, down to another voxel environment…
59:40…and back and forth and things in between.
59:42So when we think about 3D GIS, having to manage that more complex 3D space, including 3D topology…
59:50…that's a challenge that we haven't even thought about yet.
59:57Any other things we should think about? Okay, we're going to close here. I'll take two more comments.
1:00:09It's late in the afternoon, right? You need coffee or a beer. I want to go home, right?
1:00:21[Audience question] When do you think the geodesign process will be ready?
1:00:26Parts of it are ready now. In total, 10, 20 years.
1:00:35Not because it can't be done faster. There's a lot of inertia that we have to overcome.
1:00:42Okay, one more comment?
1:00:46Okay, I want to thank you for your time. I've enjoyed the conversation.
1:00:50And if you have trouble sleeping tonight, read the white paper. Guaranteed, few minutes, you're asleep, okay?
1:00:56Thank you very much.
1:01:16Do we have audio on it?
1:01:22[Video] …watershed, currently undeveloped. We've run a number of vulnerability and suitability analyses on the site…
1:01:31…and combined them to come up with some layers that will help us site new development.
1:01:37This is our vulnerability layer, where 1 through 9 indicates low vulnerability to high vulnerability.
1:01:51In addition to that, we have a suitability layer, which again, 1 to 9 indicates low suitability to high suitability…
1:01:58…for development, and that considered proximity to existing transit and roads. [Inaudible] put in that one.
1:02:10Okay, this is being done by a planner, not a GIS person. He's been on this system for 15 minutes.
1:02:16[Video continued] ...in northern Calgary. It's a big selling point.
1:02:19We've boiled the vulnerability analyses down into four maps where we look at the terrain suitability that was…
1:02:27These four went into the vulnerability--terrain suitability, habitat suitability, ecological infrastructure, and agricultural suitability.
1:02:39And these layers are going to act as constraints and help us site the development.
1:02:44Additionally, just some base layers on the background.
1:02:47We have the existing road network, highways, and this is one of the bus rapid transit routes in Calgary, and it's heading north here.
1:02:58So looking at this map, there's a coincidence of low vulnerability and high suitability for development at this intersection here…
1:03:08…and coincidentally, it is also on the road that currently has bus rapid transit, so we're going focus there for our new development.
1:03:18So what we'll do is zoom in, we'll bring in some of these constraints layers just to keep us focused on where…
1:03:25…we should and should not be siting new development.
1:03:28We're going to use terrain, habitat, and ecological infrastructure, and we're going to ignore agricultural just for this demonstration.
1:03:37So what we start with is, well, essentially placing our center of our development…
1:03:43…which will be right at the intersection of these roads.
1:03:46And at that center, we're going to put a bus rapid transit station.
1:03:54So once we have that center defined--I'll just zoom in a little bit more here--and begin to define our range of intensity of uses…
1:04:04…which go from an urban core, a high intensity down to rural intensities.
1:04:10Each one of these contains a mix of uses that'll be our second sketching exercise…
1:04:16…but for now, we just identify the range of intensity of uses.
1:04:21So we'll start with urban center and we'll just draw a little area, a zone, just around the center here.
1:04:36Let's just zoom in a little bit more so you can see this site a little better.
1:04:43So our urban core is at this intersection with our bus rapid transit.
1:04:48Around that, we'll just loosely sketch in an urban area.
1:04:55And there's some existing developments that are west here that we're going to avoid…
1:05:00…but our urban development will kind of straddle these roads and avoid some of those constraints that we've identified.
1:05:11And around that we'll do the same with suburban development, just being careful to avoid the constraints.
1:05:24Let's try that again.
1:05:35Additionally, most of this area is what we could call rural, so we're just going to highlight that, but still around the constraints.
1:05:45And that'll include existing development which is rural.
1:05:54We're going to call out these constraint areas as being natural, so that's our intensity is natural…
1:06:00…which essentially is saying we're not going to develop there.
1:06:15Going to highlight these areas here.
1:06:25Okay, so what we have is our gradation from high intensity to low intensity down to preserved natural areas.
1:06:38Yeah, so what we can do is turn off the constraints, and we'll just work within our developed areas here.
1:06:48Alright. So we have our gradations of development intensity around the transit node, and we're going to start placing uses.
1:06:56So the uses here aren't--there's not an intensity defined per use; we already defined that with the broad-scale gradations.
1:07:05So around the core here we'll create a retail/commercial mixed-use area just around that bus stop.
1:07:19And then around that, we'll loosely identify a retail/residential land use, and that'll go along the major roads here.
1:07:36Let's try that again. [Inaudible comment] Okay. Okay, go ahead.
1:07:52Right, so we'll identify that mixed-use residential area.
1:08:18So that's where roughly our multifamily will go. Around that, we'll put the single-family attached units…
1:08:24…so we'll keep things close to the road and in the areas we've identified not as natural but for development.
1:08:41Just follow that along the south end, and then just to kind of buffer our mixed core here, we'll just put some multifamily residential.
1:09:05Okay. So with that, we've established a mixed-use core here, it goes out to residential.
1:09:15Our previous layer, the intensity planning, establishes how intense each of those uses are…
1:09:22…so not only are we going from a core of commercial uses and mixed uses to residential…
1:09:29…we're going from high intensity to low intensity.
1:09:32And just to round this out, we'll add these bus routes and some roads to show the beginning of the structure of the development.
1:09:42So the bus route will run down towards our existing route, and we can just sketch in… [end video]
1:09:59We've run out of time, but that's pretty much the video.
1:10:00We're going to post that online with Doug's permission.
1:10:04His team came to work with us for four and a half days while we did a little studio work together.
1:10:10And it was great working with your guys, Doug; they're really outstanding people.
1:10:13But I think you can get to see what I mean when I talk about geodesign, designing in geographic space…
1:10:18…where you have all the other information that's referenced to that space available to you as a designer…
1:10:23…as reference as you design or for doing that assessment, every design, once it’s been completed.
1:10:28Alright. So we’ll--again, thank you for your time. I really appreciate it.
GeoDesign Philosophy, Theory, and Methods
Bill Miller of Esri GeoDesign Services share his knowledge about geodesign.
- Recorded: Jan 6th, 2012
- Runtime: 1:10:31
- Views: 70260
- Published: Feb 16th, 2012
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