GeoDesign in Land-Use Planning

On day one of the 2010 GeoDesign Summit, Brian Lee discusses how GeoDesign can be utilized in a participatory land use planning process.

Oct 25th, 2010

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00:01Thank you. Thank you for inviting me to speak today.

00:04I just recently got back from a seventeen-hundred-mile journey with my family.

00:10Ten days, four states, five transportation modes including a horse.

00:15My wife was the DJ, the snack provider; I drove; and Sophia and my daughter Fiona, 5 and 3, were in the backseat.

00:24And also came along is, of course, the all-important dashboard. And we're going to come back to this dashboard.

00:30And in particular, the difference between the arrival time and the current time with a 3- and 5-year-old is really critical.

00:40So the importance of feedback, visually and orally, for those of you that have a 3-year-old or a 5-year-old or once was that...

00:52The word potty rings a bell, and finding a place to go is really important.

00:58And the sound of "Ugh!" and then "Ew" really makes an impression on the driver to make a decision. Okay?

01:08So we're going to come back to this idea, maybe not so graphically, but...

01:12So we've used geospatial technologies; in this case, we've identified a whole river basin called the Licking River Basin...

01:20...to identify places where we might want to employ riparian zone management strategies.

01:26Pretty simple. Simple overway...overlay stuff, raster analysis.

01:31We've also used it to identify value systems for people, green areas being highly valuable in this place...

01:40...in this particular context for equa...equine resources in central Kentucky.

01:46We've also done some stuff where we've modeled environmental sensitivity, wetlands and those sorts of things,...

01:52...and likelihood of places of change by basically going through a LISA process with community stakeholders.

02:01We've also, then, put these things together, made a map...

02:04...identified places of conflict between development and environmental sensitivity and places of low conflict.

02:10So pretty basic stuff really, when you get right down to it.

02:14And what's made this very easy for us in many ways is ModelBuilder...

02:19...but this is kind of complicated to deal with for community participants.

02:24They...they kind of get it, but they don't. They can see...understand flowcharts and that sort of thing.

02:29So. One of the things I work with is a lot of students, beginning design students.

02:35I teach in a...in a landscape architecture program.

02:38One of the things we're always trying to get them to do is to see the landscape through different means.

02:43One of the things we've been playing with is Google Maps, just for visualizing different types of data that already exist.

02:51So in particular, I want to talk about this Neighborhood Design Studio in the white bubble...

02:54...and this Community Assistance Studio in the...in the blue bubble there.

02:59Fourth year fall and fifth year spring, respectively. We are a five-year undergraduate program.

03:04I also teach two other courses, two GIS and landscape analysis courses, and a land-use planning applications course...

03:12...both...all three of them electives. Not every student will take them.

03:17So in this Neighborhood Studio, what we're trying to do is get students in touch with what it means to design a neighborhood.

03:23Walkable neighborhoods, smart growth type neighborhoods.

03:26We're linking them up to pedometers; we're thinking about linking them up to GPS units and that sort of thing.

03:33In the fifth-year studio, or that...that blue bubble, we're using a classic Steiner model...

03:40...where we go with a community and go through a design process similar to what was described this morning with TPL...

03:48...but also taken from Fritz Steinitz' work. And we do this in one semester; it's about four months, roughly, or a little less...

03:57...where we go from start to finish with this community, produce a bunch of products and involve them right from the get-go.

04:05And the whole idea of that whole final studio is to just create a series of ideas and then have the community evaluate them.

04:12And have them go the next step. So we're just a cog in this process; we don't come out with an ultimate plan.

04:19So what I find is difficult for students is to constantly get feedback.

04:23In a studio where you might have 20 or 30 students, getting around to the professor is difficult.

04:29So what I think we should do is look at a lot of the current tools that we have...

04:34...and many of the developers are here in the room today.

04:38All of these tools are all good, but they all have limitations.

04:42And I think we need to come up with something different, a little bit different, in a short time frame.

04:47So we'll go on another short journey.

04:49I think we need to create a GeoDesign performance dashboard, something that looks like this.

04:55It's integrating with SketchUp...ArcSketchUp...ArcSketch, sorry.

04:59We're using a split screen tablet format so that we can switch off these indicators, this dashboard, coming back to us...

05:06...or to that student or that community member...

05:09...so that they can use the freedom of design without getting analysis if they want.

05:14This continual feedback, like I mentioned, we need to use a variety of metrics to give them feedback...

05:19...depending on what scale of the problem they're working at.

05:23I think going forward with Juan Carlos and the geospatial Delphi is an important way to go.

05:29And I want to do this, or I'd like to see this done, I should say, 12 to 18 months from now.

05:36This is a rapid prototype.

05:38We have places to work, ideas to work from, conservation thresholds for land-use planners...

05:44...from a...Environmental Law Institute, as well as measuring landscapes.

05:48We have smart growth ideas to work from.

05:50But in particular, I think, what I'm using in my class is that I find the students find very helpful in getting feedback...

05:57...is LEED for neighborhood development as well as the Sustainable Sites Initiative...

06:02...as...as a way they can evaluate their designs as they're moving through.

06:07So thank you.

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