The Inclusive Push for GeoDesign

by Matt Ball on January 8, 2010

In the final day of the GeoDesign Summit it was widely acknowledged by ESRI that the concept of GeoDesign is not theirs alone and that it needs to involve other vendors and be driven by educators, researchers, technologists and practitioners. There was widespread enthusiasm to continue the conference and to promote the concept more broadly.

Even though ESRI has fostered and funded the event and has jump started the concept, Jack Dangermond made apologies that the idea has become branded ESRI. He made the commitment to push GeoDesign away from the ESRI website to let it stand alone, and to foster more inclusive development of the concept.

Discussions of outreach included the idea of engaging various association communities such as the American Planning Association, the American Society of Landscape Architecture, the American Institute of Architects, the Association of American Geographers, and others. The American Planning Association was present and committed to the idea of sessions and panels at their conference and features within their magazine and journal. Similar outreach is expected within other associations and communities. The inclusion of engineers and construction communities was also explored. The designs will eventually be built, and it’s important to engage those that put the plans into practice.

The idea of a book or books was discussed, and there was a good degree of debate about whether a book was the right medium and whether it should be a coordinated effort. Various ideas for wikis and other collaborative sites were discussed as an alternative or addition to a hard bound and finite collection of ideas.

Funding for research was discussed, with the idea of a new approach to the National Science Foundation. The Department of Energy was also suggested as a source for funding for projects along the lines of combating climate change. There was also discussion of environment-oriented associations and the possibility for funding on a more local or regional scale for research projects and agendas.

The participants in the event were heavily North American, and the idea of broader global participation was also suggested. The idea of funding from the international communities such as the United Nations and World Bank was of interest to broaden the scope. It was suggested that there are more designers and planners internationally than there are geospatial users, and there are opportunities to spread the word worldwide, particularly with the expressed intent to change the world.

At the close of this event, the participants are energized and there are a large number of action items with people making commitments to continue work to see the concept live and grow.

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