Top Tips when Approaching Geodesign

Last week I attended the Geodesign Summit at Esri’s headquarters in Redlands, California. The keynote speaker, Bran Ferren, offered his top “tips” to keep in mind when employing geodesign concepts. I thought I would share them here, as best as my note taking skills recorded anyway!

Do no harm. This is part of the United Nations code of conduct. The principle was developed by Mary B. Anderson in the 1990’s. In terms of Geodesign I interpret this to mean ” geodesign practitioners should strive to minimize possible long term harm through short-term design decisions, provide design solutions that support recovery and long-term development of damaged eco-systems/human landscapes”.  An underlying idea here is to consider the long-term consequences of what you are designing.

Tackle long term problems and take the time to create a public dialog about the problem. The idea here is to build consensus among relevant actors.

Tell your story in a compelling way – visually and verbally. If this is done well, Geodesign advocates can become inspirational role models.

Educate people in Geodesign – to communicate and inspire people to imagine and create a vision for a new future.

Design the future for future generations. If we take a long term approach – the benefits will be seen by our children and our children’s children. Leave them with something alive and joyful and healthy.

As an example, check out the City of Boston’s use of GIS to map renewable energy projects.


For more information about Geodesign see Esri’s Geodesign resources here.

Keera P.

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