ESRI founder and president Jack Dangermond spoke about the promise of GeoDesign at the annual Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference earlier today in Long Beach, California (video). Dangermond was part of Session 5: Provocation, and shared the session with a diverse group of speakers, including former CIA covert operations officer Valerie Plame Wilson, and futurist and Whole Earth Catalog creator Stewart Brand.
Following is a summary of Dangermond’s TED Talk:
“Japan is famous for the master designers who harmonized the use of land and structures with the environment around them, finding the right balance between building and nature. Contrast this with the sprawling, monotonous suburbia so familiar today. It’s a kind of crime against nature.
“In his book Design with Nature, Ian McHarg showed us how we could use soils, geology, vegetation, and other data to make more rational and responsible designs—what the Japanese masters internalized during their site visits. Design with Nature inspired me to create Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), where we build the technology to implement McHarg’s vision.
“I believe that ‘designing with nature’, or GeoDesign, is our next evolutionary step. GeoDesign is both an old idea and a new idea. It reopens our minds and hearts; it puts in our hands the means to achieve what the Japanese masters did so many years ago—designing with geographic knowledge, thus living harmoniously with nature.”