The Ecological Imperative for Environmental Design and Planning

FEEcoverFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Volume 11, Issue 7 (September 2013)

By Frederick Steiner, Mark Simmons, Mark Gallagher, Janet Ranganathan, and Colin Robertson

“Environmental design and planning are important tools for human adaptation. Designers and planners depend on experience, craft, and environmental knowledge to shape preferred futures. Ecological literacy would enhance the design and planning of built environments. The concepts of “resilience” and “ecosystem” offer opportunities for collaboration between ecologists and practitioners in the design and planning disciplines. Urban resilience to natural disasters and coastal “green” infrastructure represent two areas where design and planning based on ecological principles should be applied. The Sustainable Sites Initiative is a practical example of interdisciplinary collaboration.”

Depiction of oyster beds off the coast of New York City (specifically, Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood) proposed by K Orff and SCAPE. Here, an armature is proposed where native oysters and other marine life can live. Read More: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/full/10.1890/130052

Depiction of oyster beds off the coast of New York City (specifically, Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood) proposed by K Orff and SCAPE. Here, an armature is proposed where native oysters and other marine life can live.
Read More: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/full/10.1890/130052

Learning from Students: Geodesign Lessons from the Regional Design Studio

NUcoverJournal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability, Published Online 08 February 2013

By David L. Tulloch

“This paper explores potential issues in the emerging field of geodesign by examining key lessons learned through design studios. Presenting three distinct projects as examples from regional design studios in an undergraduate landscape architecture program, this paper points out common learning experiences that repeat despite very different contexts. Recurring issues that can be observed from these examples include difficulty in addressing scale, difficulties in dealing with the volumes of data and information available and complications due to perceptions of the false dichotomy between science and design.

As students worked to develop design interventions that responded to the existing site characteristics, they also found inspiration in the earlier work of Ian McHarg who had also diagrammed the dunes of the Jersey shore in Design with Nature (1969).

As students worked to develop design interventions that responded to the existing site
characteristics, they also found inspiration in the earlier work of Ian McHarg who had also
diagrammed the dunes of the Jersey shore in Design with Nature (1969).

“With the potential to reshape urban planning and design, the need for geodesign to openly embrace a grand vision of itself is evident. However, for these changes to be meaningful, serious changes need to be undertaken in our educational processes developing a generation of urban and regional geodesigners who are better equipped to think scientifically while shaping landscapes and places responsibly and creatively.”

URISA’s GISCorps Celebrates Ten Years of Outstanding Volunteerism

URISA2013 is a milestone year for URISA’s GISCorps. Ten years ago during URISA’s 2003 Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, GISCorps was officially adopted as a URISA program to coordinate short-term, volunteer-based GIS expertise and support to underprivileged communities worldwide. Volunteers provide their GIS expertise remotely or on-site and have been involved in a variety of missions, supporting humanitarian relief, emergency response, health and education, local capacity building, and community development. Since its debut, well over 400 volunteers have been deployed to 131 missions around the world.

During GIS-Pro 2013: URISA’s 51st Annual Conference in Providence, Rhode Island (September 16-19, 2013), GISCorps will update attendees on the past year’s missions and projects in progress and will be celebrated for its accomplishments. There will also be a URISA GISCorps display in the exhibit hall at the conference with highlights and opportunities to get involved and learn more.

GISCorps is run by a core committee of volunteers who keep the program running. Core committee members work with partner agencies to determine project needs, query the extensive volunteer database for individuals with required skills, and coordinate the interaction between project sponsors and volunteers.  Some high-profile GISCorps missions have provided GIS expertise in response to disasters (hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, the Asian tsunami, and the Haiti and Japanese earthquakes) while other missions have had more of a humanitarian focus (mapping health and educational facilities in Sierra Leone; trend analysis and data collection to combat wildlife poaching in Zambia; development of a web mapping portal in Armenia; and GIS education and training in Afghanistan, Thailand, and Albania).

URISA’s GISCorps is the perfect complement to a GIS professional’s experience and education. Learn more and register as a volunteer or a friend of the program and start giving back today! For more information, visit www.giscorps.org or www.urisa.org.

[Source: URISA press release]