GeoPlanner for ArcGIS Enables Resilient Design

Create and Share Plans Easily with Esri Geodesign Application

Esri recently released a web app called GeoPlanner for ArcGISthat brings the power of geodesign to land-based planning. GeoPlanner for ArcGIS is a JavaScript-based application that requires no plug-ins and has been designed to run in web browsers on both desktop and standard-sized tablet devices supporting a minimum 1024 x 768 resolution.

GeoPlanner for ArcGISincorporates each aspect of a complete planning workflow—project creation, data identification, comparative analysis, and reporting—into a single web-based application. The app helps planners from a wide range of industries create and report on alternative planning scenarios to make geographically informed decisions.

Create, analyze, and report on alternative planning scenarios using the new GeoPlanner for ArcGIS app.

Create, analyze, and report on alternative planning scenarios using the new GeoPlanner for ArcGIS app.

GeoPlanner for ArcGIS comes with several ready-to-use planning templates for land-use planning, special event planning, and more, and it can be easily configured using ArcGIS for Desktop to meet the needs of your specific industry or organization.

You can purchase the GeoPlanner for ArcGIS app from ArcGIS Marketplace. You will need an ArcGIS Online subscription or a trial account to start using the app.

People outside the United States should contact Esri Offices in their area.

[Source: Esri press release]

Ecocitizen World Map Project to Launch at World Urban Forum in Medellín

EcoCitizenWorldMapProjectLogo72-e1387608575887International collaboration delivers tools for sustainable urban development and links community crowdsourced information to national, regional, and global data sets.

A coalition of international partners announced today the launch of the Ecocitizen World Map Project, a powerful online crowd mapping tool designed to explore, understand, and measure holistic urban health from a citizen’s perspective, at the upcoming 7th World Urban Forum (WUF7) in Medellín Colombia, April 5-11th.

Led by non-profit Ecocity Builders USA in collaboration with the Organization of American States, Esri, the Association of American Geographers, Eye on Earth (a partnership of UNEP + Abu Dhabi Environmental Data Initiative) along with local academic partners, NGOs and community organizations, the public-private partnership was developed to facilitate simple individual snapshots of a community’s social and environmental health as well as more sophisticated local and regional training and geospatial analysis.

“As the global community is becoming more aware of the crucial role cities play in mitigating climate change and leading the way toward sustainable development, the importance of understanding and connecting the diverse layers that comprise urban ecosystems cannot be overstated,” says Kirstin Miller, Executive Director of Ecocity Builders.

The Ecocitizen World Map Project consists of two interwoven elements. One enables and encourages citizens to participate directly by taking a short online survey—powered by crowdsourcing platform Ushahidi—ranking their cities and neighborhoods along fifteen conditions outlined by the International Ecocity Framework and Standards Initiative.

Another provides on-the-ground training in pilot cities to students, citizens, and public officials, using Esri’s mobile GIS technology in combination with online tools and educational materials to assess, measure, and plan for increasing the health and resilience of urban systems and to identify barriers to improving quality of life. Inaugural pilot cities include WUF7 host Medellín, supported by a grant from the OAS’ Sustainable Communities in the Americas Initiative, as well as Cairo and Casablanca, supported by a grant from Eye on Earth.

“In order to make informed decisions that benefit all stakeholders equitably and sustainably we have to delve more deeply into as many social, geographical, and environmental areas as possible,” Miller explains the need for charting the progress of cities’ social and environmental sustainability. “And who better to provide that first-hand knowledge than the inhabitants of those microcosms?”

The project will be presented by Ecocity Builders, AAG, Esri, OAS, AGEDI, and the US Department of State at the “Building Resilience and Equity Through Citizen Participation and Geodesign” session on Thursday April 10th, 11am – 12pm, at the UN Habitat City Changer Room. It will also be showcased throughout the conference at the Esri Geospatial Pavilion. A training event entitled “How to use mobile technology to measure urban equity,” presented by ITC-University of Twente, the Netherlands, Esri, and Ecocity Builders, will be held on Wednesday, April 9th at TE7, Room 20.

More information:

Connect with Thought Leaders at the 2014 Geodesign Summit

geodesign-logoSee How Using Geospatial Technology for Sustainable Design Will Shape the Future

Planning and design professionals from local government, landscape architecture, architecture, health, engineering, and academia will gather at Esri headquarters in Redlands, California, January 29–30, 2014, for the fifth annual Geodesign Summit. The event is open to anyone interested in finding innovative design solutions to address today’s major challenges. This year’s event will explore the use of geodesign for the planning of sustainable and resilient cities.

Geodesign—the blending of science, technology, and design—has taken off around the world with growing numbers of conferences and educational degree programs.

“Wherever I travel in the US, Asia, and Europe, people are saying we need holistic, integrative, evidence-based planning and design if we are going to solve the world’s biggest challenges,” said Shannon McElvaney, global industry manager of community development at Esri. “We are moving beyond the siloed thinking of the past. People who attend the Geodesign Summit want to share their ideas and learn how they can apply geodesign thinking and tools to their work.”

Attendees will have many opportunities to get involved. Hands-on training, featured speakers, stimulating discussions, and Lightning Talks will be offered. New to this year’s summit are preconference workshops taught by leading geospatial and design evangelists. In addition to a welcome social, networking breaks, and lunches, attendees will be able to further connect with others during the summit party on the last night of the event.

Featured speakers in this year’s lineup include the following: Chris Markuson, director of economic development for Pueblo County, Colorado, will speak on how he is using geodesign to secure funding to build a sustainable, resilient community in a former mining and steel town. David Early, principal of The Planning Center DC&E and an expert on smart growth and development, will speak about GreenScore, a methodology for evaluating the impacts of various planning scenarios to increase the health and sustainability of local communities. Will Rogers, president and CEO of The Trust for Public Land, will discuss ParkScore, a groundbreaking effort to analyze the accessibility of a city’s parks and open space to its citizens. He will introduce the new geodesign application that will allow city managers to increase their ParkScore rating. Carl Steinitz, professor emeritus, Harvard Graduate School of Design, will present a case study of his work done for Soma City, Japan, where geodesign was used to derive alternative plans against the constraints of flooding, radiation, rapid evacuation, and a shrinking population after the devastating earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power plant disaster of 2011.

For more information and to register for the summit, visit

[Source: Esri press release]

Participatory Development of a New Interactive Tool for Capturing Social and Ecological Dynamism in Conservation Prioritization

Landscape and Urban PlanningLandscape and Urban Planning, Volume 114, June 2013, Pages 80–91

By Petina L. Pert, Scott N. Lieske, and Rosemary Hill


  • The Collaborative Habitat Investment Atlas is an interactive spatial tool.
  • Allows display and rapid adjustment to stakeholder and habitat values.
  • Enables on-the-fly changes to “optimal” landscape designs values.
  • Models “levels of protection” of multiple habitat laws at many scales.
  • Outputs include maps of habitat prioritization for multi-scalar planning.

“Conservation tools have historically been oriented toward optimization for singular decision-makers. A new generation of participatory tools is now appearing and have begun to recognize multiple human values and decision-makers. However, very few tools accommodate a fully interactive process that can account for both ecological and social dynamism and complexity. The Collaborative Habitat Investment Atlas (CHIA) is a participatory tool for conservation prioritization with a strong visual and dynamic capability. The CHIA promotes interaction among stakeholders through two aspects: stakeholders’ ability to alter variable weights to reflect different biodiversity protection requirements; and formula-based dynamic attributes that immediately update results visually.

The overall CHIA modeling process showing engagements and stakeholder values incorporated by slider-bar functionality, data attributes, dynamic updating of attributes (as values adjusted by slider-bars), biodiversity model, level of protection model and threat model and an example of conservation prioritization output map.

The overall CHIA modeling process showing engagements and stakeholder values incorporated by slider-bar functionality, data attributes, dynamic updating of attributes (as values adjusted by slider-bars), biodiversity model, level of protection model and threat model and an example of conservation prioritization output map.

“This paper documents the development of the CHIA within its role as a part of an overall adaptive community-based natural resource management pilot project in Australia’s globally significant humid tropical forests. There are two primary innovations of this approach. The first innovation is the dynamic updating of values and other data, allowing rapid feedback on “what-if?” type questions and enhances the public engagement processes. The second innovation is the recognition and spatial description of different levels of protection across the landscape. Results include parcel-based maps that display the three models: biodiversity importance, level of protection and threat. Additionally, the three models were combined and two examples of suitability maps to aid conservation decision-making are included. When integrated into a conservation planning process the CHIA opens lines of communication, allows exploration of alternatives and enables prioritization of investment that captures the diversity of stakeholder preferences in multiple social decision making contexts.”

Call for Papers — Geodesign: Changing the World, Changing Design

Landscape and Urban Planning (LAND)Guest Editors: Frederick R. Steiner and Allan W. Shearer, School of Architecture, The University of Texas at Austin

Geodesign is an emerging, interdisciplinary field that has evolved from Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and encompasses digital, two-, three-, and four-dimensional representation tools developed in the environmental design disciplines. Over a relatively short span of time, Geodesign has gone from a neologism to the topic of international professional conferences to the focus of research centers to the premise for new classes at many institutions of higher learning and degrees at leading universities. Yet, despite so much activity—or, perhaps, because of it—there is no commonly agreed upon definition for the word.
The purpose of the special issue of Landscape and Urban Planning (LAND) is to provide a basis for common understanding of what Geodesign is by asking what Geodesign does. We seek papers that examine how questions of environmental change have been posed in Geodesign and that demonstrate how the answers allow for, or demand, new models of design practice and education.
We welcome such investigations in the forms of review articles, research articles, case studies, and discussions about research needs and pedagogy. We anticipate submissions that draw upon the disciplines of geography, computer science, and the environmental sciences, as well as landscape architecture, community and regional planning, and architecture.

Abstract and Manuscript Submission
An abstract of 800 words or less, specifying title, author(s), affiliation and e-mail address, should be sent to Dr. Allan W. Shearer ( by 15 February 2014. Abstracts will be shortlisted by the editorial panel against the criteria of originality, methodological quality, and relevance. Authors of abstracts demonstrating clear scholarly merits will be invited to submit a full manuscript.
Invited manuscripts should be should be between 4,000–8,000 words and submitted through the LAND website by 15 June 2014. All papers submitted for this Special Issue will undergo the usual LAND peer review process. Details on article type and format are available from the LAND journal website at:

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:

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:

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.”

Two New Free e-Books about Geodesign

Geodesign in Practice: Designing a Better World

geodesign-in-practice-cover-sm“Our world faces serious challenges, and it’s clear that we need to work together to collectively create a better future.

“Geodesign offers an iterative design method that uses stakeholder input, geospatial modeling, impact simulations, and real-time feedback to facilitate holistic designs and smart decisions. It gives us a framework for understanding, analyzing, and acting, with the ultimate goal of creating a better future for us all. Geodesign tools and techniques offer what may be our best hope for transforming the way we interact with the world.

“While there is still much more to do in order to transform geodesign into a full-fledged movement, the 12 articles in this e-book are proof positive we have already started to fundamentally transform how we think about making the world a better place. Geodesign is here to stay.”

Shannon McElvaney

Read the book [PDF]

Geodesign: Past, Present, and Future


“Geodesign thought leaders share how we got here, where we are today, and where the technology might take us.

“Geodesign is an iterative design method that uses stakeholder input, geospatial modeling, impact simulations, and real-time feedback to facilitate holistic designs and smart decisions.
“How did we get here?
“What are the current trends in geodesign?
“Where might geodesign take us in the future?
“The nine articles in this e-book, written by some of the leading thinkers in the emerging field of geodesign, attempt to answer these questions while offering the reader a revealing glimpse into the promise of geodesign: a framework for understanding, analyzing, and acting, with the ultimate goal of creating a better future for us all.”

Shannon McElvaney

Read the book [PDF]

CLIMsystems to Unveil New Marine Climate Adaptation Mapping Tool and CMIP5 data for ArcGIS at 2013 Esri UC

CLIMsystems Ltd is dedicated to providing state-of-the-art climate adaptation and change risk assessment tools and services to a wide range of clients. They will be launching the new SimCLIM for Arc GIS/Marine to accompany the SimCLIM for Arc GIS/Climate solution on July 8th, 2013, at the Esri User Conference in San Diego, CA.

Climate adaptation is increasingly recognised as a factor to be considered across sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture, water resources, marine, conservation, biodiversity and disaster risk management. CLIMsystems wishes to put the knowledge, capability and climate-proofing capacity in your hands for conducting climate change risk and adaptation assessments.

CLIMsystems is proud to announce the release of the two new data sets and a new toolbar for ArcGIS Desktop. To follow on the successful launch of the SimCLIM for ArcGIS/Climate add-in earlier this year CLIMsystem announces SimCLIM for ArcGIS/Marine add-in. After extensive testing and end user review the new marine climate adaptation add-in is available in July 2013.

The new add-in includes nine key ocean variables:

  • sea surface temperature
  • pH
  • primary production
  • total alkalinity
  • dissolved oxygen, nitrate, phosphate, iron and silicate.

Baselines and general circulation model data is all derived from the most recent CMIP5 global models. The new marine add-in also includes the capacity for ensemble application and the 2.6, 4.5, 6.0, and 8.5 representative concentration pathways (RCPs). The tool and datasets represent a revolution in the provision of climate change marine data for a range of end users. Climate change and adaptation is impacting on the management of marine resources. The tool SimCLIM for Arc GIS/Marine ready to handle this uncertainty is now within the grasp of Esri Arc GIS® users.

The current SimCLIM for ArcGIS/Climate add-in has also been upgraded to include ensemble capabilities for the Unites States. Bias corrected, statistically downscaled data derived from the latest CMIP5 models with four RCPs is now available for the continental USA and as individual US states. It includes the variables of precipitation and minimum, mean and maximum temperature. Users have described SimCLIM for Arc GIS/Climate as an “easy to use tool which supports rapid integration of prospective scenarios. The creation of scenarios becomes much less time consuming which optimizes research costs and enhances our current capacity to achieve. In our industry, the greatest benefit would be for the GIS analyst supporting ecological studies.”

CLIMsystems can be visited during the Esri UC 2013 in San Diego from July 8th to 11th at the Environment Showcase (Hall C) at booth V1424, in the Map Gallery Upper Level in the Sails Pavilion on Monday the 8th from 3:30 to 8:00 pm, in their presentation in the Demo Theater of the Environment Showcase (Hall C) on Tuesday 9 July at 11:15 am and at the Paper Session Climate Change – Analysis and Adaptation on the Upper Level in Room 23C on 9 July at 8:30 am.

CLIMsystems, established in 2003, has an impressive international footprint delivering innovative climate modelling tools backed by high quality data processing capabilities. The science underpinning the models is supported by a prestigious scientific advisory panel of preeminent climate change scholars. The extensive network of Associates located around the world and affiliated with a range of stakeholder groups further strengthens the commitment and capacity for CLIMsystems to deliver high quality products and services for climate adaptation and risk assessment.

For more information on CLIMsystems products and services visit: or SimCLIM for Arc GIS/Climate Free Trail version and data sets are available from

[Source: CLIMsystems press release]

Developing Context-sensitive Livability Indicators for Transportation Planning: A Measurement Framework

Journal of Transport GeographyJournal of Transport Geography, Volume 26, January 2013, Pages 51–64

Harvey J. Miller, Frank Witlox, and Calvin P. Tribby


  • Community livability concepts are receiving new emphases in transportation planning.
  • This paper provides a framework for constructing quantitative livability indicators.
  • We critically review indicator construction methods based on multicriteria analysis.
  • We discuss methods for capturing diverse stakeholder perspectives and geographic context.
  • We also discuss strategies for integrating indicators into transportation planning.

“New emphases on livability and sustainability are creating demands for measuring and applying these concepts in transportation policy and planning. However, livability and sustainability are complex, multidimensional concepts that require careful measurement if they are to be applied meaningfully in plan evaluation and benchmarking.


Conceptual foundation of multidimensional indicators.

“This paper provides a framework for constructing and applying quantitative livability and sustainability indicators. In addition to critically reviewing principles of constructing indicators describing a multidimensional concept such as livability or sustainability, we also discuss methods for capturing local context, a critical feature for transportation planning. Specifically, we review methods for incorporating diverse stakeholder perspectives into indicator construction and spatial analytic tools for geographic entities and relationships. We also discuss spatial decision support systems and the Geodesign concept for organizing these tools and technologies as well as integrating livability indicators into the overall planning process.”