Geodesign in Urban Planning

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 March 2024) | Viewed by 22850

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign County, IL 61820, USA
Interests: sustainability; urban modeling; climate planning
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Architecture, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV 89154, USA
Interests: climate design and planning; sustainable design
Department of Architecture, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Interests: geodesign; systems thinking; resilience; urban water management; planning support systems

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the twenty-first century, the world is confronted with myriad challenges associated with climate change, economic inequality, and a lack of social justice. At the same time, the world is experiencing urbanization on a scale unprecedented in human history. It is in these contexts which urban planners are being asked, explicitly and implicitly, to develop cities of enormous scale which not only do not exacerbate our twenty-first century challenges, but also rise up to meet these challenges head-on. What is more, this process is occurring at a pace that would have been inconceivable to previous generations.

Adding even further complexity, the process of urban development involves countless stakeholders with disparate knowledge and sometimes conflicting desires regarding development outcomes. Naturally, the question emerges: by what process can contemporary urban planners and designers optimize urban form to meet the needs of all stakeholders while simultaneously being uncompromising on issues of economic, ecological, and social sustainability? Answering this question correctly will have tremendous impacts on our planet, our health, and our society. 

Fortunately, new techniques in computer modeling and applied geography have armed today’s planner with a tremendous amount of spatially explicit information on the environments in which said planners aspire to work. It is from this ability to model that the “new” discipline of geodesign has emerged. Geodesign, as originally defined by Carl Steinitz and expounded upon by an ever-growing body of scholars, offers a path forward to meet the unique urban challenges of our time through the use of technology and a collaborative process which draws on the inputs of numerous stakeholders.  

In this Special Issue, we explore cutting-edge scholarship on geodesign as it relates to urban planners and designers. The breadth of research explores how principles of geodesign are being defined, developed, enhanced, and applied to a variety of contexts around the world.  By exploring this process and evaluating the solutions it provides, this research seeks to advance our understanding of this promising method for developing sustainable urban solutions. 

Prof. Dr. Brian Deal
Dr. Grant Mosey
Dr. Yexuan Gu
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • geodesign
  • urban planning
  • landscape planning
  • sustainability
  • urbanization
  • urban form

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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23 pages, 1897 KiB  
Article
Dynamic Evolution of Multi-Scale Ecosystem Services and Their Driving Factors: Rural Planning Analysis and Optimisation
by Huiya Yang, Hongchao Jiang, Renzhi Wu, Tianzi Hu and Hao Wang
Land 2024, 13(7), 995; https://doi.org/10.3390/land13070995 - 5 Jul 2024
Viewed by 318
Abstract
Rural areas provide ecosystem services (ESs) to urban metropolitan regions. These services are threatened by the constant pressure of urbanisation and new interest in rural development. This has heightened the conflict between environmental concerns and developmental needs, thereby presenting significant land management and [...] Read more.
Rural areas provide ecosystem services (ESs) to urban metropolitan regions. These services are threatened by the constant pressure of urbanisation and new interest in rural development. This has heightened the conflict between environmental concerns and developmental needs, thereby presenting significant land management and rural planning challenges. Employing a quantitative measurement and optimisation framework, we investigate six representative ES variables to assess planning strategies that can address this contradiction. We used a suburban rural area around Nanjing, China, as our study area. We collected spatial data from 2005 to 2020 at two scales (village level and 500 m grid) to map ESs, quantify interactions (trade-offs and synergies among ES bundles), and identify the social, ecological, and landscape drivers of rural change. Based on this, rural planning strategies for optimising ESs at different scales have been proposed. Our findings include (1) spatial heterogeneity in the distribution of ESs, (2) the identification of seven synergistic and eight trade-off pairs among ESs, (3) a spatial scale effect in suburban rural areas, and (4) the spatial trade-offs/synergies of ESs exhibiting a 'Matthew effect’. The identification of key trade-offs and synergistic ES pairs and the categorisation of ES bundles form the basis for a multi-scale hierarchical management approach for ESs in the region. By examining the commonalities and variations in drivers across diverse scales, we established connections and focal points for spatial planning. We use these findings to propose spatial planning and landscape policy recommendations for rural suburban areas on multiple scales. This study aims to provide a comprehensive and detailed spatial optimisation strategy for rural areas that can help contribute to their revitalisation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geodesign in Urban Planning)
24 pages, 8390 KiB  
Article
What Role Do Urban Parks Play in Forming a Sense of Place? Lessons for Geodesign Using Social Media
by Yijun Zeng and Brian Deal
Land 2023, 12(11), 1960; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12111960 - 24 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1896
Abstract
The sense of place is a multidimensional construct that evokes an emotional commitment to a specific geographic setting. It can be a crucial aspect of cultural ecosystem services. While social media has gained popularity as a tool for assessing ecosystem services, its effectiveness [...] Read more.
The sense of place is a multidimensional construct that evokes an emotional commitment to a specific geographic setting. It can be a crucial aspect of cultural ecosystem services. While social media has gained popularity as a tool for assessing ecosystem services, its effectiveness in capturing a sense of place, its impact on cultural ecosystem services, and its role in the landscape design process remains less certain. This study investigates the role of urban parks in shaping the sense of place by analyzing user-generated content from a specific social media platform (Twitter). We gathered tweets from 30 diverse urban parks in Chicago, covering various park types, sizes, shapes, and management styles. Our analysis reveals multiple facets of the sense of place associated with urban parks. We suggest that a sense of place is not solely rooted in the attachment to physical surroundings but also in the personal experiences individuals encounter within these spaces. Residents residing near parks tend to develop a sense of ownership and responsibility, leading to stronger emotional bonds with their environment. Urban parks foster community engagement, enhance social cohesion, and offer opportunities for nature-based experiences. Furthermore, this study underscores the significance of diverse park features, accessibility, and size in bolstering place attachment. Our research demonstrates the potential for geoinformation analysis in the geodesign process as a cost-effective and scalable approach for understanding the person–place connection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geodesign in Urban Planning)
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22 pages, 7827 KiB  
Article
Assessing Urban Resilience with Geodesign: A Case Study of Urban Landscape Planning in Belgrade, Serbia
by Sandra Mitrović, Nevena Vasiljević, Bojana Pjanović and Tijana Dabović
Land 2023, 12(10), 1939; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12101939 - 18 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1437
Abstract
Resilient cities have emerged as novel urban ecosystems that respond to the increasing challenges of contemporary urban development. A new methodological approach is needed to measure and assess the degree of resilience of the urban landscape during the ongoing planning process, considering different [...] Read more.
Resilient cities have emerged as novel urban ecosystems that respond to the increasing challenges of contemporary urban development. A new methodological approach is needed to measure and assess the degree of resilience of the urban landscape during the ongoing planning process, considering different planning and design scenarios. Based on this consideration, the first attempt of this study was to develop a resilience index that summarizes the application of resilience theory in urban landscape planning. Is geodesign an appropriate tool to assess urban resilience? This was the main research question and the topic of the workshop ’’IGC—Resilient City of Belgrade’’ at the Faculty of Forestry, University of Belgrade (Master Landscape Studio). The main result of this research is a model for urban resilience assessment with IGC geodesign, which allows to measure scenario changes through developed resilience indicators (index), which are determined by a set of parameters (area, redundancy, diversity, porosity, carbon sequestration, edge type, edge length, etc.). The methodological approach allows quantifying the impact of adopted innovations in geodesign scenario proposals, which plays a crucial role in strengthening the connection between landscape planning and design. In the context of the novel urban ecosystem, future urban landscape planning should focus on resilience as a measure to achieve sustainable development goals, supported by geodesign as a collaborative and spatially explicit negotiation tool. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geodesign in Urban Planning)
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19 pages, 6184 KiB  
Article
Geo-Design in Planning for Bicycling: An Evidence-Based Approach for Collaborative Bicycling Planning
by Parisa Zare, Christopher Pettit, Simone Leao, Ori Gudes and Balamurugan Soundararaj
Land 2022, 11(11), 1943; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11111943 - 31 Oct 2022
Viewed by 2177
Abstract
In recent times, cities have increasingly promoted bicycling as a mode of transport as part of their strategy to develop a more sustainable transportation system. Australia is one of the countries that seeks to promote bicycling in a significant manner. There are two [...] Read more.
In recent times, cities have increasingly promoted bicycling as a mode of transport as part of their strategy to develop a more sustainable transportation system. Australia is one of the countries that seeks to promote bicycling in a significant manner. There are two primary barriers faced in this effort. The first is the organizational complexity of planning and of implementing cycling-related projects, which can span across different agencies in government at various levels, from federal to local. Second is the lack of a clear framework for effectively planning a bicycling network using multiple data and tools available to these agencies within a limited budget. This study investigates the use of a geo-design-based, collaborative, and data-driven framework for planning bicycling networks, which brings various stakeholders, such as transport planners, urban designers, and academics, into the planning practice, thus overcoming the mentioned barriers. Geo-design is an environmental design framework for complex problems involving the collaboration of different teams and stakeholders, supported by digital computing and communication technologies. To the best of our knowledge, there is no study in the literature applying the geo-design approach for bicycling planning. Therefore, this study aims to develop and test a geo-design framework for planning bicycling networks to examine possible design scenarios and facilitate decision-making processes. In this regard, this study developed a geo-design framework for planning for bicycling using various bicycling-related datasets and digital tools, such as the Agent-Based Model. Then, it applied the framework to design a real-world bicycle network through a geo-design workshop while examining the usefulness and effectiveness of the developed procedures and tools. Policymakers attended the geo-design workshop from the local government authority of the case study area, Penrith, and post-graduate level urban planning students from UNSW. Due to COVID-19-related restrictions, the workshop was held in a hybrid format, with half of the participants joining online. The results of this study revealed that by facilitating collaboration and applying data-driven approaches, the proposed geo-design bicycling framework could improve the process of planning for bicycling infrastructure. This study also enabled the research team to understand the strengths and limitations of the developed framework and associated tools, which will help to optimize them for other planning practices in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geodesign in Urban Planning)
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17 pages, 4558 KiB  
Article
A Procedural Modeling Approach for Ecosystem Services and Geodesign Visualization in Old Town Pocatello, Idaho
by Xingyue Yang and Donna Delparte
Land 2022, 11(8), 1228; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11081228 - 3 Aug 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1876
Abstract
City population has been growing rapidly worldwide due to urban expansion, which can bring negative impacts on local ecosystem services (ES). Efficient tools for urban design and visualization are essential for city planners and stakeholders to better understand the valuation impact of plans [...] Read more.
City population has been growing rapidly worldwide due to urban expansion, which can bring negative impacts on local ecosystem services (ES). Efficient tools for urban design and visualization are essential for city planners and stakeholders to better understand the valuation impact of plans for future sustainable development. Current urban design methods are mainly based on a 2D perspective and lack vertical visualization. Although conventional 3D modeling was introduced to address these limitations, it still has some challenges, such as requiring powerful computing resources and specialized training. Procedural 3D modeling is a grammar-based set of rules that can effectively generate 3D models and enhance spatial visualization when compared with conventional 2D or 3D methods. This paper describes a framework for developing a geodesign tool in Old Town Pocatello, Idaho, USA using procedural modeling to improve planning and visualization for urban design, including (1) Geospatial data preparation in ArcGIS, (2) 3D cityscape model generation in CityEngine, and (3) interactive visualization applications for multiple platforms developed with the Unity game engine. Pocatello is a mid-sized city in southeast Idaho that faces several challenges towards integrating ecosystem services in urban design. As a case study in ecosystem service modelling, we proposed a green scenario for Old Town to demonstrate a tool where permeable surfaces were increased from 37% to 45% to help mitigate urban land surface temperature and improve stormwater management. This geodesign tool offers city planners and stakeholders an opportunity to visualize and analyze block-level scenarios in real time. The interactive applications can encourage public participation in the design process. More ES measurements can be implemented into this tool in the future. The techniques of 3D procedural modeling and ES modeling in this study are also applicable to other small to mid-sized cities worldwide. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geodesign in Urban Planning)
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16 pages, 3398 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Effects of Sponge City Projects Applying the Geodesign Framework
by Yaoxue Li and Youngmin Kim
Land 2022, 11(4), 455; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11040455 - 22 Mar 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2802
Abstract
This study aims is to verify the effects of sponge city projects focusing on the aspect of water pollutant control and urban flood control, applying the geodesign framework as an integrated planning method that can evaluate alternatives against the impacts of the designs. [...] Read more.
This study aims is to verify the effects of sponge city projects focusing on the aspect of water pollutant control and urban flood control, applying the geodesign framework as an integrated planning method that can evaluate alternatives against the impacts of the designs. The study analyzed the effects of sponge city projects in Harbin, Quzhou, and Sanya, China. Three LULC scenarios are proposed based on the geodesign framework, and the spatial distribution and quantitative values are simulated by the InVEST NDR model and urban flood model study. By comparing different scenarios, the study proved the current sponge project could improve the water pollutant control capability by 11–18% and the stormwater control capability by 0.4–6.3%. If the city-wide green infrastructure network is introduced with sponge projects, the water pollutant control capability can increase by 9–15% and the stormwater control capability can increase by 0.8–2.9%. These results show that the current sponge projects can improve the city’s sustainability and be helpful strategies to fight climate change and global warming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geodesign in Urban Planning)
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29 pages, 5454 KiB  
Article
Geodesign Experiments in Areas of Social Vulnerability in the Iron Quadrangle, Minas Gerais, Brazil
by Ana Clara Mourão Moura, Camila Marques Zyngier, Ítalo Sousa Sena and Vanessa Tenuta Freitas
Land 2021, 10(9), 958; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10090958 - 9 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2057
Abstract
This paper presents and discusses the use of methodologies for shared and participatory planning through Geodesign, in areas of irregular occupation and social vulnerability in the urban areas of the Iron Quadrangle, Minas Gerais, Brazil. It is illustrated by the development of four [...] Read more.
This paper presents and discusses the use of methodologies for shared and participatory planning through Geodesign, in areas of irregular occupation and social vulnerability in the urban areas of the Iron Quadrangle, Minas Gerais, Brazil. It is illustrated by the development of four case studies with varying degrees of complexity, participation, and impact as a support for opinion building or decision making. The work encompasses different applications of digital support platforms, from web-based to off-line, as well as their methodological variations, adopted according to the goals of each case study. They vary according to space, the profile of the participants (ages), technological platform, methodological steps, but they all share support for opinion making. We conclude by suggesting optimal methodological choices for different contexts of social vulnerability, regarding the evolution of urban planning processes. We argue in favor of Geodesign as a framework for the planning of irregular housing occupations, as it is flexible enough to deal with different scenarios. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geodesign in Urban Planning)
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Review

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23 pages, 10443 KiB  
Review
An Overview of Fractal Geometry Applied to Urban Planning
by Fatemeh Jahanmiri and Dawn Cassandra Parker
Land 2022, 11(4), 475; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11040475 - 25 Mar 2022
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 7411
Abstract
Since computing advances in the last 30 years have allowed automated calculation of fractal dimensions, fractals have been established as ubiquitous signatures of urban form and socioeconomic function. Yet, applications of fractal concepts in urban planning have lagged the evolution of technical analysis [...] Read more.
Since computing advances in the last 30 years have allowed automated calculation of fractal dimensions, fractals have been established as ubiquitous signatures of urban form and socioeconomic function. Yet, applications of fractal concepts in urban planning have lagged the evolution of technical analysis methods. Through a narrative literature review around a series of “big questions” and automated bibliometric analysis, we offer a primer on fractal applications in urban planning, targeted to urban scholars and participatory planners. We find that developing evidence demonstrates linkages between urban history, planning context, and urban form and between “ideal” fractal dimension values and urban aesthetics. However, we identify gaps in the literature around findings that directly link planning regulations to fractal patterns, from both positive and normative lenses. We also find an increasing trend of most literature on fractals in planning being published outside of planning. We hypothesize that this trend results from communication gaps between technical analysts and applied planners, and hope that our overview will help to bridge that gap. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geodesign in Urban Planning)
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