Geodesign is a field of GIS and planning that combines GIS technology with community design methods in order to support healthier, smarter and more sustainable communities. Our GIS Educational Specialist, Sarah McLane Bryan, was sponsored by ESRI to attend the recent GeoDesign Summit, held at the ESRI headquarters in Redlands, California January 27-28, 2016. Over the 2 day summit, Mrs. Bryan participated with the other 300 attendees in small group sessions, workshops and engaging presentations on inspiring geo-design projects worldwide.

Highlights included a detailed presentation by Spanish landscape architect Arancha Munoz-Criado on her green infrastructure requirements for Valencia Spain, which has transformed this area, and now requires development projects to consider sustainability and balancing social and environmental needs with economic development. Her talk highlighted was that Geodesign protocols allowed them to break down barriers of disconnectedness between governmental departments by finding the environmental connections between departments that encouraged cross-collaboration.

Another exciting example was the talk delivered by Paul Niedzwiecki of the Cape Cod Commission on water quality. They were able to use GIS tools to build a Watershed MVP website that helped them get information on watershed permitting laws and the Clean Water Act out to the public, along with both traditional and non-traditional solutions to water quality issues in Cape Cod. (See their MVP website at

Other highlighted projects spanned the globe, from Los Angeles to Gombe, Tanzania, Saguaro National Park and the Kodagu district in south India.
A local impact of Mrs. Bryan’s attendance at the Summit was a new partnership that was developed between Placeworks Inc., ESRI and a Maui-based community group to work on developing interactive tools to increase participation in the Maui island community planning process during 2016.