Frameworks and Workflows

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This section looks at the various conceptual frameworks and procedural workflows typically associated with geodesign. 

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Steinitz Framework for Geodesign

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The Steinitz Framework for Geodesign advocates the use of six models to describe the overall planning (geodesign) process.

The first three models comprise the assessment process, looking at existing conditions within a geographic context.

The second three models comprise the intervention process, looking at how that context might be changed, the potential consequences of those changes, and whether the context should be changed.

The fourth model, the Change Model, provides the specific framework for developing and creating proposed changes (design scenarios) that are predicated on the science- and value-based information contained in the Representation Models and assessed against that same information in the Impact Models, which is the essence of geodesign, that is, to design within the context of geographic information.

A Geodesign Workflow

GDWorkflowDiagram 2 The essential aspect of geodesign is the idea that design, the process of creating or modifying some portion of the environment (such as the creation of a proposed land use plan), occurs within the context of geographic space, that is, where the elements of the proposed plan are geo-referenced to that space, thereby allowing the designer to take advantage of, or to be informed by, other information geo-referenced to that same space.

This referential link between the entity being designed and its geographic context provides the tangible basis for doing both science-based and value-based design.

While geodesign is often associated with sketching, the full process (workflow) involves many geo-spatially related activities from data management, to analysis, to design, to evaluation, to the final selection of a preferred plan.

The process, while shown here as relatively linear, is actually a non-linear process filled with jumps and reversals as one encounters errors and new considerations. It is also a highly iterative process as performing the work in one task can often lead to the need to reconsider some previous task.

The purpose of this document is to provide the reader with a general understanding of this process, as viewed through the eyes of a planner or designer (typically someone who is less familiar with GIS technology).

Land Use Conflict Identification Strategy LUCIS

LUCIS Diagram As the world’s population continues to rise, so does the need for living space. But as urban sprawl continues, what will happen to open spaces and farmlands? Is all land susceptible to the effects of urban sprawl? Hopefully, the answer is no – we should be able to accommodate urban, agricultural, and conservation lands, as long as we make smart decisions regarding current and future land use.

Land-use Conflict Identification Strategy (LUCIS), a proven method for using geographic information system (GIS) technology to analyze land-use suitability, stakeholder preferences, and conflicts between competing land interests. In the hands of a knowledgeable analyst, LUCIS can provide a reliable projection as to which lands will remain in their current use and which lands will likely change in the future. With this information, various land-use scenarios can be considered by planners.

  • For more information, go to LUCIS

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Principal Authors:



Carr, Margaret & Zwick, Paul, Smart land-use analysis: the LUCIS model land-use conflict identification strategy. Redlands, CA: ESRI Press, 2007. Available at Amazon.

Miller, William, Geodesign Project Workflow, private papers, March 2016. Contents available at wrmDesign.

Steinitz, Carl, A Framework for Geodesign: Changing Geography by Design, Esri Press, 2012. Available at Amazon.

Zwick, Paul; Patten, Iris; Arafat, Abdulnasser, Advanced Land-Use Analysis for Regional Geodesign: Using LUCISplus, Esri Press, 2015. Available at Amazon.