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Importance of Geodesign

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This referential link between the entity being designed and its geographic con- text provides the tangible basis for doing both science-based and value-based design. Additionally, it has the ability to provide operational linkages to a wide variety of domain-specific information and, in so doing, provides the multidisci- plinary platform for doing integral design (holistic design).

Science-based design

Science-based design is the creation or modification of an entity within the context of scientific information (including scientific processes and relationships) such that the design of the entity is conditioned or informed by that science as it is being designed. Geodesign, through the use of a common geographic refer- ence system, provides the ability to link geographic entities (those entities that are being designed) to scientific information, relevant to the creation, instantia- tion, or utilization of those entities.

Value-based design

Value-based design is the creation or modification of an entity within the context of social values (global, community, cultural, religious, etc.) such that the design of the entity is conditioned or informed by those values as it is being designed. As is the case with science-based design, geodesign provides the ability to link geographic entities (those entities that are being designed) to social values rel-evant to the creation, instantiation, or utilization of those entities, assuming those values are referenced to the same geographic reference system.

Integral Design

Geodesign not only provides the ability to link the entity being designed to relevant science- and value-based information, but also provides the framework for exploring issues from an interdisciplinary point of view and resolving conflicts between alternative value sets. In this sense, it can be seen as an integral frame- work for intelligent, holistic geospatial design.

The important point to note, however, is that the act or process of design occurs in geographic space where the entity being designed is geo-referenced to a common geographic coordinate system and, thus, directly or indirectly to other information that is also referenced to that system. This referential link between the entity being designed and information (be it science-based or value-based)gives the designer the ability to design within the context of that information and, in so doing, improve the quality and efficiency of the design process as well as that of the entity (the product of that process).

Managing Complexity

While the ability to relate an entity to its geographic context can be performed in mental space, the quality and quantity of those relationships are limited to what the human mind can reasonably hold (remember) and manipulate.

Many years ago, Princeton psychologist George A. Miller wrote a paper titled “The Magic Number Seven Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information” (Miller 1956). What Miller basically said was that an aver- age person could keep track of seven things in their mind at once. One who was really smart could handle nine. One not so bright could probably handle five.

Geodesign and use of geo-reference technologies give design teams the ability to handle complex design problems ... problems exceeding the normal capacity of any one individual, or ever a group of individuals, forced to rely on their minds free of any form of mental assistance.

The advantage of the digital approach to geodesign, particularly when one is using GIS, is that it can handle a wide spectrum of complexity.

 


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