Geodesign parsed: Placing it within the rubric of recognized design theories

Kelleann Foster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


It is neither the “design” portion nor the “geo” part that empower geodesign's mode of practice and education—it is their combination that facilitates this model of land design and planning. One of the stated features and benefits of geodesign is that it brings together science and design. Inherent in that combining though appears to be the source of confusion. What distinguishes geodesign from design processes that deploy more innovative approaches to GIS? Is it geodesign if GIS workflows are used for decision support? There is a current lack of consistency in assigning the term “geodesign” to projects and practices. The author posits that geodesign engages GIS at several points in a design process including using GIS and relevant scientific data to better evaluate and understand the potential consequences of design alternatives. This article parses out the design portion to clarify what contributions design brings to the process. The intent is to situate the design aspect of geodesign within a lexicon of recognized design theories. The outcome of this analysis reveals core components that comprise a geodesign process. Those form the basis for a proposed Case Study Method in geodesign. A clearer understanding of geodesign as a new model of design practice emerges through this research by placing geodesign within the realm of other design theories and establishing critical dimensions in the form of a Case Study Method. The guidance provided by a Case Study Method approach to organizing and disseminating geodesign projects will help advance future discourse and practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-100
Number of pages9
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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