GeoDesign Knowledge Portal

The GeoDesign Knowledge Portal is being developed to systematically organize the vast body of knowledge and information in the emerging field of GeoDesign, to promote semantic clarity of commonly used terms within the user community, in the areas including GeoDesign process, methods and techniques, technology, case studies, and to facilitate the access of GeoDesign resources.

The definition of GeoDesign is still evolving. A few often quoted ones include:

Most recent: "Geodesign is a design and planning method which tightly couples the creation of a design proposal with impact simulations informed by geographic context and systems thinking normally supported by digital technology." (Flaxman 2010, amended by Stephen Ervin)

"Geodesign is changing geography by design." (Steinitz 2010) Steinitz's Model (with 3 passes of 6 stages including Representation Model, Process Model, Evaluation Model, Change Model, Impact Model, Decision Model) is often cited as a typical workflow of the GeoDesign process.

"Geodesign is a design and planning method which tightly couples the creation of design proposals with impact simulations informed by geographic contexts." (Flaxman 2010)

"Geodesign is a set of techniques and enabling technologies for planning built and natural environments in an integrated process, including project conceptualization, analysis, design specification, stakeholder participation and collaboration, design creation, simulation, and evaluation (among other stages)." (Wikipedia)

"Geodesign is design in geographic context"(Miller 2010), consisting of the creation or modification of an entity (e.g. a building, an urban master plan) or a process with spatial and temporal dimensions.


From the SDS perspective, GeoDesign has a broader sense and a narrower sense. In the broader sense, GeoDesign is a process of creating solutions for geo-spatial problems, involving design and decision making activities at various stages of the process. Typical stages of this process include

  • design goal identification and design requirement development
  • design process mapping
  • condition assessment including data development and domain knowledge process model development
  • suitability assessment
  • design (with iterative, creative design activities supported by fast feedback on the design through constraints, function, performance checking models)
  • impact and performance analysis of the alternative designs
  • design alternative selection
  • etc.

This sense is similar to Steinitz's definition above.

In a narrower sense, GeoDesign focuses specifically on the design phase of the above mentioned GeoDesign process, focusing on the creative design activities (such as drawing) and the associated feedback methods and technology that allows rapid design iteration and modification. This sense is similar to Flaxman's definition.

The GeoDesign process often involves stakeholder participation and collaboration.

IntroductionGeodesign Problem TypesPlanning/Decision ContextPlanning And Spatial Decision ProcessMethods And Techniques
methods and techniques; methodology
TechnologyData And Domain KnowledgePeople And ParticipationGeodesign Resources

  • Imported conceptual model for desert toirtoise recovery
  • Imported Salafsky's conservation lexicon
  • Added CMP planning process workflow
  • Added SDS tools SeaSketch and Miradi
  • Graphical browsing of concepts
  • SDS resource searching

The SDS Consortium was formed in May 2008, and consists of researchers, experts and practitioners in the field of SDS. To learn more and see the complete list of members, click here.