GeoDesign and Smart Growth for WA?

I’ve talked about the need for strategic planning for the growth of WA previously and there has been some good starting work in this space  such as Directions 2031, the to be released State Planning Strategy (I believe due in April), and the State Infrastructure Plan (which would be nice if it could see the light of day).  Only one of these is currently a public document, however more will follow – this will give a greater understanding of the broader plan to address the growth that this state will be experiencing in the near future.

Where my interest lies is in the geographical component to this complex issue… everything happens somewhere on earth, and in a planning since you cannot undertake any planning (or better coordinated planning) without considering the ‘where‘ component.  This provides me with a suitable segway into the topic of GeoDesign in planning for future growth…


The concept of GeoDesign is not entirely a new concept – the focus is of designing and planning whilst considering the surrounding environment using computer based technologies – i.e. Geographic Information Systems (aka GIS).  It has now taken a position front and centre in urban planning, architecture, design, and community development.

So why talk about it in the context of WA I hear you ask?  Well when we are considering planning for the future state of WA we need to be able to quickly design / draft up ideas, test them, and the get the results as soon as possible.  Where GeoDesign can be of benefit is in providing the cutting edge tools to perform analysis on plans or scenarios and provide feedback as maps, charts, reports etc. for review and analysis.

Consider trying to model the urban population growth of the Perth metropolitan area for the next 40 years and the growth foot print that this may encompass.  To do this there would be multiple variables that could be altered such as housing size, block size, transportation networks (and types) employment locations etc.  Being able to rapidly alter these variables and re-run scenarios is where the power of computer analysis really comes into its own.

A great example of how GeoDesign has been used to assist in the process of attempting to plan for ‘Smarter Growth’ [I wouldn’t want to plan for the opposite!] has been written up by a colleague at Esri – Ahmed Abukhater and an old contact of mine – Doug Walker of Placeways.  You can find the article here.

In some instances the use of GeoDesign has been on smaller area projects rather than a 2.5 million square kilometre problem (or should we be saying opportunity).

So the real issue is to start looking at possible alternative approaches to investigating, testing, and hopefully solving the complex problems of planning for the future of our state.  I’d say GeoDesign needs to be part of the approach to take – what do you think?

Further Reading of Interest…

I’d also suggest considering reading an article on the Spatial Roundtable about ‘Economic Gardening through GIS’ – you can find it here.

If you want to get a greater insight into GeoDesign I would suggest visiting the Esri website here.

Happy reading and research!


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2 Responses to GeoDesign and Smart Growth for WA?

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  2. Pingback: Applying GeoDesign to Planning | My Future State

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