Geodesign Explained #2: Case Studies and CityEngine

I’ve been studying Carl Steinitz’s Geodesign framework for a good two years now, and getting my mind totally around it has been a chore.  I’ve gone through “A Framework for Geodesign” (see and have watched Carl’s videos over… and over… and over…  until now, I finally have the feeling of comprehension.

  • Geodesign with Little Time and Small Data (2014) – This video really helped me relate to the framework because the approach was not only low-tech, it was no-tech.  Specifically, it was the Mexico City case study that interested me, a real “people” process at a fundamental level where participants drew their ideas onto plastic transparencies, then “synthesized” designs by overlaying the sheets. – VIEW
  • A Digital Workflow for Dynamic Geodesign (2017) – At the 2018 Geodesign Summit, I asked Carl how I could best sell Geodesign when making presentations. Carl’s immediate answer was the “Alternative Future for the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, Australia” study from this video .   Of particular interest was the portion beginning at 23:30 where Carl is using the GeodesignHub online application, designed specifically to support the framework. – VIEW

As I explain Geodesign, I also must explain ESRI CityEngine.  There are a ton of CE videos out there, many are pretty long and in-depth. Here are a few that are much more to the point:

  • Scenarios in CityEngine 2017.0 (2017): Shows how multiple design scenarios (variations) can be interactively compared with “dashboard” metrics that change as a design is modified. – VIEW
  • Esri CityEngine Trailer (2011): It’s from 2011, but it is short and shows how designs can be generated and manipulated. (no audio) – VIEW 
  • Esri CityEngine Highlights (2013): Transforming 2D GIS data into Smart 3D City Models and sharing CityEngine scenes in the web viewer. Sure, we can model big urban areas, but it works very well in smaller areas of interest. – VIEW

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