January 2011 | Workshop for community in Redlands, CA
In January 2011, GeoAdaptive principals Michael Flaxman and Juan Carlos Vargas-Moreno taught and lead teams in an innovative workshop applying geodesign techniques to explore alternative futures for the community of Redlands, California. Dr. Flaxman also helped to organize the event, and worked with Redlands Institute researchers and local city planners to develop custom interactive design software and supporting analyses.
The workshop considered two different scales of design problem: regional open space planning, and the creation of a transit-oriented development. Participants were invited from around the country and internationally. They came from three distinct professional backgrounds, and were asked to work together as mixed teams. They included senior partners from several major design and planning firms with extensive professional experience in these areas, local residents with significant planning responsibilities, and GIS technology professionals
The groups were asked to deploy 9 different methods in approaching the same two tasks. Mike Flaxman lead the “optimization” team, which used computational-methods to bolster design performance while maintaining low costs. Juan Carlos Vargas-Moreno lead the “participatory” team, in which the challenge was to usefully combine multiple independently-generated plans.
The workshop was designed for multiple purposes. For the community, it served to bring a half dozen of the world’s best design professionals to consider the planning problems of a small California town. For the University, it demonstrated the benefits and the requirements of place-based design studies. For GeoAdaptive and for workshop co-sponsor ESRI, it served as a technology test bed, allowing us to stress-test new design tools in a context which was real-world in scale and scope, but explicitly experimental and not subject to typical production project constraints. The results of this workshop will be published in multiple venues later this year.