Our Motivation

As populations shift, cities around the world face two types of challenges: rapid urbanization and population shifts that decrease populations in urban areas. These are challenges of rapid land use changes that will affect future infrastructure and institutional needs, future investment, place stress on surrounding landscapes and may increase susceptibility to climate change. The management of rapid urbanization of a region requires a scientific understanding of the complex patterns and processes associated with land cover changes and urban growth. The synthesis of this information will help decision makers to properly manage the challenges posed by urban expansion.

We embrace our responsibility by raising the standard for sustainable management practices in both our internal actions and the delivery of services.

Sustainability Challenges

Understanding urban growth patterns is crucial for sustainable land management, urban development, and planning. The development of analytical techniques using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), satellite information and remote sensing has created opportunities to inform management, and local and national governments about the projected geographic distribution of urban growth for a region.

In additional there is a need to incorporate climate mitigation and adaptation strategies, considering urban development patterns, to reduce the negative human and economic impacts caused by natural hazards and climate change. This also suggests the prerequisite to understand possible future urban growth scenarios, and the drastic modifications to natural systems: landfills, fluvial urbanization, marshland elimination, reduction of green lands, changes in pluvial water infiltration. These interventions generate alterations to the hydrologic cycle and contribute to the hazard and socioeconomic vulnerability.

GeoAdaptive’s Approach

The process of urban analysis and simulation includes an initial data collection and stakeholder engagement phase, followed by research and spatial analysis to understand the historic and current urban and natural conditions of the area of interest. We use remote sensing and satellite technology in order to assess land cover and land use changes over time. This is followed by urban growth simulation and modeling, which considers future shifts in populations, assets and market demands, and the distribution of green and grey infrastructure.

This approach considers current and proposed policies and the impacts these are likely to have on future development. Throughout our projects we engage stakeholders and local experts in discussion of the context and preliminary results of the analysis, in order to validate and advance the studies, as well as to understand how the results can be most effectively utilized.

Integrating Adaptation and Infrastructural measures

Green and open spaces offer more than esthetic value to the urban system, as they have ecologic functions and contribute to the wellbeing of residents. These spaces may also help to reduce hydro-meteorological hazard vulnerability, such as flooding. A city’s landscape may integrate adaptation techniques qualities through the development of a green network. GeoAdaptive has developed a process aimed at providing data and tools that guide the selection and inception of urban spaces as instruments for adaptation facing the effects of climate change.

This process may be implemented on par with urban growth simulation modeling in order to assess which places most suitable to implement adaptation strategies. If not, a preliminary evaluation is done to acknowledge the actual state of the study area. After that, basic criteria and regional study cases are used to identify intervention typologies. Finally, specific future projects are suggested to be implemented for adaptation to climate change to take place.

Our schemes

Our Services

The services that we develop aim to increase urban sustainability through a cross-sectoral approach, also recognizing the interrelationships between urban and natural environments. Through this approach, we provide decision makers with comprehensive tools to improve the future development of urban areas considering a range of factors, from density and urban configuration to infrastructure and open space requirements.

  • Urban growth modeling and simulation
  • Green Infrastructure planning and design
  • Urban economics
  • Infrastructure service analysis and cost evaluation
  • Urban design and planning
  • Mobility and housing planning
  • Identify changes in the urban environment
  • Tools for decision makers to prioritize actions

Our examples

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Practice areas

For more information

Sophia Emperador
Urban and Landscape Sustainability Specialist
+1 617-227-8885 (GMT -05:00)

Download Area

  • Urban Sustainability, Factsheet


Featured Project

Analysis of Pluvial Inundation and Storm Surge Vulnerability and Risk | Mar del Plata, Argentina