CED participates in second Coastal Geodesign Workshop

Workshop Planning Team from UGA, the Coastal Regional Commission of Georgia, and University College London/Geodesign Hub at the Coastal Geodesign Workshop, April 2016

For two days in April, faculty from the University of Georgia’s College of Environment and Design continued a collaboration with the Coastal Regional Commission of Georgia by holding the second Coastal GeoDesign workshop in Richmond Hill, Georgia, just outside of Savannah.

Representatives from ten coastal communities joined academics, professional planners, and geographic information systems (GIS) professionals in hands-on digital design that enabled rapid, real time geodesign collaboration. The process can help collaborators conceive of changes that might occur along this unique stretch of Georgia’s land mass. The event was hosted by the Coastal Regional Commission of Georgia and the College of Environment and Design, The University of Georgia. It was also in partnership with the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, and was a continuation of last year’s support from UGA Public Service and Outrach through UGA Marine Extension/GA Sea Grant and Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

Bruce Rado, Russell Oliver, and Carl Steinitz (L-to-R) at the Coastal Geodesign Workshop, April 2016

Led by Carl Steinitz—an internationally recognized leader in landscape planning and design and advanced methods of landscape analysis—the workshop introduced design support software created by the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London. Using coastal Georgia as their case study, the group utilized geographic information systems (GIS) and other software to create models of how change might affect natural and cultural development.

Faculty participating from the College of Environment and Design included Rosanna Rivero, Alison Smith, Stephen Ramos, Brian Orland, and Jon Calabria, all of whom use computer mapping and modeling in their studios and classes, as well as for special projects addressing development and climate change on Georgia’s coast.

Faced with economic and development pressures and the transformation of the coastline, Georgia’s coastal communities are dealing with some of society’s most challenging demands. These include the effects of globalization, population growth, climate change, and increasing demands for resources. Exercises at the GeoDesign workshop explored conservation and “green” infrastructure strategies, effects of sea level rise on Georgia’s communities, the conservation of both natural and built environments, and the ramifications of economic demands including the effects of Savannah’s port expansion and the proposed Space Port in Camden County.
The 100-mile Georgia coast remains one of the world’s most important natural and cultural systems in the world and draws millions of tourists, retirees, and economic developers to its shores.