©2018-19 by International Geodesign Collaboration. Proudly created with Wix.com

Projects workflow: How will IGC studies be carried out?

The IGC was conceived as a means to compare the approaches and experiences of globally dispersed teams studying the geodesign projects they would normally do, but using a common framework of guiding assumptions, project sizes, scenarios, analytical systems, and presentation formats. Using these guidelines enables direct comparisons among projects, revealing insights into the different priorities and constraints of teams working in contrasting climate, demographic and governmental settings.


The initial IGC projects, IGC2019, varied widely but did not always stay within the project guidelines.  We have made some adjustments to make it easier for projects to follow the guidelines.  Returning IGC participants will see the same project size constraints, the same scenario guidelines, and slightly adjusted design systems and colors.  Reporting formats also remain the same, although our guidelines are now more explicit in some areas.

For detailed descriptions of the elements of the common framework, refer to the accompanying webpage: Requirements for Projects.


Geodesign systems and colors

The first change is an adjustment to the required system colors.  For this next round of IGC we require all teams to use the Eight plus Two color scheme shown below (Figure 1). This allows participants more flexibility in including special and locally significant landscape systems. The Requirements for Projects page contains more detailed information.

Figure 1. Eight required plus two optional systems for a maximum of ten

Project impacts 

The biggest change we want IGC participants to adopt is in the reporting of impacts.  To truly address global sustainability, IGC projects must report their outcomes and impacts in a common framework, although we realize there is no easy way to achieve that. However, as a step toward this goal, we are requesting that all IGC projects indicate how well their design scenario outcomes would address the global sustainability goals of the United Nations Development Program, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). (UNDP website)

Figure 2. Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, seven directly affected by biophysical design and planning (green tabs), five indirectly affected (orange tabs).

The land use/land cover decisions made during geodesign operations shape how global biophysical resources can address the SDGs, regardless of project type or scale.  In the case of those marked with green in Figure 2, the connection is direct; to address hunger there must be enough land and water for agriculture. For those marked orange, the connection is indirect but still vital; to address health there must be clean air, parks for recreation, land for growing food, etc.

Figure 3 indicates the performance of a notional design relative to the UNDP SDGs. The assessments of performance against any SDG can be achieved by the expert judgments of the project team, or by model-based assessments. Either approach is appropriate and enables project teams to compare alternate scenarios, and teams to compare their projects' performance with that of other IGC teams.​ Again, more details to be found on the Requirements for Projects page.

Figure 3. Example estimations of impacts of a proposed design on Sustainable Development Goals.

We are not specifying HOW teams should carry out their studies.


There are many paths and support options to get through the IGC workflow using GIS tools such as ArcGIS, QGIS or geodesign tools such as Geodesignhub or Esri GeoPlanner and others. There are numerous ecosystem services assessment tools that are applicable to those GIS tools. IGC can facilitate some software capabilities that can be applied in diverse settings and workflows (including the schools’ existing capabilities). Please see the Support Technology page of this website for more information. The choices are up to the individual teams.


We do expect that the typical workflow will be similar to that below, based on Steinitz (2012).

Starting today (assumed 2020), and with regard to expected innovations (see IGC global assumptions and projected systems innovations), each change team should evaluate the study areas, then make a 2035 design and assess its impacts (likely in a few iterations), then update the evaluation maps, and then make a 2050 design and assess its impacts. These designs for the three scenarios and their three stages should be compared for impacts, etc. (See IGC Requirements for Projects).

Figure 4. Geodesign workflow

Schedule for team and individual tasks

The overall IGC schedule (below) and the required January 15, 2020 deadline are provided for guidance but we are aware of considerable variation in worldwide academic schedules.  

IGC LOGO_071018_bannerlogo_trans.png