Beginnings of Geodesign: a personal historical perspective

  • Carl Steinitz Harvard Graduate School of Design


Geodesign is conceived as an iterative design method that uses stakeholder input, geospatial modeling, impact simulations, and real-time feedback to facilitate holistic designs and smart decisions. This paper aims to lay bare the beginnings of geodesign as such from 1965 onwards. It offers a personal historical perspective of Carl Steinitz, one of the protagonists in the field of geodesign. The paper describes some important milestones and influential people in a joint effort to bridge geo-information technology, spatial design and planning. It showcases the ongoing effort to employ the potential power of using GIS to link different model types and ways of designing to make better plans.


Steinitz, C. (2012). A framework for geodesign: Changing geography by design. esri.

Steinitz, C., & Rogers, P. (1970). A systems analysis model of urbanization and change: an experiment in interdisciplinary education. Cambridge, MA: Mit Press.
How to Cite
STEINITZ, Carl. Beginnings of Geodesign: a personal historical perspective. Research in Urbanism Series, [S.l.], v. 4, p. 9-24, sep. 2016. ISSN 1879-8217. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 10 aug. 2020. doi:


History geodesign; SYMAP; Computer models; Impact simulations; Landscape architecture; Urban planning