Redlands, CaliforniaCreating a more ecofriendly, efficient, and safer world calls for instilling geographic science into wise design, ESRI president Jack Dangermond said today at the TED2010 conference in Long Beach, California.
Dangermond introduced the audience to the concept of GeoDesign, which in simple terms means designing with nature in mind by integrating geospatial technologies into the design process. This gives architects, urban planners, and others the geographic information and analysis they need to design well.
He compared beautiful Japanese temples, homes, and gardenscreated by master designers who take nature into accountto sprawling, suburban housing tracts built with little thought to the surrounding environment.
"Japan is famous for the master designers who harmonized the use of land and structures with the environment around them, finding the right balance between building and nature," Dangermond said. "Contrast this with the sprawling, monotonous suburbia so familiar today. It's a kind of crime against nature."
Dangermond joined a roster of diverse and influential speakers that included Microsoft cofounder and philanthropist Bill Gates at the Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) conference, February 1013. TED is a private, nonprofit foundation that hosts conferences to explore and promote what its Web site says are "ideas worth spreading."
The people invited to give short, thought-provoking talks represent the top professionals in their fields. Besides Dangermond and Gates, the 1,300 invitees heard from more than 40 speakers such as film director James Cameron, former CIA covert operations officer Valerie Plame Wilson, chef Jamie Oliver, futurist and Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand, and singer and songwriter Sheryl Crow.
A landscape architect by training, Dangermond founded ESRI in 1969 with a vision that computer mapping and analysis could help people design a better future. Under Dangermond's leadership, that vision has continued to guide ESRI in creating cutting-edge geographic information system (GIS) and GeoDesign technologies used in many industries to make a difference worldwide.
In his talk, Dangermond passionately spoke about the need to design with an eye toward nature and geography and the importance of harnessing the power of geospatial technology in building those designs.
A student of the influential landscape architect Ian McHarg, Dangermond praised McHarg's pioneering concepts in ecological planning and explained how those ideas mirrored those put into practice by the Japanese master designers.
"In his book Design with Nature, McHarg showed us how we could use soils, geology, vegetation, and other data to make more rational and responsible designswhat the Japanese masters internalized during their site visits," Dangermond said. "Design with Nature inspired me to create ESRI, where we build the technology to implement McHarg's vision."
Dangermond said he believes that designing with nature, or GeoDesign, with all the best geospatial technology behind it, is the next evolutionary step in the design field."GeoDesign is both an old idea and a new idea. It reopens our minds and hearts; it puts in our hands the means to achieve what the Japanese masters did so many years agodesigning with geographic knowledge, thus living harmoniously with nature."
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