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Place-based Planning and Urban Design


The Environmental Simulation Center has unparalleled experience in providing place- and performance-based planning and urban design services.  Our approach is predicated on the recognition of cities as complex self-adapting and self-organizing systems.  The constantly changing environments and perceptions inherent in such systems render traditional planning and design techniques more reactive than proactive.  To be truly place-based, plans and designs should, in theory, be able to adapt to the dynamic nature of cities; but due to the enormous amount of information required and the difficultly of tracking multiple variables, planning, by necessity, has tended to be static and non-place-specific. 

New and developing information technologies are changing the practice of planning and urban design for the better by enabling design and decision-making in an information-rich, interactive computing environment.   Change can be anticipated and accounted for as it occurs, making for plans, guidelines, and policies that are self-adapting, self-organizing, and unique – just like the places they are designed to manage.  The ESC is both a pioneer and a recognized leader in the application of Information Technologies to design and planning projects, and continues to develop decision-making techniques and applications that enable planning and development decision-making to be informed, targeted, place-based, and "just in time".

Related Projects:

Baltimore Vision 2030

Infill Housing Study

North and South Kona Community Development Plan

Santa Fe