Visualizing Community Form
New digital tools help communities shape their own futures.
By James L. Sipes, ASLA
Image Courtesy CommunityViz
The dilemma for landscape architects is that community-planning
issues are becoming more complex than ever before, yet citizens
and decision makers want to have more of a voice in how their community
grows and develops. Traditional planning and design techniques are
inadequate for addressing these changes and wind up being more reactive
Most geographic information systems (GIS) and cad programs are
good with facts about the land, but they don’t address community
values. Historically, decision-support and visualization tools that
include values have been beyond the reach of average GIS users,
but that has changed in recent years with the advent of programs
such as ESRI’s ArcView 3D Analyst and Spatial Analyst, and
now with CommunityViz. All three are tools that support landscape
scale as well as site scale and enable many more participants than
normal in the planning process.
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