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Collaborative planning with digital design synthesis

Ballal, H; (2015) Collaborative planning with digital design synthesis. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

GIS is now a well-established and mature technology and recently a lot of progress has been made on advanced 2D and 3D visualization technologies that work well with GIS data. Practitioners use GIS technologies to analyze problems and visualizations to share and create design ideas. However both these techniques face challenges when applied to large geographies or on regional planning problems. This is due to the uncertainty of impacts given the long time scales, multiple factors affecting the site and competitive interests and actors involved. Additionally, the process of creation of design is largely disjointed from that of analysis and visualization. Currently there is no way to systematically join design creation and analysis procedures into a seamless experience that enables collaboration. This thesis describes an effective bridge between GIS analysis and the creativity of design into a seamless process. Systematic design processes are applied through the perspective of the geodesign workflow with the central research question: “What type of digital change management support is needed to enable the design synthesis process?” Using simple digital sketching and a rational design analysis process a digital workflow that enables collaboration is described. Five workshop experiments are documented where the digital workflow was applied to build a plan at a regional level with expert and non-expert participants. Participants were able to collaborate and synthesize designs quickly and analyze the design performance. The core problem between analysis and design creation is a problem of communication and shared understanding and is solved by effective collaboration between various parties involved in the design process. Collaboration that enables a shared learning and shared understanding of the problem area that leads to a design which can then be tested and iterated on multiple times. Breaking down of a design into individual components enables decomposition of design problem into partial solutions that can be understood and compared. Communication is further facilitated by the idea of quick iteration and sharing portions of various designs. The work is novel and innovative in that it uses a multi-system approach to solving complex design and planning problems. The innovation of synthesizing individual design components digitally, the ability to use different design methods is a key contribution of this work. This research has significant implications for fundamental questions of “which way to design”, early stage planning support tools and also education in the context of regional planning issues.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Collaborative planning with digital design synthesis
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > School of BEAMS
UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1471177
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