Next steps for IGC

Dear IGC colleagues,


We had a very fine IGC 2020 meeting. There were four characteristics that made it especially effective and memorable: the greater consistency of study representation, the application by all of SDG assessment, the increased participation of students presenting the work, and the excellent discussion groups among engaged and experienced colleagues.

Several issues that emerged from the discussions require broader and more active participation: (1) Decisions about the expansion and governance of IGC are critical to ensure a healthy future. (2) While we have believed that IGC needs to generate more larger-area studies, we observed a shift away from larger-sized projects in 2019 to smaller ones. (3) The adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals led to greater comparability but suffered from the absence of consistent metrics. (4) We also discussed a local-to-global vision of geodesign, with nested studies that can be mutually influential across size and scale.

It is clear that for IGC to grow (as we are doing), we need to expand participation in the governance of IGC beyond the initial “core group”. We proposed creating six committees that reflect the concerns raised by our IGC 2020 discussion and respect the diversity that a global organization requires. Their descriptions follow. Note that these are not permanent committees; we anticipate them running for no more than a year unless your advice is to continue them.

The committees that have been established are as follows:

Governance committee     Convener: John Wilson, University of Southern California

The IGC has made it through its second year and the time has come to create a more sustainable, resilient governance structure that will enable it to thrive and grow. This committee will develop a strategic plan to guide how the IGC operates, seeks support, and furthers its ambitious goals. As one element of the plan, the committee will propose an organizational chart with leadership and committee structure that will enable the IGC to thrive, informed by the diverse perspectives of its members. Finally, the committee will identify potential sources of support and organize consortia of IGC members to pursue specific funding opportunities.

Proposed short-term goals: Organizational chart, strategic plan, funding strategy.

Implementation committee     Convener: Kristina Hill, University of California, Berkeley

The IGC seeks to change geography by design, by showing how to set public policies to achieve more equitable and resilient development and more responsible and sustainable responses to social and environmental change. This committee will consider how the system-oriented comparisons at the heart of IGC studies, coupled with impact assessments, can better inform decision-makers. Based on their findings, they will pilot-study how IGC studies, guidelines, and assessments, can be used effectively in public policy and planning settings.

Proposed short-term goals: Research agenda/white paper on IGC at local, regional, national, and global levels.

Education committee     Convener: Richard Kingston University of Manchester

As universities, the IGC members remain committed to geodesign education and this group will make recommendations about how to engage new members, expanding and improving academic and NGO participation in IGC. This committee will lead on finding ways to involve current students, recent graduates, and practitioners in this organization so that IGC education initiatives are informed by real-world applications of geodesign and IGC principles and processes. The committee will lead on gathering and sharing best practices for teaching faculty, students, and practitioners within the IGC framework, as well as learning from the communities in which IGC works. 

Proposed short-term goals: Educational/training strategy, IGC in curricula, bringing IGC to practitioners.

Communications committee     Convener: Jörg Rekittke, Norwegian University of Life Sciences

How should IGC display and disseminate its work, promote IGC, and assist new members in learning how to conduct IGC projects? The IGC website continues to be the primary place where the accumulated work of IGC members resides, now supplemented by the IGC2019 book, and increasingly by scientific and popular press articles. What is the most effective, and sustainable, mix of mechanisms we can develop to communicate with each other, to serve our members, and to represent the IGC to external communities? This committee will identify and implement the internal and external communications strategies that are needed, including identifying the internal talented human resources to create, curate, and manage material.

Proposed short-term goals: Web presence and strategy, publications strategy, knowledge clearinghouse.

Conference committee     Convener: Miran Day, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

The IGC Meetings have been the primary way in which its members have gathered and shared information. This group will plan and manage IGC’s meeting strategy, which may include face-to-face and virtual, synchronous, and asynchronous elements, while continuing to serve the needs of IGC members. Questions it might address include: Should there be a regular (annual?) conference or some other form of convening? Should physical meetings remain at ESRI in California or occur elsewhere; instead or as well? How can IGC be as informative, useful, and accessible as possible? This committee will lead the planning of IGC’s next gatherings.

Proposed short-term goals: Meeting in 2021, meeting format, venue, budget.

Workflow committee     Convener: Allan Shearer, University of Texas, Austin

This group will review our current methods, from the collections of assumptions and innovations that fuel projects, through the descriptions of systems and project sizes, to the impact assessments and SDG evaluation. The goal of IGC remains the same – to achieve enough structure that we can learn by comparing and contrasting projects emanating from quite different settings and from our collective experiences conducting them. This includes redesigning, as necessary, identification of study areas within their contexts; the choices of systems and colors; the identification, curation, and adoption of assumptions and innovations; choices of scenarios and time-frames; impact evaluation methods; and display and publication templates.

Proposed short-term goals: Formats and templates for Fall 2020 and 2021.

Joining an IGC planning committee

To join a committee, contact to be connected with the committee convener.​


How the six committees work


The six committees and their conveners have autonomy and the responsibility to define and carry out the work of their committee and recommend actions for adoption by the IGC Council and the general membership of IGC as needed.

Conveners will select and invite IGC participants to be on their committee.  Committee-priority responses to a "Join a committee" on-line form were compiled to inform this process. Conveners could choose to hold their committees to an efficiently manageable number, and with consideration of geography, gender, field of study, etc. The initial selections were based on first choices.  Not all who responded to the initial inquiry have been included in initial committees but their interest has been recorded so IGC can call on their future help.

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