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Project Requirements

To maintain as much flexibility as possible while achieving good comparability, we have identified a series of key requirements. Those are listed here and should be cross-referenced to IGC project workflow recommendations. We do not prescribe sites, methods or software, or who participates in making the studies. We do prescribe a workflow; eight key geodesign systems plus two optional (with related color palettes), to be the systems within which design changes are proposed; that all project contexts are defined as square spatial data “clips”; three design scenarios; three common time stages across all projects; and a common impact evaluation framework based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, presented in a common format.

We expect all teams to adaptively apply the geodesign framework and workflow as described by Steinitz (2012), or any other workflow that enables making the required IGC studies.

Standard study area spatial extents.

All study areas should be square to allow for project-to-project comparison. The square size must be sized to encompass the entire study area and analyses should include the entire square as immediate context to the study area. Please use metric measures for all IGC reporting.


Key geodesign systems and their color codes.

IGC requires all teams to use the Eight plus Two color scheme shown below. The additional two are chosen to adapt to local needs (see Workflow), allowing participants more flexibility in designing for special and locally significant landscape systems.


Figure 1. Eight required plus two optional systems for a maximum of ten

IGC scenarios and time-stages.

IGC requires teams to represent designs at three time-steps and under three scenarios. The initial point for all designs is the existing condition, 2020. Design changes and impacts are assessed at 2035 and again at 2050. The Early Adopter scenario implements design innovations immediately.  The effects of those are measured at 2035 and 2050. The Late Adopter scenario does not implement change at 2020 but waits.  The Late Adopter 3035 situation does not, however, remain as it was in 2020 but continues to change under the previously existing conditions. The effect of that lack of design innovation is assessed at 2035 then design interventions occur with their effects measured at 2050. The Non-Adopter scenario makes no change in the pre-existing situations and reflects the effects of no design innovation on the situation in 2050.


Adopting assumptions about global change and implementing the system innovations.

  1. An expert group identified twelve assumptions about global change expected to impact the world in the period to 2050.

  2. We identified nine systems that are fundamental to geodesign. Expert groups were asked to identify system innovations that will occur by 2035, and others by 2050, that identify useful design and planning response strategies.


All IGC projects occur in a world that is in constant change. Individual projects are unlikely to evenly address all twelve assumptions about global change. Instead, teams are asked to identify the ones on which their projects focus.  Similarly, not all 187 design innovations are relevant or desirable in all projects.  Teams are asked to identify up to twelve innovations that their designs adopt.

The Assumptions and Innovations are available to read or download on the Global Assumptions and System Innovations webpage.  

Global Assumptions of Change


Water Infrastructure


Achievement of Sustainable Development Goals

Land use/land cover decisions made during geodesign operations shape how global biophysical resources can address the SDGs, regardless of project type or scale.  Summary judgments are used to enable comparisons of scenarios. See Project Workflow for complete guidance.

IGC2020_SDG reporting_3scenarios_04Feb20

Example estimations of impacts of a proposed design on Sustainable Development Goals.


Eight most impacted SDGs, ordered left to right from most improved (score 25 in Sum column of Early Adopter chart above) to eighth (score 10)

Assessing contributions to the Trillion Trees Initiative and to project and global Carbon Storage 

For IGC 2021 we invite teams to participate in advancing IGC's goal on two fronts – to continue to strengthen our understanding of IGC processes, and to explore global design processes and implications in the context of a coordinated assessment of a current global initiative - the Trillion Trees Initiative,


To advance such global thinking, we propose that each IGC 2021 project assess (1) how many trees IGC projects are contributing to this international effort and (2) calculate the contribution of the projects to global carbon storage. Each team is requested to conduct these assessments using the Project Workflow for complete guidance.


How are projects presented?

The key information elements above lead to the assembly of PowerPoint presentations, as for the IGC 2020 meeting in Redlands, and as poster displays (example below). 


Are there additional visualization/representation requirements?

Beyond mapping, there will not be any specific visualization requirements. However, we encourage the inclusion of study area photographs, charts, and diagrammatic visualization as appropriate:

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