Register a project for IGC 2021

Our key assumption is that regardless of the pandemic we WILL find a way to gather and share projects, maybe in new locations, maybe in smaller groups, maybe virtually. This is our proposal for IGC 2021.


The core goal of the IGC remains the education of academics and their students in ways to design in response to global challenges, and at scales and with projects that bring improvement in our global environment. 


To date our core strategy has been to compare the approaches and experiences of globally dispersed teams studying the geodesign projects they would normally do, but using a common process that enables direct comparisons among projects, revealing insights into the different priorities and constraints of teams working in contrasting climate, demographic and governmental settings. For the next iteration of IGC we invite teams to participate in advancing our 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 single global project.

To advance such global thinking, we propose that each IGC 2021 project explicitly address projected changes in the Human Climate Niche (described below) and include an assessment of how each project could contribute to carbon sequestration, for slowing climate change, and as a facet of that, to the Trillion Trees initiative – a vision embraced by the World Economic Forum, the United Nations, and numerous national governments as an important way to capture carbon.

The challenge for geodesign is to identify how localities, regions and nations can respond to the dual pressures of climate change and human population growth and change on current land use while protecting existing cultural, social, and biophysical resources. An assessment of the trillion-tree response, where those trees can be planted and the extent and significance of their net effect on carbon sequestration, is a lens through which the IGC network can demonstrate its value and potential in solving global-scale geodesign challenges.


IGC 2021 will thus have the following characteristics:


  • A single semester, term, or year project for display and/or publication in early 2021.

  • Project goals and outcomes should remain locally-determined, but are encouraged to undertake bigger-sized and nested-scales projects.

  • Adopt the Human Climate Niche projections as a key assumption about global change.

  • Retain the current ten geodesign systems, SDGs etc. as before, with two additional assessments:

    • An assessment of net improvements in carbon sequestration across all ten systems.

    • An assessment of the contribution to carbon sequestration achieved by tree-planting.


Templates to support all of the above will be developed and included in the project workflow and requirements published on the IGC website. Registered participants will receive notifications when that material is available.

Please register your IGC 2021 project now

To update your project details, use the link in the email confirmation you received from Google Forms.

IGC 2021 Meeting Registration

Meeting registration will open 23 April 2021:

Please note the following

  • the entire meeting will be conducted via Zoom

  • complete registration with Esri will be required to receive the access codes

  • the schedule below is subject to some change but the dates and time slots will remain the same

  • the schedule is arranged to allow members in all global time zones to have opportunities to present

  • presenters will be given a deadline date for registration to allow the conference committee to finalize plans

Link to meeting details

The Human Climate Niche

The human climate niche is an index of suitability for habitation that combines measures of comfort for living and agricultural productivity at lower energy cost (Xu et al, 2020). With projected climate change, the figure below shows the shift in suitability of the human climate niche between 2020 and a forecast for 2070. If able, people will leave the areas in red to migrate to more suitable human climate niches, in green. Accounting for population increase, approximately 3.5 billion people, 30% of global population, would move. Even with strong climate mitigation policies and projects, approximately 1.5 billion people, 13% of global population, would still need to migrate. This will have the most profound impacts on everything that we do as professionals and citizens.

Anticipated geographical shift of the human temperature niche. Potential source (orange) and sink (green) areas for the coming decades if humans relocated to maintain their historically stable distribution with respect to temperature. 

Future of the Human Climate Niche – Xu et al., PNAS. May 26, 2020.

The Trillion Trees Initiative

Forest landscape restoration may help fight climate change and maintain biodiversity in the face of climate niche change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2018) suggests that an increase of 1 billion hectares of forest will be needed to limit global warming to 1.5C by 2050, leading to a global initiative to grow and restore 1 trillion trees by 2030 (World Economic Forum 2020). The World Resources Institute has shown the potential extent of forests and woodlands globally (WRI 2020). They have also mapped existing human pressure, globally, for land development, and the changes in land-use intensity caused by population density and land lost to urbanization, industry and agriculture. The areas most suitable for growing trees correspond to the areas under most intense human pressure, and most threatened by massive in-migration of displaced population from climate niche areas no longer suitable for living.


Figure: World Resource Institute.  Potential Forest Cover (left), Human Pressure on Land (right).


Is the Trillion Trees Initiative feasible and meaningful for climate change mitigation?  To be effective, locally-sized projects must integrate with regional studies in over-arching national and global studies, and to be meaningful the impacts of projects must be aggregated to show that projects are making worthwhile and substantial contributions to the planet’s habitability.

This link will remain accessible if you need to update your project details at a later date.

In registering an IGC 2021 project and accepting the IGC Agreement:

IGC Project Participants register via the link above and commit to the following:

  • you will organize your IGC workflow and technological support.
  • adapt the systems research on assumptions and innovations to your local conditions.

  • adapt and organize systems data and models to your local conditions.

  • apply ALL THREE scenarios to designs at ALL THREE time stages, and with detailed examples as appropriate.

  • maintain and present a diary of the geodesign workflow you adopt.

  • present all the results in final status in the collaboration’s format and in English to the coordinating team as ready for exhibition, before February 1, 2021.

  • participate in IGC-2021 conferences during 2021 to share your findings, and in any post-conference comparative research and publications.

If you are unable to access the Google Form for Registering, please download the excel form here and return, completed, to

Frequently asked questions

What Institutional resources are required?

  • Your time and interest, as almost all IGC participants will have a regular course or academic setting in which students will be taught and this would be the core “problem”, a geographic location in which these are real issues, and some technical support to implement a digital workflow (and supported by free video or web-based  tutorials from several technology companies). Any costs for locally specific technology support will be determined and borne by individual institutions based on their needs.

Will there be a budget for participants?

  • There is no IGC budget. There are no people who are salaried by the project.

  • We assume that all participating schools are already interested and capable, and that they have access to local/regional data etc.   The software and tutorials arranged via IGC are free to all member teams.

  • The core group continues to seek a budget to support the IGC website platform for collaboration-communication and for future exhibitions and publications.

Can schools combine assets and tasks?

  • Yes. One aim of this collaboration is to increase capabilities in ALL participating schools.

Is there a deadline for deciding to join the collaboration?  

  • No, as long as the school accepts and can fulfill the IGC Agreement as required for membership.

How do we join?

  • Contact IGC using the forms on the Join IGC page.

  • By joining now you will receive all project communication and access to all IGC materials, participation in virtual meetings etc.

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