Announcing the Pacific Northwest Geodesign Forum: 7 May 2014, 8am – 4pm

Pacific Northwest Geodesign Forum:
Geodesign for a Sustainable World
University of Washington, Seattle Campus
Husky Union Building (HUB) Lyceum
May 7, 2014
8:00AM – 4:00PM

The Pacific Northwest Geodesign Forum brings together faculty, staff, students, and community partners using geospatial information technologies to create, evaluate, and monitor sustainable solutions to complex problems. Many complex problems involve a mix of social, economic, and ecological considerations that require collaborative efforts to address the challenges at hand. Methods for arriving at sustainable solutions to problems are emerging in the form of geodesign frameworks and concepts implemented using geospatial information tools. The goal of the Forum is to provide participants with a level of understanding about geodesign frameworks and concepts plus geospatial information tools that can implement them for addressing sustainable solutions to complex human-natural-built community problems at varying spatial-temporal scales. Geodesign enables us to change our world through design. Forum discussions include Community-University partnering opportunities for exploring solutions to complex problems.


7:45 AM – 8:15 AM Registration and Light Refreshments
8:15 AM – 8:20 AM Welcome, Introductions, Program Overview
8:20 AM – 8:30 AM Who is in attendance? Sectors-Areas-Attendees Participating
8:30 AM – 9:00 AM Why Geodesign? Its Character and Benefits with Q & A
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM Challenges for Geodesign
10:00 AM – 10:15 AM Break
10:15 AM – 10:45 AM A Tour of Geodesign Tools with Q&A
10:45 AM – 12:00 PM Quick Cases Using Geodesign Tools
12:00 PM – 12:45 PM Buffet Lunch with Discussions
12:45 PM – 1:45 PM Discussion Groups: PNW Geodesign Community of Practice (CoP)
1:45 PM – 3:00 PM Report out from CoP discussion groups (3-5 minutes each)
3:00 PM – 3:30 PM Next Steps Synthesis for PNW Geodesign Forum
3:30 PM – 4:00 PM Informal networking as we vacate the Lyceum venue – out by 4PM

UW Hosting Units

College of Engineering, Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering
College of Environment, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences
College of Arts & Sciences, Dept of Geography and MGIS: Sustainability Management
College of Built Environments, Dept of Landscape Architecture; Dept of Urban Design and Planning

Planning Committee

• Tim Nyerges, Prof, Geography, Dir, MGIS: Sustainability Management (
• Michael Goodchild, Affiliate Prof, Geography (
• Bob Mugerauer, Prof, Urban Design and Planning (
• Chris Overdorf, elm environments (
• Bryant Ralston, GIS Geodesign Consultant (
• Dorothy Reed, Prof, Civil and Environmental Engineering (
• Nancy Rottle, Assoc Prof, Landscape Arch, Dir, Green Futures Lab (
• Suzanne Withers, Assoc Prof, Geog, Assoc Dir, MGIS: Sustainability Mgt (
• Kathleen Wolf, Research Prof, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, (

For more information:

Upcoming Colloquium: Dr. Elizabeth Johnson on ‘Reproducing Bees: Value and Bricolage in Biometric Practice’

Please join us this Friday at 3:30 in Smith 304 for the second of our spring quarter colloquia. Elizabeth Johnson will be joining us from the University of Exeter. Her talk is titled Reproducing Bees: Value and Bricolage in Biomimetic Practice. As always, please join us following the talk for a reception in Smith 409.  Remember that she’s also giving a Biofutures talk as well on Thursday (3:30, SMI 305) titled “Unsettling Life/Death: Living with and as jellyfish” as well! Find her abstract below:
Reproducing Bees: Value and Bricolage in Biomimetic Practice
To overturn superstition and myth, Francis Bacon lauded rational inquiry and the pursuit of knowledge. By “torturing nature for her secrets”, Bacon argued, scientific practice could engender a “happy match” between the nature of things and human understanding. Therein, he suggested, lay the “sovereignty of man”. 
Challenging this conception of exceptional human sovereignty and the mastery over nonhuman life has become an increasingly central task in human-environment geography and other areas of the humanities. Much of that work, conceived through Actor Network Theory, ’thing theory’, and ’new materialisms’ has destabilized human exceptionalism by elevating the contribution of nonhuman life to historical change. In this paper, I follow those argument by drawing on my own observations of the making of Harvard’s RoboBee, an ongoing project in biomimetics that now boasts an 80 microgram flying actuator that can hover and move using flapping flight. But rather than elevating the labor of bees, I consider how human labor is not as exceptional as Bacon, Karl Marx, and others once considered. While, from many perspectives, the making of RoboBees represents incredible human hubris, my work reveals that many of the narratives that differentiate human and nonhuman forms of labor lack validity. Rather than purpose-driven engineering, I find practices best considered as bricolage, part of an unexceptional story of human labor relations in the university. This, I argue, raises important questions about the production of value in scientific practice and the institutional structures in which those practices are couched.

Dr. Ben Gardner Wins 2014 UW Distinguished Teaching Award

Dr. Ben Gardner, recipient of the 2014 UW Distinguished Teaching Award

Dr. Ben Gardner, recipient of the 2014 UW Distinguished Teaching Award



Congratulations to Ben Gardner for his 2014 UW Distinguished Teaching Award!  Ben is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Geography and Assistant Professor of Cultural, Global & Environmental Studies at UW Bothell.  Ben’s book, Selling the Serengeti: The Cultural Politics of Safari Tourism in Tanzania is forthcoming from the University of Georgia Press, as part of their Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation Series. He is currently working on a collaborative research project, “Pedagogies of Reciprocity” examining the tensions inherent in study abroad programs and global university partnerships, to better understand the political economic and cultural effects of such projects.

Geographers Discuss the Kilburn Manifesto at Annual Meeting of the AAG

This year's Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers features a session on the newly emerging Kilburn Manifesto. Participants included, from left to right, Victoria Lawson (University of Washington), Kathie Gibson (University of Western Sydney), and Doreen Massey (Open University).

This year’s Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers features a session on the newly emerging Kilburn Manifesto. Participants included, from left to right, Victoria Lawson (University of Washington), Kathie Gibson (University of Western Sydney), and Doreen Massey (Open University).

The Kilburn Manifesto was discussed at the AAG meetings in Tampa in April by Doreen Massey (Open University, UK), one of the founding editors along with Stuart Hall and Michael Rustin.  The ‘Manifesto’ is being written (and published online at Soundings) to stimulate people on the Left to shift the parameters of debate about the current crisis-ridden conjuncture of ‘neoliberal forms’.  The founding stimulus for the manifesto is that economic expressions of neoliberalism are undergoing crisis but the social and political fields of grounded neoliberalism remain robust.  The Kilburn Manifesto aims towards intellectual and political openings towards “…a new political era and new understandings of what constitutes a ‘good society’” Hall, Massey and Rustin, 2013: 8).

The AAG session was sponsored by Environment and Planning A and featured two discussants, Kathie Gibson (University of Western Sydney) and Victoria Lawson (University of Washington).  The content of the session will be published by the journal in the coming months.