Comprehensive Planning and Geodesign

PAS Memo — March-April 2016

By David Rouse, FAICP, Shannon McElvaney


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This issue of PAS Memo discusses the evolution of the comprehensive planning process and explores how geodesign can take it to the next level.


Page Count
Date Published
March 1, 2016
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American Planning Association

About the Authors

David Rouse, FAICP
David Rouse, FAICP, ASLA is a planner and landscape architect with nearly 40 years of experience, focused on creating healthy, resilient, and sustainable communities. An urban and regional planning consultant, David is committed to connecting professional practice and research to develop practical solutions for 21st century planning and design issues. He is the former Research Director for APA in Washington, DC, where he led the Planning Advisory Service, sponsored research programs, and special initiatives such as the Sustaining Places Comprehensive Plan Standards and Planning for Autonomous Vehicles. Prior to joining APA in 2013, David was a principal at the firm Wallace Roberts & Todd (WRT) in Philadelphia.

Shannon McElvaney
Shannon McElvaney is the Community Development Manager at Esri and a geodesign advocate who helps create GIS software that enables people to plan and design livable, sustainable, and resilient communities. Mr. McElvaney has more than 20 years of experience applying a broad range of geospatial technologies across numerous industries. He has written many articles on the use of geospatial technology and is the author of the book called Geodesign: Case Studies in Regional and Urban Planning. In addition to writing, Mr. McElvaney is a regular speaker at conferences and workshops around the world. Before joining Esri, Mr. McElvaney worked as a Solutions Consultant for CH2M HILL, a large civil engineering firm. His last assignment was as the GIS and Site Control Manager for the $22B Masdar City Development Program in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. where they are building one of the world’s first carbon neutral, zero waste cities. In addition, he has worked as a project manager and consultant for a number of GIS technology firms. Prior to that, Mr. McElvaney (B.A. in Geography) was the Director of the Hawai’i Natural Heritage Program at the University of Hawai’i where he oversaw the mapping and tracking of rare and endangered species to support preserve design and resource management.