Past Awardee

Sketch Planning for Urban Development

Lewis Hopkins
Lewis Hopkins

College: Fine and Applied Arts
Award year: 1999-2000

Current patterns of urban development are causing widespread concern with the United States and throughout the world. Many believe that development patterns can be altered to reduce vehicle miles traveled, reduce traffic congestion, increase urban air quality, conserve resource lands, reduce costs of public infrastructure, and improve the quality and equity of human settlements. Achieving these aspirations depends on our being able to design investments and regulations for specific situations and to figure out the effects of behavioral responses to these actions. These tasks require sketch planning and analysis of consequences, often in collaborative settings involving several professionals or professionals and citizens. Computing systems to support such work are called Planning Support Systems (PSS). Sketches allow us to work with more complexity than we can hold in our minds, to record ideas for future consideration and elaboration, and to communicate ideas in order to collaborate with other persons and with computers. Sketch planning requires rapid description of planning situations and ideas. These descriptions must be in a style that invites consideration and rapid modification. A sketch planning PSS must cope with large geographic areas, combinations of spatially and temporally related investments and regulations, and complex behaviors in response to these actions. Current computing systems with their small monitors and fine-grained input devices do not support the scope, collaboration, and bold strokes of sketch planning. Current PSSs also do not link sketched planning ideas with modeling of consequences (Harris and Batty 1993; Hopkins 1997; Hopkins 1998; Klosterman 1997a; Klosterman 1997b). These limitations affect other application domains as well. The work proposed is thus also pertinent to applications in architecture and landscape architecture and other fields in which ideas are expressed graphically and analyzed using complex models.