Course Summary

Landscape architecture and planning encompass analyzing, planning, designing, managing, and being a steward of the natural, built, and social environment. To do so, designers and planners use social and natural sciences in combination with design. Our work requires the understanding of complex systems, their interactions, and the cause-and-effect relationships of existing systems with our designs, regulations, and policies. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a set of strategies, methods, and techniques that are used to facilitate the inventory, analysis, and modeling of these complex systems. This method is highlighted in a new/historic approach to planning and design called geodesign.

During this class, you will learn to apply a geodesign process. Specifically, you will learn to apply GIS tools and techniques to facilitate an inventory and analysis of North Aurora, Colorado. It is important to understand the context of the systems and issues of North Aurora, facilitated by comparing North Aurora with the City of Aurora, Colorado. This information will guide further research for design and planning strategies tolocate and create accessible urban gardening, recreational, and healthy living opportunities within disadvantaged/vulnerable neighborhoods. We will also be documenting how the neighborhood is changing over time due to design, construction, and urban and regional policies. This studio will rely on various community groups within North Aurora as our clients. In addition to giving you direct experience working with a client in planning and design process, your inventory and analysis work this semester will also be incorporated into your community/neighborhood design studio in the spring semester.

Course Objectives:

Course learning objectives are mapped according to a modified Bloom’s and Webb’s Taxonomies of Learning. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to perform the following:

  1. IDENTIFY contextual elements of social and environmental systems information necessary for the
    design and planning process.
  2. CARRY OUT basic spatial data collection, analysis, and modeling by completing the following:

a. Visualizing and mapping data using cartographic principles.

b. Completing tabular and spatial queries and selections.

c. Utilizing geoprocessing functions: clipping, intersecting, buffering, spatial joins etc., to
create new datasets for comparison.

d. Creating an instrument to collect new and augment existing spatial datasets.

e. Completing a network and suitability analysis.

f. Using descriptive statistics to compare spatial change longitudinally and between locations.

g. Transferring data between GIS and common design software for advanced graphic

3. CREATE a professional report describing North Aurora’s social and natural systems; synthesize your
findings and how they related to gentrification, food systems, and recreation.


Student Work Examples:




  • Client

    University of Colorado; Rich McLean and St Therese FAMILY (Together Colorado) and Aurora Health Access (AHA); Ruben Medina and the Moorehead Recreation Center; Arnie Schultz with Aurora Residents for Recreation; Robin Waterman and Aurora Community Connection; Noelle Melchizedek and The Stapleton Foundation; All Members of the be well Northwest Aurora; Michelle Wheeler and 2040 Partners for Health; Elisa Morales and the Latino Research and Policy Center (LRPC), Colorado School of Public Health (CSPH); Mariana Ledezma-Amorosi and the University of Colorado School of Public Health; Robert McGranaghan and the Colorado Clinical & Translational Sciences Institute; Lisa Jenson and the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center; Holly Wolf and the Colorado School of Public Health; Sheila Lynch and the Tri-County Health Department; Margee Cannon and Aurora Neighborhood Services; Tom Barrett, Curtis E. Bish, Tracy Young and Jan Hamburg and the Aurora Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Department; Loretta Daniel, Jay Pierce, John Fernandez, Linda Clohessy and the Aurora Planning and Development Services Department; Margaret Grondalski and the Adams County Assessor’s Office; Arapahoe County Geographic Information System Department; Douglas County Geographic Information System Department

  • Skills

    • Food Systems
    • Recreation
    • Gentrification
    • ArcGIS
    • Geoprocessing
    • Data Collection
    • Network Analysis
    • Geodesign
    • Social Justice
    • Descriptive Statistics