On the criticality of mapping practices: Geodesign as critical GIS?

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43 Scopus citations


In recent years, geospatial design (or geodesign) has emerged as an area of technological development, GIScience research, and design practice. With Esri leading the branding of this emerging area, geospatial technology developers, design consultancies, and academic units are recognizing the affordances of applying geovisualization and geoanalytical techniques to more conventional practices within design and planning fields. Additionally, the GISciences are being called to rearticulate their research agendas in the face of 'big data' and neogeography. This paper examines these developments with regard to criticality, or the ways in which mapping practices are applied in critical research - both research that seeks to situate the emergence of geospatial technologies and enrolls these technologies more directly as method. What is the criticality of mapping practices amid these developments? More specifically to the design and planning fields, how might geodesign align with critical GIS? I take up these questions by tracing three presuppositions of criticality in mapping while examining the conditions of geodesign's emergence: representation and futurity, neutrality and efficacy, and relationality and complexity. I conclude by outlining a research agenda for further advancement of a critical geodesign.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-234
Number of pages9
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier B.V.


  • Critical GIS
  • Design
  • Geodesign
  • Geography
  • Mapping
  • Planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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