PLANNING RESEARCH CONSULTING
PLANNING RESEARCH & CONSULTING
We take a participatory approach, engaging communities with deep experiences of their local geography, coupled with extensive ethnographic research to understand what these places mean to the people who live there. It’s a blend of geography and psychology to provide a new approach to place making.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO KNOW A PLACE?
Through community mapping, sensory walks, and environmental workshops, we get the community active and central in the design process from the start. The community builds the research and a series of place-making charrettes help the community identify what features they value in the landscape. This is a kind of geographic-urbanism meets participatory urbanism and the result is a road map for programming organic citizen engagement with green space that will last long after development efforts have ended.
WHAT DO CITIZENS WANT A PLACE TO BE LIKE?
Only the people who use the space have the knowledge of what that space means to them. It is critical to figure out what a space means to people before you begin any kind of master planning process. Our early-phase research gives you a solid understanding of how to build equitable and meaningful participation, while also identifying the key components that affect how people experience a place.
HOW DOES LAND PLAY A ROLE IN CREATING CULTURE?
We take deep dives into how neighborhood histories have merged with resources and environmental contexts to shape the culture of a place. The complexity of visible and invisible community assets and community access to assets has deep connection to the geography and psychology of design elements in neighborhoods. Our unique expertise in untangling relationships between people, places, and things gives you a sense for the way particular geographies and landscapes can be used in placemaking efforts.
WHAT DOES THE COMMUNITY VALUE?
When design starts with the existing community at the table, and the community is driving the research initiatives, then community values and interests have a voice right from the beginning. Advocacy is always easier when values are clear and articulated. When design principles emerge from residents’ experience of their physical environment, then it’s easier for residents to prevent land use policy decisions that disrupt communities because it’s easier to see how land use decisions hurt or help a community.
GEOCOG helps communities solve problems through a hands-on approach: we sit in as active participants in your design meetings, we run project-specific workshops for your community, we meet your residents one-on-one for coffee, they get our full attention. Together we’ll create deeply engaging experiences of place. Some of our offerings include: