[MUSIC] Our next speaker is Doug Olson, who is president of, O2 Planning and Design in Calgary. Where he directs the firms, work and landscape architecture, regional planning, urban design, and landscape ecology. A graduate of Harvard, and of the University of Manitoba. He served as an instructor at Harvard, and is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Calgary. And a lot of his recent work examines the role of ecological infrastructure in determining sustainable patterns of use, development, and conservation. And his talk this morning is going to focus on geodesign for the city region. So, please welcome, Doug Olson. Doug. [APPLAUSE] >> Thank you. [APPLAUSE] Here we, now we're going okay. I'll just time myself here to see how I can stay on track here. I know we're a little bit behind but, so I'll try to pick it up. And I really, what I want to talk about is first of all, the need for geo-design in the city region. I promise there will be no definitions, or framework discussion. I think that is so well served by others, I'll leave that alone. And, I want to talk also about some examples from my own practice, in terms of how we applied this in various scales most of them in Alberta. I'll talk a little bit maybe in the discussion about current challenges. Well, why do we need to do this? With rapid urbanization across the planet, I strongly feel, and I think I'm supported by many others, that the city region is probably the most important planning scale that we have right now. It's really where change is occurring. You know, there's about five things, urban, that really transformed the planet. Urban growth, urban growth, linear infrastructure, agricultural, forestry, mining, energy development, and so on. Those are the things that are rapidly changing the planet that we need to be involved in if we're going to have meaningful input. So we've got these [INAUDIBLE] design tools now and you can't keep up. This is my business and I can, can't keep up. And it's stuff that Eric put forward this morning. The kinds of things that we've noted in our own work where there are deficiencies that we really need to address. So, we've got these tools now that really aid in impact assessment and evaluation of different alternatives, and really can be put forward and allow us to communicate better in the future. And it's always changing. And that's the dynamic nature of geo-design is, is one of the most attractive elements of it. Really. The tools are changing and the ways that we can engage a collaborative planning environment is really amazing. And we're working right across scales. I guess the measure or the point that I want to make today is that there is no silver bullet here. You just don't do one thing at one scale and look after everything. You really have to be working within this nested hierarchy of scales. And something I call the, the Goldilocks Determination. At what scale, and how much detail is needed. And that's really, I find that, still after many years of doing this, the most difficult thing about the practice figuring out what's the appropriate level of detail, and at what scale. Now different processes need different scales of analysis, obviously. But how much is enough? Carl used to say, do you need to know how the water moves through the soil profile and be able to model that? Or is it enough to say that, you know, the ground is wet? And, so, I think we really need to know how much is enough. And, so, many of these things are scale interdependent that they move back and forth, and you, if you do something at one scale, yes, it does affect a finer scale. So, making those linkages, particular among formal planning processes is difficult. And that broad scale analysis may not provide enough direction to operational or fine scale planning that's important. And, also, as you really look at things in detail at the fine-scale, and you try to aggregate those, and, you know, yes we have powerful, and more powerful computers all the time but it gets it can be pretty overwhelming in a practical sense as you try to scale up. Here's an example of a need to look across scale. This is my house in June of this year. When we had the worst flood on record in southern Alberta, and it was quite an event. It took out a good portion of downtown Calgary. These areas were flooded, but these areas were put out, you know, were without electricity for a week. And this is the second largest center of business in the country. Name is Calgary stampede. Underwater, huge area is taken out, and this is the costliest disaster in Canadian history. Over $8 Billion in this small area alone,. Let alone all the interruption with commerce and business. We've known about the urbanization effects on waterships on watersheds for a long time. We've had floods before. This is one of our major freeways in June. But this one was really something. But we tried to look at what has been happening. We've looked at wetlands and ecosystem services in the fringe and expansion area, annexation area around Calgary. And we've looked, we've done studies that said, well, okay, let's keep those places, and let's use them as the backbone for an open space system as we develop into these greenfields. Where we've taken finer scale, positions where this is a park where that's under construction, will be going to construction this year, actually, that we designed. That is all wetland ecosystem that will drop out sediment, and so on, and polish water from about a 25 square kilometer area. And, it's a cool place. I think it'll be quite an interesting environment. It's obviously man-made. It's basically a machine for treating water. But we can't deal with this at that scale. This is the Province of Alberta, about five times the size of Austria. And that was this area here, blown up here. Here's Calgary, here's this major sort of 300 millimeters over a couple of days. That was three quarters almost, no three fifths, excuse me, of our annual precept fell in three days. Most of it in one day over a very small watershed, the Elbow River, which then feeds into-and-and the vole as well. Huge storm event. Unprecedented actually in records at least. And it has a little bit of power to it. This is the Elbow Falls before the flood event, that's it after. At one point, 90% of the volume of some of the side tributaries was rock. So, how do you deal with that? You don't deal with it just at the fine scale. Yes, it aggregates up, but you have to look at it more broadly. So, this is a study we've done on areas that have been. First of all we mapped all the different areas of riparian area, with a variable with [INAUDIBLE] model. We looked at their condition and so on. But this is what we've lost. These areas were hammered during that flood. And also, we looked at the condition. So, I'm colorblind, I'm having a hard time seeing here. But there's a, I believe this is red down here. Unhealthy. Areas that had no longer had the proper bank stabilization, the forest that you would expect along these areas, and so on. And this is what happened, you know, at this particular area lost a hundred meters of soil. And the only reason it didn't lose more is cause they dumped all these emergency in. So, we can't just like at the fine scale, we have to look at multiple scales, this is the whole Bow River. But, I'm going to talk now about here's the Bow River in here and the need for nesting it even within a larger scale. So, the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan. I'll try not to repeat myself. Some of you may have seen this, especially if you were in China. But there is some new stuff here [LAUGH] for all of you. The South Saskatchewan Regional Plan, the size of Austria. 85,000 square kilometers really trying to look at the healthy economy, healthy ecosystems, and so called enriched communities. That's the kind of high-level talk that, but those are lofty aspirations. How do you go about? Doing that, creating a plan that will be the overriding plan to all subsequent finer scale plans, multiple. And, it's a wonderful area, it really is. It is my favorite place on Earth. We call it the Southern Rockies. It doesn't, but I guess it would be the Northern Rockies to you, folks. [LAUGH] But this is where, you know, Unforgiven was filmed, and Jesse James and this is classic West country. Beautiful, beautiful land, but also some very, very important agricultural resources. And, some of the most productive lands in the country, actually, that are heavily irrigated down, down in here, range lands and so on. It's got some forestry resources. My view is that it, we shouldn't make studs and pampers out of it. We should probably be manage, like managing that forward, that forest ecosystem services with forestry. Huge resources. Billions, billions of dollars of oil and gas. We're lucky in Alberta. We have a mother load of energy. Wonderful tourism resources. And that's really, this area back in here, really is the foundation for our tourism industry. Lots of native vegetation still remaining. Huge chunk down in here, probably one of the largest areas of remaining natural grassland in North America. And all of these things have like 90. All of them, in total, there's about 90 different layers in, that feed into, these different maps. Water resources, huge, hugely important both, surface and ground water. Okay. So, with the idea being that, we will...that we want to have a balanced land use plan for the region, where we consider all of these different layers. We thought about how we would go about doing that. Well, it isn't something you would simulate and say well, what if we do this? What's the outcome? Well, what if we do that? What are the impacts? I mean, there's not three scenarios here, there's literally millions. And with this kind of complexity at the area that both extent and complexity in terms of the issues that we're addressing. It's not the kind of thing I believe that you can do by simulation alone, unless you've got a month of Sundays. So, we took an approach of Spatially explicit multiple objective optimization modeling. That's a mouthful. We used a program called Marxam with Zones developed out of Queensland, the University of Queensland. Tremendous program, very powerful. Love to see it even more integrated within the, you know, the products and so on. Then we looked at, we had a, a regional advisory committee representing all of the different sectors in the area. And we took those 90 different maps. And we worked through those using a voting system with 20 people in the room and a modified Delphi technique. Where we worked through that and we said basically what do you want to keep, how much of it do you want, and how badly do you want it. Those are basically the questions we ask. And they were lay people, smart lay people. Each representing a different view, and we have, you know, some people in fact, some people didn't want wetlands, or it's actually there was one hold out on who, who didn't want wetlands. You know, there's one in every crowd. But, [COUGH] we use these to weight our modeling exercise. So, we use the targets. We set targets for certain areas. We put how much we wanted of them, of each different piece of element of value, or landscape values on the landscape, and we modeled that within. Within we came up with a land-use plan. And, you know, somebody said well, you know, these people need a map. I want to, you know, talk about for just a moment the political environment on this, is that when we started this process, several people on the steering committee did not want a map. No maps on a regional land-use plan, if you can imagine. Well, we, we have a regional land-use plan, and out of that came a series of, conservation management areas. And, I felt that if we achieved this one for instance, which is called the Wild Horse Plains, this area of highest biodiversity in the province, huge chunk of native grassland, mostly publicly held, mostly. but not completely, but that would probably have been the most important thing I'd done in my life. Unfortunately, the government, after they received the advice from the regional steering committee to do this has since backed off for completely political reasons. And this is still in negotiation. So, it's out for public consultation, but still in negotiation. And, then we can, of course, visualize these things at the regional level, and find with a great deal of precision. Just moving down quickly in scale to the Calgary Metropolitan Plan. Now smaller, but nested within that larger area. And really, something I've showed before but there's really three things that we're doing at all of these different scales. There's a defensive strategy of what you want to keep. There's an offensive strategy of where you want to build and what foreman, what's what supporting infrastructure,and there's of course the governance strategy which is highly political and how we make decisions in the area. The bottom two I believe are geodesign supported, and they can enable a political conversation. So, we have, I won't bore you with the background to this, but suffice to say, there was a lot of stuff, a lot of analysis that went in to looking at what is the composite ecological infrastructure in the region. And as we're trying to place the, double the population over the next 50 years. Don't put it in here. And there's, no need to. There's no need to. And this is early days nothing like the stuff that Bill Miller's crew is working on and, others here have worked on. We had a paint and sketching tool where you could paint in. Land uses in the area, and we actually did that with avoiding danger essentially technique where you don't build on the ecological infrastructure and you use your expert opinion in a collaborative way. Get in and sketch land use solutions. And they had a number. We came up with a series of scenarios and we evaluated them across a whole series of models from environment to economy and some social issues. And we came up with a preferred alternative. And this is the one that's moving forward now for the Calgary metropolitan plan. And it makes a difference. 64% less footprint and huge reduction in the cost of infrastructure. going to move on to one integrated growth management study in the same region south of Calgary, smaller city. Where we're looking at using a GeoDesign approach. Or we did, use a GeoDesign approach. We got a whole bunch of data in terms of market demand and base data existing plans. We took those existing plans and policies all of the ones that we could find that people articulated either in policy or regulation. And we converted those into a set of model, and used that to drive what we were doing. We really wanted to look at how much are we developing in terms of accommodating the populations that were projected and their associated land demands, where it would go, and the big driver here was looking at the cost of public infrastructure. As I said, there's, you know, there's three things that real drive decision makers in my experience, that's the cost of public infrastructure. That's employment and economic development opportunities. And then water quatity, quality and quantity. Because those are regulated. So, those things in every single plan we've worked on. Those are the major drivers. Everything else are collateral benefits. As much as we'd like to have biodiversity, and sense of place, and all of these things that we know are fundamental. I'm going to move ahead here quickly, been given the five minutes although I started mine at, well, I'd say I have nine minutes. [LAUGH] Nevertheless, our approach was to get a defensive strategy, an offensive strategy, develop planning units, look at infrastructure requirements, and so on. And come up with some recommendations as to what is the most cost-effective way for the city to grow. So, we came up with this defensive surge strategy, lot of modelling behind that, vulnerability, modelling. Some suitability for residential, industrial, and other commercial opportunities. We had a whole modeling environment that we could use. We could use sliders and not for wading, wading the different models and the maps would come out correspondingly. Thanks to Christian Doss on that. And, here's how it kind of came out. Here's the baseline. And then we started looking into these planning units, how we would we would develop them sequentially. And with each sequence, each planning unit as it came online. it had infrastructure that was associated with it. And the suitability models were then run again. Because of its proximity, its proximity to infrastructure, then you have to do this in a dynamic way. Then you have have to move this to Phase 2, Phase 3, Phase 4, and so on. And, each time that you don't see the defensive changing much, but there are. We recognize what we're losing in some of those areas. But they were the, those were areas that we felt had the least cost to the, from a defensive point of view. So they don't change much, but certainly the other suitability's do. And, we looked a the way that infrastructure would step out in these different phases in the most cost-effective way. Okay. I'm going to skip this one other than to show you that and move to the last one. But this is using City Engine. To show what the rules were. The rules of zoning our current rules and what happens if we change those rules. And, we just this was simple massing. And then we calculated a pile of statistics. And, and I want to say that the learning from this was, this was a huge learning process for us. Not the most successful project, by the way. But it was a huge learning. In that, we try to do too much. We let the client tell us, oh, you've got to measure everything and, and and we did. We measured lots and lots of different things, statistics, and more statistics, and so on. The Goldilocks determination. What is enough, what do you need, what are the drivers here. That's very very important. In this case, you know, if you get that one wrong, then your credibility is gone, or among some anyway. May not understand. What goes into this stuff. So, last is way better in this environment I would say. And we used city engine and all these procedural buildings and so on to look at different ways that the place would go. This is my last project, but an important one, I think. Much finer scale, this is a designed charrette that we use city engine for an area about 900 acres. So, it's a master plan, basically. It's going to be an outline plan, an actual outline plan. Highly contested though. There had already been an area structure plan for it. There had been a park plan for it. There had been a drainage plan for it. None of them meshed. And so, it wasn't that there wasn't consensus among the public. The public didn't really care. This is west end, an industrial area. But the city departments certainly did. And so we used this process, pardon me. [NOISE] A process where we use stakeholder selected indicators at the beginning. We said, how are you going to judge this plan? How is plan A going to be how will we support that plan A is better than plan B? So, wanting everybody on board we invited senior people within all departments, as well as their assistance to come up with the indicators. So we then went away. We built models and so on. And, we started going through the development of the Charrette. And, there were things about development that we had to make money on this thing. It could not lose money to develop this area. It had to handle storm water. It had to provide a regional park. It had to have some environmental issues relating to biodiversity. And in this case, we had twenty-nine, okay that's quite a few. But Christian and I must say, got into the point where it was not a one button push to evaluate all of this, but it was two. And, we love the new tools and we're looking forward to using, to make it more efficient yet but, they, there were indicators. With these kind of values. And we did an analysis of the area some, you know, swat analysis, really, looking at opportunities and constraints. [SOUND] We then had a, a chirette where we sketched ideas, literally with, with, by hand. Just diagrams, that's all they were. They were just diagrams. Then those were converted into different con, into the concepts and the concepts then we put in the street grids. This is all in City Engine. And I put in the street grids, plotted the blocks, assigned land uses to them, assigned different building types that could go to those units and so on. Some areas were more heavily developed than others. And I'll just quickly, I'm also done here go through them, but, but so these, these were all generated automatically by city engine. Pretty handy, actually. This was the best conflicted stake holder engagement session that we've ever had. It was so successful. Everybody had an input at the beginning and to the judgment of the plant. And, they saw how it developed, and they were involved in this over a three or four day period in developing these different concepts. And, you can see that city engine puts out some pretty convincing stuff, and pretty quickly, too, I might add. And, then we took a bunch of indicators. Well, return on investment,. First 2 lost money, we only had to break even, we were told, so all of these things we are going into, all of the cost and evaluation models that we were doing went directly into a performer, as well, which, I think that if you do that, if you really have a great performer, and you can get a city engine. Spouting, spitting out the information that's needed to go into that or the 3D gis pro app that they're talking about. If you can get that spitting out the information for a pro forma and you can visualize this in a way that's convincing, I think people will beat a path to your door. That was an insult, we're hoping, we're hoping, and they seem to be. We're getting work on the basis of that. Then, we also looked at employment opportunities on all these, these are all coming out post, post, they weren't done in city engine at all. They were done, most of it in transportation issues, connect transit accessibility, parks and open space,. And the satability of open space from various types of development. The kinds of pedestrian, walkability, cyclability. All of those things that people were, that, that, that the kind of steering team was looking for. And biodiversity, wetlands that we were avoiding, different types of wetlands and different areas. Red [INAUDIBLE]. Areas, and and so on. Mostly, direct measurements. Fairly simple modeling I might add, in this case. There a lot, and then in previous areas, and we've done other studies that with Bill Miller, and others, where we've actually linked water balance models to, where, we didn't, Really do the total water balance model. We used some other models, looking at phosphorous and total suspended solids that, that these different treatments were taking. And I ended up, after we looked at that and came up with, the preferred version. And it has some, it has its set of, of, of performance measures and it seems to work pretty well and will form the basis for an actual regulated plan. So, and in closing. I would say that Jack noted yesterday, we have an urgent problem here. And so you know, I'm involved in practice. I like to see things that are actually, that influence real plans and actually maybe even get built or not built. On development as, as was said yesterday. How do we go about that? How do we engage those who need to be in the conversation. And, and I think that this new tools, allow us to do that. With an efficiency that is unprecedented really. So thank you very much.