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Geodesign program welcomes Flaxman

Dr. Michael Flaxman has joined the Penn State landscape architecture department’s online geodesign graduate program as a new faculty member. He will teach the virtual studio for the new Master in Professional Studies in Geodesign.

Flaxman has spent the past two decades working in the field of spatial environmental planning. He was part of the original group who articulated the core concepts for geodesign and his definition of geodesign is widely cited. In 2012 he founded Geodesign Technologies, Inc, to focus on online scenario planning, extending and furthering concepts developed at Harvard, Esri, and MIT. Flaxman served most recently as an assistant professor in the Urban Information Systems Group of MIT’s Department of Planning, and co-founder of GeoAdaptive LLC. He previously served as industry manager for architecture, engineering and construction at Esri, the world's largest developer of GIS technology. Flaxman received his doctorate in design from Harvard University in 2001 and holds a masters in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Oregon and a bachelor's in biology from Reed College.

Flaxman's primary professional interest is in the use of spatial simulation within the planning and design of cities and regions. He is particularly interested in the development of spatial decision support tools, which present evaluative models in context, using visual simulation. He has practiced GIS-based planning in seventeen countries, including one year as a Fulbright fellow in Canada. Flaxman states, “Penn State’s geodesign program is at the nexus of online geospatial design tools combined with the geodesign process. The course I will teach combines analytical rigor and design creativity, which I try to foster in all of my work.”

Landscape architecture department head Eliza Pennypacker adds, “I am delighted to declare that Penn State is at the forefront in geodesign education. Dr. Flaxman is a terrific addition to our faculty as he brings years of teaching excellence as well as extraordinary expertise in spatial scenario planning tools-all to the benefit of sustainable environmental design.”

Photo of Mike Flaxman