Geodesign with Geodesign Hub: an approach to working with communities to design a better future by Dr. Bruno de Andrade


I was invited to attend a Geodesign workshop in the community centre in Asdee, Co. Kerry. Asdee is a small village at the mouth of the Shannon estuary, in Ballylongford, Co. Kerry, Ireland.

The workshop was run by Hrishi Ballal from Geodesign Hub. The community in Asdee wanted to look at the options available to them to develop their community and attract tourism in a sustainable way. About 30 people attended this half-day workshop and they were divided into 4 groups representing younger people, older people, businesses and community development.

The workshop led by Hrishi followed a structure described in Carl Steinitz’s book “A Framework for Geodesign” (2012). The framework is based on a 6-steps process: representation, process, evaluation, change, impact, and decision. Hence, the Asdee community representatives analysed and designed the landscape and made decisions for its conservation and development.

The participants enjoyed having the power to be designers and decision-makers. A half-day Saturday workshop was the perfect amount of time for those who work in rural areas. They proposed a plan around cultural and environmental routes. The plan had a regional reach wanting to connect with the “Wild Atlantic Way” cycle route. The main goal was to attract tourists, create jobs and keep young people in the local community.

The village of Asdee was once the stronghold of the great O’Connor chieftains and nobility. It was the home of Jesse James’ family, an American outlaw, bank and train robber. Nowadays, it is a residential village characterised by its traditional architecture, including a pub named after Jesse James.

Each of the four groups create proposals for the area. The groups then came together to agree the final plan. This workshop was one of the first to use a new app created by Hrishi called Geoforage. The local community was asked to use this app before the workshop to give their input for future development of the local area. The workshop itself was based on the online participatory mapping platform Geodesign Hub.

I was invited by Hrishikesh to support him at the Geodesign Asdee workshop in order to start my training as a geodesign workshop facilitator and deepen my studies in Geodesign. My participation at the Geodesign Asdee workshop was possible due to the support of CCAT (Coastal Communities Adapting Together) operation, funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Cooperation Programme.

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