Kos, Richard

  • Faculty Member and Practitioner-in-Residence, Dept. of Urban & Regional Planning
    San José State University, San José, California (August, 2007 to Present)
  • Geospatial Educator and Certified Urban Planner
  • richard.kos@sjsu.edu


  • Master of Regional Planning, May 1995. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    • Course of Study: land use planning and growth management; emphasis on the impacts of urban sprawl, the study of New Urbanism, and transportation planning.
  • Bachelor of Science, Environmental Planning and Urban Design, May 1989. Rutgers University
    • Course of Study: the interactions between manmade and natural environments; urban design.
  • Certified California Adult Educator, 2003. University of California, Berkeley Extension
    • Licensed to teach literacy skills, computer applications, and social sciences in California adult schools.

Licenses and Certificates

Certified Professional Planner: American Institute of Certified Planners. Certification #105484.


My professional skills encompass many facets of urban and regional planning, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and education. My studies at Rutgers University focused on environmental planning and urban design, and my graduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill concentrated on the use of digital technology to study land use change spatially and quantitatively, transportation planning, and alternative approaches to conventional suburban development patterns. 

I have served in a number of increasingly responsible positions as an urban planner, starting as a site plan reviewer for the Middlesex County, NJ Planning Department.

During and after my graduate studies in North Carolina, I was as Assistant Town Planner for the Town of Apex, NC where I served as webmaster, land use planner, and GIS coordinator. 

I next served as Senior Town Planner and GIS Manager for the Town of Huntersville, NC. where I managed complex development projects while implementing the town's form-based, New Urbanist-inspired development standards. 

After relocating to the Bay Area in 2000, I worked with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission as a GIS Planner/Analyst. The Bay Area Lifeline Transportation Map that I completed for MTC was chosen from among thousands of entries for inclusion in ESRI’s 2003 Map Book.

From 2003 to 2007, I served as GIS Manager for Design, Community & Environment, a planning and design firm in Berkeley. I oversaw all aspects of the firm's GIS practice and trained colleagues to use ArcGIS and ArcCatalog while managing the production of numerous maps for General Plans and EIRs throughout California. 

Since 2007, I have taughtgraduate-level GIS and urban planning courses at San Jose State University. I offers introductory and advanced-level GIS courses with a strong emphasis on technological and project management skills sought by today’s employers. I have managed large teams of graduate students to produce maps and conduct spatial analysis for many clients in the South Bay including the City of San Jose Planning Department, The Health Trust, Catholic Charities, the City of Mountain View Planning Department, Sustainable San Mateo, and CommUniverCity San Jose.

In 2008, I began to offer my services in GIS education and mapping, cartography and urban planning as a sole proprietor. My recent clients have included the Mineta Transportation Institute, SamTrans, Greenbelt Alliance, the Association of Bay Area Governments, the City of Mountain View, CA, Worldlink, Raimi + Associates, HIP Housing, MidPeninsula Housing, Mobility Planners, LLC and KGO-TV in San Francisco. 

In 2012, Esri Press published “GIS for Economic Development”, which I co-authored with a San Jose State University colleague, Dr. Mike Pogodzinski.



LinkedIn Profile:


Selected Courses Taught:

  • Introduction to GIS for Urban Planners: emphasis on spatial literacy and ArcGIS skills in demand by Bay Area employers, including proper analysis and mapping of demographic data, geoprocessing of datasets, georeferencing raster images, address geocoding, and cartographic excellence. Students are individually guided in the conceptualization and execution of a capstone GIS project requiring unique research.
  • Advanced GIS for Urban Planners: emphasis on geodatabase design, advanced cartography, GIS project management and land use analyses; ArcGIS extensions including Network Analyst, 3D Analyst and Spatial Analyst. Students collaborate on a complex project with a Bay Area client to apply their GIS skills.
  • Capstone Studio in Community Planning: second-year graduate students are guided through a culminating experience where their skills are applied to the preparation of a professional-grade existing conditions report for a local community; the assessment serves as a foundation for planning work conducted in subsequent semesters.
  • Collaborative Neighborhood Planning: students learn effective techniques for direct engagement with local community members to develop targeted planning solutions and identify funding and implementation partners; students design and execute a large Community Conversation event each semester to gather data. 

  Student Advising and Mentoring:

  • Department Graduate Advisor: assist graduate students with course selection, meeting graduation requirements, career development, and administrative challenges.
  • Masters Planning Report Advisor: masters degree candidates are guided in the conceptualization, design, and execution of a professional-grade project that requires significant independent research.
  • Faculty Advisor, Urban Planning Coalition, a student-run campus organization that aims to enrich the academic experience for all students interested in urban and regional planning by building professional networks and advising students of the opportunities in the field of urban planning.


Other Teaching Experiences:

  • Instructor, [IN]CITY Summer 2016 Institute
    UC-Berkeley, College of Environmental Design
  • Instructor for comprehensive six-week introduction to the study and practice of urban planning through the lens of sustainability. Course is targeted to students considering graduate urban planning programs. Organized daily lecture series, managed and guided studio work including software media training sessions and client-based projects tied to housing and design, bike mobility and transportation, public health and environmental justice, community development and gentrification, urban design, climate action and art in public spaces.

  • GIS Instructor
    City College of San Francisco, GIS Education Center
  • Taught a series of courses: GIS Theory and Practice (an overview of fundamental geospatial literacy skills); Advanced GIS Quick Start (a focus on specific workforce-readiness skills using ArcGIS software); Map Design and Visualization (techniques for effective information design, including the depiction of quantitative data using maps, statistical modeling and advanced cartographic techniques).

  • Visiting Professor
    California College of the Arts, San Francisco, California
  • In coordination with the college’s Masters of Architecture program, an introduction to ArcGIS technology was provided along with specific applications for spatial analysis of relevance to student architects, including raster analysis and three-dimensional modeling.

Selected Research Projects:

Understanding Cuban Urbanism in Havana (Jan. 2016)

Sponsor: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Overview: structured examination of planning and sustainability efforts in Havana as the city prepares for an explosion of American tourists. Lectures and discussions with local academics and community organizers included included urban agriculture, historic preservation techniques in the city core, challenges in providing 'social housing' for the local labor force, sustainability in rural communities, and tourism planning strategies.


The Land and Housing Survey in a Global Sample of Cities (Jan. 2016)

Sponsor: New York University Stern Urbanization Project

Overview: My role was to gather land use, housing affordability, and GIS-related data for the Modesto, CA metropolitan area. "The survey focuses on two critical issues facing cities the world over at the present time: (1) the rules and regulations governing the development of new residential land and housing and their enforcement; and (2) the affordability and access to jobs of housing units and residential plots. The survey is part of a larger effort to monitor the state of the world's cities … so as to enable municipal and national governments, as well as civic groups and international organizations, to engage more effectively in evidence-based planning and policy-making… The global sample of 200 cities is a representative sample of the 4,000+ cities and metropolitan areas that had 100,000 people or more in 2010."


2012 Census of California Water Transportation Services

My role: Consulting Associate, Mineta Transportation Institute

(co-author Dr. Asha Weinstein Agrawal, assisted by graduate students Maria Louise-Javier and Brent Carvalho)

Sponsor: Mineta Transportation Institute

Overview:  The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics conducts a nationwide census of ferryboat operators for the U.S. Department of Transportation; the collected information is used for statistical purposes. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) asked that Caltrans assure the data is current for MAP-21 and, in turn, the Mineta Transportation Institute was contacted to conduct this research. My research team compiled a spreadsheet and accompanying GIS maps that include ferry boats, routes, and operators along with a number of related characteristics including ownership (public or private), daily trip counts, regulation of fares, terminal locations (street address and coordinates), boarding statistics, and route segment lengths. The resulting data set was linked to Caltrans’ Earth software for the agency’s future uses. 

Demographic Profile of the African American Community in San José and Santa Clara County

(co-author with Dr. Ruth Wilson, Chair, SJSU African-American Studies Dept.; August, 2014)

Sponsor: African-American Community Service Agency

Overview: The completed report was written in a Call to Action format that accompanied a comprehensive assessment of public health-related aspirations and concerns in the African American community of the South Bay. The finished set of recommendations was informed by numerous stakeholder interviews and focus groups.  The report provides specific guidance to county elected officials and public health organizations to initiate intervention and education programs for the betterment of the community. 


Complete Streets Audit & Community Engagement: West San Carlos Street & Bascom Ave. Corridors, San Jose

(assisted by graduate urban planning student team; July, 2012)

Sponsor: Greenbelt Alliance

Overview: The primary objectives of the project were: (1) to comprehensively audit the existing conditions of the West San Carlos and Bascom corridors from a complete streets perspective by documenting land uses, building setbacks, pedestrian amenities, parking and transit conditions, street widths, and streetscape amenities; and (2) to directly engage community residents and business owners in the audit review process while engaging them in the city’s Urban Village planning process. The report concludes with a thorough documentation of resident and business owner concerns about the present and future conditions of the corridors as well as recommendations for next steps in the comprehensive corridor planning process.

Urban Planning and GIS Consulting; Other Employment

Independent GIS and Urban Planning Consultant
Customized GIS Training: in 2014 I prepared comprehensive training programs in ArcGIS basics for 15 planners at the Association of Bay Area Governments, and 20 transportation planners at SamTrans. Each session featured customized exercises tailored to the work of the agency and self-study materials. 

Mori Memorial Foundation (Japan)
I served as Advisor and Research Partner for the Foundation’s Global Power Metropolitan Index project. Tasks included amassing a geospatial data repository for Los Angeles, including demographics, labor force characteristics, GDP growth rate, and employment density.

Mobility Planners, LLC
I manage a small GIS consulting team to produce public transit maps and analyze ridership and demographic data for rural transit providers throughout California

City of Mountain View, CA
I provided a variety of on-call GIS and urban planning services to the Planning Department for the city’s 2030 General Plan Update process. Tasks included map production, demographic analysis, and modernization of the official Zoning/General Plan Land Use maps.

Raimi + Associates, Berkeley, CA
Assisted with the development of maps related to public health for a variety of municipal clients; maps include access to healthy food, vehicle and pedestrian accident locations, residential proximity to toxic sites, and an audit of pedestrian and transit amenities.

Field Paoli Architects
On-call GIS education and mapping services; a recent training course was designed to introduce the benefits of geospatial analysis to the firm’s design team.

Individualized GIS Training
Provided customized tutoring services to students and professionals; recent projects include training for transit agency planners, mountain lion tracking, and mapping health indicators.

Town of Cornelius, North Carolina
Modernized and updated the Town’s GIS after a year of neglect due to staff shortages. Acquired and organized new data, trained planning staff to design their own maps, and completed three widely used maps of town zoning, land use, and environmental constraints. 
Digital Cartographer: WorldLink, San Francisco, California 

  • Cartography:  develop cartographic standards for global datasets that are incorporated into educational software for middle and high school students. The resulting application will utilize a Google Earth-like interface and specially-designed curriculum in order to further the mission of WorldLink: to inspire understanding of critical global and local issues through transformative learning experiences.
  • Project Management: coordinate communication between the project’s software programmers, curriculum writers and graphic designers to ensure adherence to project timelines; set milestones and review deliverables from all contributors; collaborate with NOAA and NASA imagery experts to acquire data.

GIS Manager

Design, Community & Environment, Berkeley, California 

  • Coordinated all aspects of GIS functions within the firm and managed budgets for complex GIS projects.
  • Data Management: located data sources, QA/QC, created metadata, georeferenced CAD and raster data.
  • Produced maps for General Plans, Environmental Impact Reports, marketing materials and training.
  • Utilized ArcView extensions for modeling alternative land use scenarios: CommunityViz, PLACE3S.
  • Built a GIS team by training staff in ArcGIS skills and information design techniques. Developed protocols for documentation of metadata and templates for consistency and branding of all map products.
  • Project Manager for EIRs, land use and infrastructure plans, El Camino Real corridor alternatives analysis.

GIS Planner / Analyst
Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), Oakland, California 

  • ·roduction of welfare-to-work and Lifeline transit maps for the San Francisco Bay Area. Maps were used by MTC staff and social service agencies to identify gaps in transit service between low-income neighborhoods and essential destinations. The maps won first place design awards from regional GIS peers in 2000 and 2001.
  • Production of transportation access maps for the Bay Area’s 2012 Summer Olympics bid package.
  • Extensive demographic analysis and map design for a nine-county Senior Citizen Transportation study.
  • Maintained currency of large databases for transit routes, road projects, land use, geocoded addresses.


Senior Town Planner   
Town of Huntersville, North Carolina (November, 1997 to March, 2000)

  • Geographic Information System Administrator:  Responsible for the purchase and daily maintenance of the Town’s GIS.  Produced all zoning, subdivision, environmental, and infrastructure maps for Town uses.
  • Implementation and Enforcement of Urban Design-Based Development Regulations: Used a New Urbanist-inspired zoning and subdivision ordinance to foster pedestrian-scaled neighborhoods of narrow streets, mixed land uses, and preserved open spaces.  Implementing the often-unpopular ordinance necessitated subjective design decisions that had to be fairly and firmly defended before developers and citizens accustomed to low-density sprawl.  The experience created solid diplomatic and negotiating skills.

Assistant Town Planner
Town of Apex, North Carolina (May, 1994 to October, 1997)

  • Geographic Information System Administrator: Solely responsible for the daily maintenance of the Town’s GIS.  Produced maps, managed database of property records, acquired new data as needed.
  • Development Management:  Reviewed development proposals for consistency with Town policies.
  • Coordinated reviews and construction with all Town departments, developers, attorneys and engineers.
  • Intern Supervisor:  Responsible for the selection and daily supervision of graduate student interns.  Developed work assignments, set completion dates, and clarified expectations.
  •  Town Webmaster:  Solely responsible for the content, programming, maintenance and timeliness of the Town’s website.  Coordinated with all Town departments and Chamber of Commerce for content.


Planner, Subdivision and Site Plan Review
Middlesex County Planning Board, New Brunswick, New Jersey

  • Site Plan and Subdivision Review:  Coordinated the review of development proposals to enforce county road and drainage infrastructure regulations; visited all sites to ascertain likely impacts.
  • Lead Researcher:  County Bicycle Transportation Study.
  • Report Preparation:  Assisted with the preparation of monthly and annual growth-related statistics.


 Certifications, Professional Memberships, and Affiliations:

  • Certified Professional Planner, American Institute of Certified Planners, 1996.  Certification #105484.
  • Workgroup Leader, BayGeo Geospatial Education Workgroup
  • Fellow, Salzburg Global Seminar
  • Member and Professional Mentor, American Planning Association, Northern California Chapter
  • Member, National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Member, San Francisco Urban Planning and Research (SPUR)
  • Consulting Associate, Mineta Transportation Institute, San José, CA


Awards and Honors:

  • 2016 CommUniverCitan of the Year: awarded to leaders of San Jose neighborhood revitalization projects
  • 2015 Outstanding Planning Student Organization Award from the American Planning Association for the SJSU Urban Planning Coalition (I served as faculty advisor)
  • 2014 Most Influential Professor per student nomination, SJSU College of Social Sciences
  • 2014 Academic Award of Merit from the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section, for the Spartan-Keyes Neighborhood Assessment and Community Engagement Report
  • 2010 Award of Excellence from the California Chapter and Northern California Chapter of the American Planning Association for the Alviso Community Assessment and Urban Design Analysis Report.
  • 2003 Lifeline Transportation Map: selected from thousands of entries for inclusion in ESRI Map Book.
  • 2000 and 2001 GIS First Place Award, Bay Area Automated Mapping Association: Welfare-to-work maps for Santa Clara and Marin counties won awards for overall design and quality of presentation.
  • 1999 GIS First Place Award, National GIS Day: Zoning and land use maps produced for the Town of Huntersville, NC won first place in the region for clarity, educational qualities, and information design.
  • 1995 Outstanding Class Contributions Award: UNC-Chapel Hill, Graduate City Planning Program.



Selected Conference Presentations: 

"Sideways Urbanism: Collaborative Planning in San Jose"

  • 2016 American Planning Association National Conference (panel member) (Phoenix, AZ; April 2016)
  • Overview:  San Jose is the 10th largest city in the United States and one of the most diverse. Despite increased bureaucracy and a tendency toward top-down planning that many larger cities face, San Jose has evolved a unique approach to planning that is grounded in collaboration. While a planning process in San Jose begins with communication between various city departments and the City Council, it continues to include a variety of nonprofit organizations, governmental agencies, artists, students, university faculty, developers, and citizens. In this system, planning ideas are often shared laterally rather than moving in a top-down or bottom-up manner. This lateral approach to planning is deemed “Sideways Urbanism.”

“Five Easy Pieces: Tips for Teaching Challenging GIS Topics”

  • 2014 Esri GIS Education User Conference (San Diego, CA; July 2014)
  • Overview:  As much as we educators enjoy imparting our GIS knowledge to our students with great confidence, chances are that each of us has wrestled from time to time with effective ways to present complex topics in a manner that is both memorable and practical.  The presenters will share their approaches to teaching five such topics, including: (1) map projections, (2) spatial statistics, (3) spatial regression and econometrics, (4) Spatial Analyst functionality, and (5) geoprocessing with ModelBuilder. 

"Is a GIS Degree Worthwhile?  Business Analyst Says….”
(co-presenter with J.M. Pogodzinski)

  • 2013 Esri GIS Education User Conference (San Diego, CA; July 2013)
  • Overview:  In this presentation, Business Analyst Online and Desktop was used to look at GIS degree programs and jobs. Business Analyst Online offers detailed data about industries.  Business Analyst Desktop offers sophisticated analytic tools.  Combining these data sources with publicly available census and Bureau of Labor Statistics data allows us to look closely at the labor market for GIS-related jobs.  The focus was on California, but the methods described can be used to analyze prospects for GIS employment anywhere.  More important, the methods can be used to describe the prospects for employment in any field anywhere.  We are really analyzing workforce development – a key component of economic development policy.  As authors of the just-released Esri Press book Economic Development and GIS, we demonstrated that the tools of GIS can be applied to a wide variety of economic development policy issues, including workforce development, site selection, tax analysis, and many more.


“Community Assessment and Engagement in the Spartan-Keyes Neighborhood of San Jose: Techniques and Insights for Collaborative Neighborhood Planning”

  • American Planning Association, Northern California Chapter, AICP Certification Maintenance Event (San Jose, CA; March 2013)
  • Overview:  This informative session provided attendees with an overview of the community assessment and collaborative neighborhood planning techniques used by SJSU graduate urban planning student teams in the Spartan-Keyes community of central San Jose.  The presentation explained proven methods for engaging local residents in the planning process and how the graduate students served as remarkably effective “ambassadors” for contemporary urban planning in a service-learning context.  Attendees learned how partnerships such as CommUniverCity (CUC) function in the realm of neighborhood-level urban planning in an era of severe fiscal constraints.  CUC is a unique partnership between a neighborhood near the campus (community), San José State (university), and the City of San José (city) that focuses collective resources, knowledge, and expertise on priorities identified by residents.

“Teaching Spatial Analysis With Spatial Analyst and Spatial Statistics”
(co-presenter with J.M. Pogodzinski)

  • 2012 Esri GIS Education User Conference (San Diego, CA; July 2012)
  • Overview:  The ArcGIS Spatial Analyst extension opens the door to a wide array of powerful, raster-based tools to assist with the analysis of geographic features and relationships.  With raster data (an array of cells with attached values), continuous geographic features such as terrain, slope, and precipitation patterns can be more effectively analyzed than by using vector data (points, lines, and polygons).  Additionally, the Spatial Statistics toolbox offers a wealth of tools for advanced spatial analysis including summarizing a spatial distribution (e.g. mean center, directional trend), mapping hot/cold spots and clusters, assessing patterns of clustering or dispersion, and undertaking regression analysis. This session covered these tools from the perspective of teachers teaching fellow teachers, with an emphasis on curriculum and distance learning development.  Online sources of free raster data were presented along with demonstrations of ArcGIS Spatial Analyst and Spatial Statistics for site suitability and economic development applications.  

 “Jobs-Housing Balance: GIS Analysis of an Economic Development Issue”
(co-presenter with J.M. Pogodzinski)

  • 2011 ESRI GIS Education User Conference (San Diego, CA; July 2011)
  • Overview:  An Analysis of the regional jobs-housing balance at the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) level in California. Jobs-housing balance has been a concern in economic development for many years. An imbalance, defined as a mismatch between jobs within a pay category with housing affordable to people within that pay category, may be an impediment to economic growth. The authors constructed several indices of jobs-housing imbalance and examined the geographic pattern of imbalance measures in California MSAs. They used data from the American Community Survey about the distribution of rents, housing costs, incomes, and earnings to compute several measures of imbalance. Also examined was the question as to whether high-end and low-end housing is over- or under-distributed within an MSA.


“Impact of Unemployment on Community College Enrollment”
(co-presenter with J.M. Pogodzinski)

  • 2010 Esri GIS Education User Conference (San Diego, CA; July 2010)
  • Overview:  An analysis of how the unemployment rate affects enrollment in community colleges by age. Our model accounts for other determinants of community-college enrollment, such as relative tuition/fees of community colleges and private and public alternatives, the age distribution of the population, and the distribution of employment. The study enlightens several significant policy issues: (1) How best to use federal stimulus money?  (2) How best to promote economic development and job growth?  (3) What are the constraints to growth of “cutting edge” industries like biotech, nanotech, and greentech?   The analysis is connected to a large body of literature, including Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz, The Race Between Education and Technology (Belknap Press, Harvard, 2008) and Miles to Go Before I Learn: The Effect of Travel Distance on the Mature Person’s Choice of a Community College, Journal of Urban Economics, 65 (2009) 64-73.


“Economic Geography of Workforce Development in the Biotechnology Industry”
(co-presenter with J.M. Pogodzinski)

  • 2010 Esri International GIS User Conference (San Diego, CA; July 2010)
  • Overview:  This analysis investigates the impact of community college programs in biology-related areas on the growth of biotech firms. Data about community college enrollments, community college degrees in biology, and the age distribution of students in community colleges is combined with data about the concentration of and characteristics of biotechnology firms in the San Francisco Bay Area to show the effect of biotech-oriented degree programs in community colleges as attractors of biotechnology firms. The paper's principal features are the detailed data about biotechnology firms in the San Francisco Bay Area (provided by BayBio, a biotechnology trade association) and the detailed data about community college enrollments (provided by the Chancellor's Office of the California Community Colleges). 


“Unemployment, Labor Force Participation, Industry Location, and Workforce Development”
(co-presenter with J.M. Pogodzinski)

  • 2009 Esri GIS Education User Conference (San Diego, CA; July 2009)
  • Overview:  An examination of how enrollment at public community colleges in California is affected by local (county- and metropolitan-level) unemployment rates, labor force participation, and industry location. The effect on enrollment is broken down by age of the enrollees and by the location (ZIP code) in which the students reside over the period 2003-06. The study also examines the role of community colleges in providing training in the biotechnology industry.  The paper specifically examines biotechnology-related programs provided by community colleges in California and the San Francisco Bay Area.  The analysis used more detailed and current data than previous studies, including biotechnology industry location, unemployment and labor force participation, the location and age distribution of community college enrollees, and industry structure and performance in the enrollees’ vicinity. 


“Biotech Industry Clustering and Workforce Development Policies”
(co-presenter with J.M. Pogodzinski)

  • 2009 Esri International GIS User Conference (San Diego, CA; July 2009)
  • Overview:  An examination of the role of three factors identified in the literature to account for the clustering of biotechnology firms in California and the San Francisco Bay Area: the availability of biology degree programs at institutions of higher education, the funding of research universities, and the diversity of the local economies.  We used data from the 2002 Economic Census to identify industry clusters, supplemented by more detailed data about firm characteristics obtained from a biotechnology trade association for firms in the San Francisco Bay Area. Biology degree information was obtained from the California Postsecondary Education Commission. Funding levels were determined by adding funding from biology programs of the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (the “Stem Cell Institute”).  We used GIS tools to identify industry clusters and to compute measures of economic diversity.

“Turning Regional Visions into Local Reality” (panel member)

  • 2006 Annual Conference, California Chapter of the American Planning Association (Anaheim, CA; October 2006)
    Overview:  Regional growth visioning has taken California by storm. Today, the Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) of almost every major metropolitan area in California are pursuing their own regional plans. These often-nebulous “visions” tout broad-based regional benefits, such as reducing traffic congestion, preserving open space, improving air quality, and creating more livable communities. Yet without local land use authority, MPOs depend on local governments for participation, leaving cities and counties to wonder what's in it for them. This presentation focused on dynamic partnerships, implementation strategies and innovative tools used throughout California to turn vision into reality.

“Applying GIS to the Preparation of General Plans” (panel member)

  • 2004 Annual Conference, California Chapter of the American Planning Association (Palm Springs, CA; October 2004)
  • Overview:  ArcGIS is a powerful tool that can be used to manage spatial data for general plan preparation. Current conditions can be studied as well as changes resulting from proposed policies. Furthermore, build-out analyses can be conducted to simulate the end result of these policies. However, like most planning tasks, this is all easier said than done. This session focused on the numerous complexities - and solutions -related to GIS data quality, the availability of multiple data projections, and client expectations. Case studies from Tracy, CA and Truckee, CA were presented. 

“Developing a Lifeline Transportation Network for Disadvantaged Communities: San Francisco Bay Area”

  • 2001 URISA Annual Conference (Long Beach, CA; October 2001)
  • Overview:  Lifeline transit provides vital mobility for those who are economically disadvantaged, transit dependent, or transitioning from welfare to work.  The Metropolitan Transportation Commission in Oakland, California, harnessed the power of GIS to map a Regional Lifeline Transit Network of existing transit routes which best connect low-income neighborhoods with essential destinations.  Furthermore, GIS was used to identify spatial and temporal gaps in the existing transit system. The resulting maps guided local and regional transportation investments to close the most problematic gaps.

“The Power of Maps”

  • San Jose State University, Urban Planning Coalition Guest Speaker (San Jose, CA; December 2010)
  • Overview:  An overview of the art and science of cartography, noting the power of ArcGIS to convert raw digital data to spatial representations that reveal patterns that are otherwise lost in the original data.  Audience members were guided through a hands-on demonstration of ArcGIS Online to practice concepts covered in the presentation.