It’s hard to believe that my internship with Global Site Plans (GSP) has come to an end. Being a contributor to The Grid has helped me hone my skills as a writer; to more effectively convey and articulate my topics of interest. Focusing on topics of urban planning, through the lens of sustainability and geographic information science (GIS), has been an enriching experience, expanding my understanding of contemporary issues. Writing for GSP has also introduced me to other individuals and organizations of California’s Bay Area sustainability, planning and GIS communities.
Gina Kiani attending the 2013 Esri User Conference
Of the many facets involved in urban sustainability, I covered economic development with interest in Pedestrianization and Popups and Revitalization Through Retail Expansion on Broadway, stimulating downtown Oakland business opportunities. The focus on Economic Development for Sustainability in Oakland, California also made me aware of the many local activists and contributors towards sustainable economic growth from hackerspaces, and local business collectives like the Alliance for Community Development: Promoting an Inclusive Economy in Oakland, CA.
Food independence has been a revisited theme throughout my writing, discussing Oakland’s urban agriculture potential and questioning UC Berkeley for the University’s position on developing over some of the last remaining agriculturally classified soil in Albany.
A View of Lake Merritt in downtown Oakland, California.
Within the urban landscape of Oakland, CA, Putting Nature to Work, The Living Building Challenge for Sustainability in the Built Environment and the long awaited release of California’s Environmental Goals and Policy Report, were examples of my sustainability coverage in more natural terms while Place-Making for Peace explored the social.
As I am in my last semester of a Master of Science Degree in GIS, attending the Esri 2013 Conference opened up my awareness into the technology and tools available to promote sustainability with empirical analysis for urban policy and planning as I expand upon Advancing Sustainable Urban Planning with GIS. I am now half way through my year-long thesis of developing and documenting a WebGIS application for Urban Sustainability Indicators of Oakland, CA, which you can follow from start to completion and launch, set for the Spring of 2014.
I am grateful to owner/developer Renée van Staveren for the opportunity to bring California’s East Bay to the GSP audience, and to editors Debra Hawryzki and Meg Ryan for minding my P’s and Q’s.
Credits: Images by Gina Kiani. Data linked to sources.