UB to Host March Talk by Michael Kwartler, Whose Innovative Use of Digital Tools Illuminates Complex Land-Use Issues

Release Date: March 9, 2004 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Exciting and productive new tools in the field of land-use development and rehabilitation include computer-simulated models that inform, and help to resolve, public debates provoked by such projects.

Michael Kwartler is an innovative architect, planner, urban designer and educator with extensive experience in the development and use of digital visualization tools to present a range of potential land-use solutions and settle planning-related citizen disputes.

He is the 2004 Will and Nan Clarkson Visiting Scholar in Urban and Regional Planning in the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning. In connection with this role, Kwartler will present the Clarkson Lecture on Urban and Regional Planning, "Managing Complexity and Uncertainty: Just-in-Time Planning," at 5:30 p.m. on March 24 in 301 Crosby Hall on the UB South (Main Street) Campus.

He also will participate in an inter-disciplinary symposium and open forum, "Perspectives on Visualization," to be held from 9:30-11:30 a.m. on March 25 in 280 Park Hall on UB North (Amherst) Campus.

Both events will be free and open to the public.

Kwartler is founder and president of the Environmental Simulation Center, a non-profit research laboratory that develops new applications of digital technology that can inform complex public land-use issues and debates.

The center uses computer simulation, policy simulation and computerized impact analysis -- combining tools like 3-D modeling and geographic information systems (GIS), for instance -- to present to a community layers of visual information pertinent to specific land-use projects. It allows them to experiment with urban designs and actually "see" quantified environmental and fiscal impacts of different possibilities.

Many faculty members and students in the UB School of Architecture and Planning work extensively in areas related to his research. These include all aspects of urban and regional planning, the application of digital technologies like visualization tools to architectural design and planning problems, the development of information resources like the UB Institute for Governance and Regional Growth headed by Planning Professor John Sheffer, and Professor Robert Shibley's work to improve community decision-making processes in urban/regional planning.

The March 25 panel discussion and open forum is expected to offer greater insight into the uses made of research and applications produced by Kwartler and other digital-technology specialists by academic fields ranging from geography, engineering and classical archaeology to education, art, psychology and the natural sciences.

In addition to Kwartler, symposium participants will include Shahin Vassigh, associate professor of architecture; Christopher Crawford, visiting assistant professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning; Kenneth English, associate director, UB's New York State Center for Engineering Design and Industrial Innovation; Thomas Furlani, associate director, UB Center for Computational Research; Charles Hixon, Bergmann Associates of Rochester, pioneers in the use of visualization in the architecture and engineering fields and one of the few firms in the world using urban simulation; Thenkurussi Kesavadas, director, UB Virtual and Synthetic Engineering Laboratory, and Narushige Shiode, assistant professor, UB Department of Geography.

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