Global Regeneration through Interdisciplinary Design and Development (GRIDD)

The GRIDD Unit develops new and applies existing research to analyze issues and visualize solutions for urban decline. It focuses on the regeneration of vacant, abandoned, or obsolete/underutilized spaces and develops strategies to repurpose such areas using geospatial design (geodesign). 

Geodesign incorporates evaluation, performance and impact models into urban design/planning. The approach is reliant on combinations and workflows of advanced digital technologies including (but not limited to):

  • Geographic information systems 
  • Prediction models
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles
  • Computer-aided drafting
  • Information modeling
  • Infographics
  • Other advanced representation techniques

Geospatial analysis provides evidence for design and planning decision making. 

Because vacant land is a ubiquitous urban condition, urban regeneration is a field that crosses most built environment related disciplines. This provides the GRIDD Unit with a unique ability to easily work with other units, centers and researchers. 

For example, underutilized urban space can be repurposed to:

  • Increase resilience or assist in mitigating stormwater issues
  • Amend networks for increasing active living
  • Increase ecological services at the microclimate scale
  • Decrease historic structure teardowns due to abandonment

Program Lead

View profile

Galen Newman

Professor and Department Head

979.862.4320 Email Galen Newman

Sample Projects

Sifting the Landscape: Transforming Vacant Lands through Smart Decline

Dayton, Ohio
American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) “Honor Award”

  • Presentation slide depicting depopulation and shrinking cities in the US Rust Belt
  • Presentation slide depicting Dayton, Ohio vacancy increase 2005-2014
  • Presentation slide depicting livelihood issues and employment status
  • Presentation slide depicting smart decline concept
  • Presentation slide depicting feasible nodes
  • Presentation slide depicting carillion: site analysis
  • Presentation slide depicting predicting future vacant land using the land transformation model
  • Presentation slide depicting sifting the landscape
  • Presentation slide depicting voids transformation
  • Presentation slide depicting master plan
  • Presentation slide depicting Carillon neighborhood: post-sifting process and implementation
  • Presentation slide depicting phasing strategy
  • Presentation slide depicting Carillon neighborhood: implementation
  • Presentation slide depicting Carillon neighborhood: implementation
  • Presentation slide depicting design impact

Resilience through Regeneration

Sunnyside, Houston, TX
American Society of Landscape Architects, Texas Chapter (TX-ASLA) “Award of Excellence”
Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) “Our Great Region Opportunity Award”

  • Map of flood vulnerability and crime through re-purposing vacant land in the Houston region
  • From 2005-2017 the Houston vacancy rate dropped from around 20% to around 5%
  • In 2015 Sunnyside was the 2nd most dangerous community in Houston. Each sunnyside resident had a 1 in 11 chance of becoming a victim of crime
  • 2017 Harvey Flooding Map shows 60% of Sunnyside ditches inadequate
  • Houston flood vulnerability model includes raster input, category output, and overlay output
  • Target site has 36% vacancy rate, 30% ponding area/acre flooding potential and 15% criminate rate
  • Visual aid of strategies to re-purpose vacant properties to reduce crime rates and flooding
  • Vacancy typology program toolkit includes typolgy, size, location and proposed function
  • Target site master plan
  • Target site development phasing toolkit application over time
  • Phase 1: Developing Incubators includes a mixed-use community center and detention pond
  • Phase 2: Feeder Development includes live-work houses & apartments and a bioswale
  • Phase 3: Peripheral Facilities includes community garden and rain garden and educational trail
  • Visual aid of structural design impact in each phase shows structural abandonment will decrease by 90%
  • Visual aid of green space design impact in each phase
  • Visual aid of design impact benefit return shows life cycle benefit will cover 150% of infrastructure cost

Recent Publications

Geo-spatial sciences and design

2018, Newman, G., Malecha, M., Yu, S., Qiao, Z., Horney, J., Lee, J., Kim, Y.J., Lee, R.J., & Berke, P. (Accepted, submitted July 5, 2017, accepted Oct. 2, 2018). “Integrating a Resilience Scorecard and Landscape Performance Tools into a Geodesign Process.” Landscape Research, in-press.

2018, Emeric, E., & Newman, G. (2018, in-press). “Public transportation as a potential remedy to urban decline in Dayton, Ohio: A case study.” Landscape Research Record v.5: (in-press).

2018, Masterson, J., Meyer, M., Ghariabeh, N., Hendricks, M., Lee, R.J., Musharrat, S., Newman, G., Sansom, G., Van Zandt, S. (2018, in-press).”Interdisciplinary Citizen Science for Hazard and Disaster Education.” International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters.

2016, Kil, S.H., Lee, D.K., Kim, J.H., Li, M.H., Newman, G. (2016). “Utilizing the analytic hierarchy process to establish weighted values for evaluating the stability of slope revegetation based on hydroseeding measures in South Korea.” Sustainability, 8 (1), 58- 75. DOI: 10.3390/su8010058

2016, Kota, S.; Farias Stipo, F.; Jeong, W.; Kim, J.B.; Bermudez Alcocer, J. L.; Clayton, M. J., Yan, W., Haberl, J.S. (2016). Development of a reference building information model for thermal model compliance testing — Part 1: Guidelines for generating thermal input files. ASHRAE Transactions 256-266.

Urban decline and regeneration

2018, Lee J., Newman G., & Park, Y. (2018). “A Comparison of Vacancy Dynamics between Growing and Shrinking Cities Using the Land Transformation Model.” Sustainability 10(5); p.1513-1530 DOI: 10.3390/su10051513

2018, Newman, G., Meyer, M., Kim, B. & Lee, R.J. (2018) “Gauging the Relationship between Contextual Growth and Structural Neglect.” Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs, 2 (2); 33-45. DOI: 10.25034/ijcua.2018.3669

2018, Newman G., Park, Y.M., Bowman, A. O’M, and Lee, R.J. (2018) “Vacant Urban Areas: Causes and Interconnected Factors.” Cities 78: 421-429 DOI:
URL: 10.22.2018 Page | 4

2018, Kim, J.H., Li, W., Newman, G., Kil, S.H., & Park, S.Y. (2018). “The Influence of Urban Landscape Spatial Patterns on Single-Family Property Values.” Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science, 45 (1): 26-43. DOI: 10.1016/j.cities.2016.05.018

2018, Gu, D., Newman, G., Kim, J.H., Park, Y.M., Lee, J.K. (under review, submitted Oct 23, 2018). “Neighborhood decline and sustainable urbanism: mitigating housing abandonment in shrinking cities.” Land Use Policy

2018, Park, Y. & Newman, G. (under review, submitted Oct 23, 2018). “The Evolution of the Notion of “Good Urban Form:” A U.S. Focused Analysis.” Journal of Urban Design

2018, Stone, K., Horney, J., Newman G., Karaye, I., Casaillas, G. (under review, submitted Sept 21, 2018). ‘A Spatial Analysis of Possible Environmental Exposures in Recreational Areas Impacted by Hurricane Harvey Flooding, Harris County, Texas.” Environmental Pollution.

2018, Newman, G., Li, D., Ren, D.D., and Guo, R. “Resilience through regeneration: The economics of repurposing vacant land with green infrastructure.” Landscape Architecture Frontiers

2018, Newman G., Gu, D.W., Lee, R.J., & Park, Y.M. (under review, submitted Mar 28, 2018). ‘Evaluating Drivers of Housing Vacancy: A Longitudinal Analysis of Large U.S. Cities from 1940-2010.” Journal of Housing and the Built Environment.

2018, Horney J., Dwyer, C., Vendrell-Velez, B., & Newman G. (under review, submitted Oct. 9, 2018). “Validating a Comprehensive Plan Scoring System for Healthy Community Design in League City, Texas.” Journal of Urban Design

2017, Newman, G. (2017). “Foreword” [pg. 1]. In Lost Texas. Dorsey, B., author. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press.

2017, Kim, J.H., Newman, G., Feng, H., Merrill, J., & Park, J. (2017). “Sustainable urbanism for a metropolitan corridor: An evidence-based urban design for Park 10 in Houston, Texas.” Landscape Architecture Frontiers, 5(5), 96-109.

2017, Newman, G. Brody, S. & Smith, A. (2017). “Repurposing Vacant Land through Landscape Connectivity.” Landscape Journal 36: 37-57. DOI: 10.3368/lj.36.1.37

2017, Newman, G & Kim, B. (2017). “Urban Shrapnel: Spatial Distribution of NonProductive Space in a Growing City.” Landscape Research 42 (7): 699-715 DOI: 10.1080/01426397.2017.1363877

2017, Newman, G. (2017). “Research Design in Urban Planning: A Student’s Guide [book review].” Journal of Planning Education and Research 37 (4): 502-503 DOI: 0.1177/0739456X16674260

2017, Park, Y., & Newman, G. (2017). “A Framework for Place Making using Alexander’s Patterns.” Urban Design International, 22 (4), 349-346. DOI: 10.1057/s41289-017-0040-1

2017, Lee, J. & Newman, G. (2017). “Forecasting Urban Vacancy Dynamics in a Shrinking City: A Land Transformation Model.” International Journal of Geo-Information, 6 (4), 124. DOI: 10.3390/ijgi6040124

2016, Park, Y., Huang, S., & Newman, G. (2016). “A Statistical Meta-Analysis of New Urbanism Based Design Components on Housing Prices.” Journal of Planning 10.22.2018 Page | 5 Literature, 31(4): 435-451. DOI: 0.1177/0885412216667898

2016, Newman, G., Gu, D., Kim, J.H, Bowman, A., and Li, W. (2016). “Elasticity and Urban Vacancy: A Longitudinal Analysis of U.S. Cities.” Cities, 58, 143-151. DOI: 10.1016/j.cities.2016.05.018

2016, Newman, G., Bowman, A., Lee, R.J., & Kim, B. (2016). “A Current Inventory of Vacant Urban Land in America.” Journal of Urban Design, 21 (3), 302-319. DOI: 10.1080/13574809.2016.1167589

2016, Newman, G. Lee, J., & Berke, P. (2016). “Using the Land Transformation Model to Forecast Vacant Land.” Journal of Land Use Science, 11 (4): 450-475 DOI: 10.1080/1747423X.2016.1162861

Xiao, Y. and W.G. Peacock. Forthcoming. Do Hazard Mitigation and Preparedness Reduce Physical Damage to Businesses in Disasters: The Critical Role of Business Disaster Planning. Natural Hazards Review.

Highfield, W., W.G. Peacock, and S. Van Zandt. Forthcoming. Determinants of Damage to Single-Family Housing from Hurricane-induced Surge and Flooding: Why Hazard Exposure, Structural Vulnerability, AND Social Vulnerability Matter in Mitigation Planning. Journal of Planning Education & Research.

Urban ecology and green infrastructure

2019, Horney, J. & Newman, G. (2019). “Green Infrastructure Flood Control: How Flooding Contaminated Parks and Impacted Resident Perceptions of Environmental Health.” National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) – Washington D.C.

2018, Thiagarajan, M., Newman, G., Van Zandt, S. (2018, in-press). “The Projected Impact of a Neighborhood-scaled Green Infrastructure Retrofit,” Sustainability DOI:

2018, Wang, H.Q., Newman, G. & Wang, Z. (2018). “Urban planning as an extension of War Planning: The Case of Shenyang, China, 1898-1966.” Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs, 3 (1): 1-12. DOI: 10.25034/ijcua.2018.4677

2018, Meyer, M., Hendricks, M. Newman, G., Horney, J., Berke; Masterson, J., Sansom, G., Cousins, T., Van Zandt, S., & Cooper. J. (2018, in-press). “Participatory action research: tools for disaster resilience education.” International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment 9 (4): in-press DOI: 10.1108/IJDRBE-02-2017-0015

2018, Newman, G., Hollander, J., Lee., J., Gu, D., Kim, B., & Lee, R.J., Horney, J., Bearfield, D., Li, Y. (2018) “Smarter Shrinkage: A Neighborhood-scaled Right Sizing Strategy based on Land Use Dynamics.” Journal of Geovisualization and Spatial Studies 2(11): in-press DOI: 10.1007/s41651-018-0018-6

2018, Hendricks, M. Newman, G., Yu, S., Horney, J. (under review, submitted June 20, 2018) “Who foots the bill? The challenge of making green infrastructure inclusive and just.” Landscape Journal.

2017, Reja, M.Y., Brody, S., Highfield, W., & Newman, G. (2017) “Hurricane Recovery and Ecological Resilience: Measuring the Impacts of Wetland Alteration Post Hurricane Ike on the Upper TX Coast.” Journal of Environmental Management, 60(6): 1116-1126. DOI: 10.1007/s00267-017-0943-z

2016, Newman, G. Kim, J.H., Berke, P., Merrill, J., Wang, Y. & Li, Q. (2016) “From Idle Grounds to Ecological Infrastructure: The Resilient Design of Manchester Neighborhood in Houston.” Landscape Architecture Frontiers, 4 (5): 68-84

2016, Newman, G. (2016). “The Eidos of Urban Form: A Framework for Heritage-based Place Making.” Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability. 9 (4), 388-407. DOI: 10.1080/17549175.2015.1070367.

2016, Newman, G., Guo, R., Zhang, Y., Bardenhagen, E., & Kim, J.H. (2016). “Landscape Integration for Storm Surge Barrier Infrastructure.” Landscape Architecture Frontiers, 4 (1): 112-125.

2016, Newman, G. Kim, J.H., Lee, R.J., Brown, B., & Huston, S. (2016). “The Perceived Effects of Flipped Teaching on Knowledge Acquisition.” Journal of Effective Teaching, 16 (1): 52-71.

2016, Kil, S. H., Kim, J. H., Newman, G., Park, G. S., & Ohga, S. (2016). “Estimation and Change in Carbon Stock of Robinia Pseudoacacia in Seoul, Korea.” Journal of the Faculty of Agriculture, Kyushu University, 61 (1): 17-21.
URL: 10.22.2018 Page | 6

2016, Newman, G. (2016). “Effects of Area-based Heritage Management on Demolition by Neglect: Comparing Rates in Historic Urban Boroughs.” Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal, 9 (3): 250-268. ISSN: 17529638

2016, Newman, G. & Saginor, J. (2016). “Priorities for Advancing the Concept of New Ruralism.” Sustainability 8 (3): 269. DOI: 10.3390/su8030269