Good Land Project

SUMMARY: The GoodLand Project seeks to increase the Catholic Church's understanding and ecological planning of its landholdings using geographic technologies and community involvement to demonstrate how these lands can be a means for positive global environmental and social change.The Church potentially controls the largest nongovernmental network of landholdings in the world.

PROBLEM SPACE: Thoughtful land-management strategies foster a clean environment, promote public health, address social justice concerns, add beauty to the world, and support the life of its many species. The GoodLand Project was born out of the insight that the Catholic Church has immense social and physical infrastructure, including the largest nongovernmental healthcare network in the world, the largest nongovernmental education network in the world, and likely the largest nongovernmental land network in the world. The Church could make a significant impact on climate change, global environmental health and the physical health of humanity if they ecologically managed their landscapes. The GLP will help the Church do so by using powerful mapping technology. Locally, the GLP will work with communities and social infrastructure to ensure project sustainability and create connections with people in dioceses being evaluated. Globally, the GLP is classifying dioceses based on factors such as climate change vulnerability, economics and biomes. This will show dioceses where threats, such as drought, are most likely to have the greatest impact within the next several decades and enables information sharing with aid organizations. The GLP will also use diocesan classification to identify analyses and data needs for planning in areas with comparable environments.

SOLUTION: "The GoodLand Project has five basic operational strategies. These are:

(1) Coherence from the parcel scale to the global: Enable coherent communication across scales along with project evolution and improvement on each scale.

(2) Top-Down Planning, Bottom-Up Community Involvement: Work synchronously from the top to reveal opportunities and facilitate high-impact changes with communities on the ground.

(3) Connecting existing networks to get from analysis to action: Cultivate and activate a network of resources already in the community that can help educate about suggestions and make landscape changes.

(4) Transference: Internal reapplication of basic models and pre-assembled frameworks and theoretical reapplication of frameworks by other organizations. Spatial Data Infrastructure reduces redundancy and increases simple geospatial data transference among Catholic communities.

(5) Accessibility: Accessible project operations, accessible data analyses, and simple educational materials that make landscape ecology, conservation, and geodesign approachable for the general public.

A GIS analyst, programmer, ecological designer, and project manager will plan a diocese over the course of 18 months and involve the community in a multimedia exploration of the landscape, local ecologies, and stewardship. Analyses will reveal properties that can have high-impact changes on ecosystems health and the organizations (such as engineering and design/build firms) and incentives that can help communities make changes to their lands."