George Janes founded George M. Janes and Associates (GMJ&A) in 2008 after spending six years as Executive Director of the Environmental Simulation Center (ESC). Founded with former employees of the ESC, GMJ&A delivers planning expertise and visual simulation technology to a variety of clients mostly in New York’s Hudson River Valley. With 18 years experience, Mr. Janes is one of the region’s experts on the intersection of planning with technology and writes and speaks widely on the topic. He has worked as a planner in the public, not-for-profit and private sectors and brings a unique perspective on how technology can be used to make better planning decisions. Previously, Mr. Janes managed the development of several of IBM’s (formerly PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting) simulation modeling programs including CommunityViz , a planning decision-support system that links visual simulation with local land use decision making; and TRANSIMs, the next generation traffic simulation developed by Los Alamos National Laboratory and commercialized by IBM. Prior to joining IBM, Mr. Janes was with the Detroit metropolitan planning organization (SEMCOG) where he developed and supported land use forecasting models, and saw first-hand how technology (in that case, GIS) completely transformed a planning office.
Selected Project Experience:
Photosimulations: For several private developers, Mr. Janes led the creation of photosimulations, or verifiable digital photomontages for development projects throughout New York State. Photosimulation is the process of combining a 3D CAD model of a proposed project with an existing conditions photograph to demonstrate how the action changes views. For formalized visual resource assessments under SEQR, photosimulation is the preferred technique because they are verifiable and can be easily printed and included as a part of the legal document.
Real-time Visual Simulation: For several private developers, Mr. Janes led the creation of real-time visual simulations for proposed development projects in New York and New Jersey. Real-time visual simulation is interactive and allows a proposed project to be explored and viewed from any angle or perspective. This flexibility is in direct contrast with photosimulation and is well-suited to projects in design review or during public visioning or consensus building sessions, where questions can be answered through exploration of the proposal.
East 125th Street EIS: Mr. Janes and his staff prepared the Urban Design and Visual Resources, Shadows and Zoning chapters of the Environmental Impact Statement for the East 125th Street project for the New York City Economic Development Corporation. These chapters included extensive graphics demonstrating the proposed project’s impact on the area’s resources.
City of Kingston EIS reviews: Mr. Janes advises the City of Kingston on the completeness, accuracy and technical methods used in Visual Resource Assessments produced as parts of EISs. Currently working on two projects in Kingston, with extensive scopes that require photosimulations in the daytime, nighttime, from both land and water locations, and from locations that range from 100 feet to 4 miles distant, the visual resource assessments are some of the most demanding ever performed.
Town of Amenia EIS reviews: Mr. Janes advises the Town of Amenia (Dutchess County) on the completeness, accuracy and technical methods used in Visual Resource Assessments produced as parts of EISs. Currently working on two projects in Amenia, Mr. Janes’ work required the applicants to completely redo the visual simulations so that they followed accepted standards and fully disclosed project’s impact on the visual resources.
Carvel DEIS review, Town of Pine Plains: For Pine Plains United, Mr. Janes developed materials demonstrating serious deficiencies with the visual simulations developed for the Carvel DEIS. Documented in public testimony and written comments, Mr. Janes’ comments along with PPU’s other reviews helped to convince the Pine Plains Planning Board to press the Applicant for an entirely new design for the project site.
Atlantic Yards EIS: Mr. Janes and his staff evaluated the DEIS for the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, which is the largest single project ever proposed in New York City. He demonstrated that the photosimulations provided were flawed and showed buildings in the wrong places. Together with is staff, Janes developed new simulations that were a part of the formal comments of the Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods and required the applicant to correct all visual simulations to accurately describe the project’s impact on visual resources.
Brooklyn Bridge Park EIS: Mr. Janes managed and wrote an extensive review of the DEIS for Brooklyn Bridge Park. To correct deficiencies in the DEIS, Janes’ team created a series of verifiable digital photomontages from representative locations that helped the public better understand the proposed park design, which now includes very large buildings, which were designed to help pay for the park. All materials were made into a website so that the community could freely and easily access the materials that demonstrated the project’s impact on visual resources.
Far West Midtown Manhattan GEIS: Mr. Janes and his staff produced the Shadows Chapter and all the visual simulations for the Generic Environmental Impact Statement study for Far West Midtown Manhattan. Janes’ team was responsible for producing graphics, text and analysis on the urban design, visual resources and shadow impact assessment.
Master’s of Urban Planning, Wayne State University
Bachelor’s of History, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Member of the American Institute of Certified Planners since 1997