Towards Ethical Geo-Design in the Urban Digital Twin Era: Opportunities and Challenges

An Open Call for Submissions:  Special Issue of the Journal of Planning Education and Research (JPER)


The urban digital twin (UDT) is a nascent technology that results from the amalgamation of developments in computer science, engineering, and urban science. UDT provides a powerful platform for urban planning research and education, supported by fine-resolution visualization, data integration, collaboration, and innovation. The defining characteristics of UDT include human factors, decision-making, and sustainability. This special issue aims to examine the synergies between geo-design, UDT technology, and ethics in the development of sustainable cities. By integrating geo-design and UDT, a more collaborative and inclusive urban planning can be achieved, taking diverse stakeholder interests and perspectives into account. However, uncertainty can stem from the inaccuracy or incompleteness of geospatial urban data and the effectiveness of geo-design interventions in achieving desired outcomes. It can also arise from the diverse and competing interests of different stakeholders. This issue will examine the opportunities and challenges associated with integrating geo-design and UDT technologies in an ethical manner, highlighting best practices, case studies, and research directions that support ethical geo-design. This issue aims to provide a platform for discussion, exploration, and knowledge-sharing for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers interested in the intersection of geo-design, UDT technology, and ethics in sustainable urban development.


This special issue will invite submissions of original research, review articles, and case studies that address one or more of the following topics or other relevant issues:

  • Accuracy and uncertainty of UDT
  • Bias and fairness in the UDT and geo-design process
  • Data quality, location privacy, and security in UDT and geo-design
  • Ethical frameworks of integrating geo-design and UDT in urban planning
  • Digital Earth and UDT
  • Generative AI for urban planning and design
  • Geo-design and UDT for equitable, sustainable, and resilient urban development
  • Geospatial data in ethical geo-design and UDT
  • Governance and policy for ethical geo-design and UDT
  • Immersive technologies for ethical geo-design
  • Interactions of UDTs across places and scales
  • Spatial decision making and Human-UDT interaction
  • Spatial simulation
  • Stakeholder integration in geo-design and UDT

The special issue provides a platform for sharing experiences, insights, discoveries, and challenges related to ethical geo-design in the urban digital twin era. The goal is to encourage a more participatory and cooperative approach to urban planning and design, emphasizing ethical considerations and promoting sustainable urban development. The special issue targets researchers, practitioners, and policymakers alike.

Submission procedure:

Interested authors should notify the guest editors of their intention to submit a paper contribution by sending the title and a 500-word abstract to Dr. Xinyue Ye ( and Dr. Michael Goodchild ( by July 15, 2023. The deadline for submissions of the full papers is October 31, 2023. A condition of submission and acceptance is that papers must pass the normal JPER review process. For author instructions, please refer to “Manuscript Submission Guidelines” at the JPER journal homepage. All manuscripts, including support materials, must be submitted using the journal’s online Manuscript Central site. Please indicate this special issue as the target issue in the submission process. First-time users of the Manuscript Central site must register themselves as an Author.  For questions, please contact Xinyue Ye <>

Important dates:

  • Submit 500-word abstracts to guest editors: July 15, 2023
  • Invite full paper submissions (no guarantee for final acceptance): July 30, 2023
  • Full paper submission to the JPER online Manuscript Central site: October 31, 2023
  • Initial decision on full papers: December 31, 2023
  • Revised paper submission to the JPER online Manuscript Central site: February 15, 2024
  • Paper acceptance notification: April 15, 2024

Special Issue Guest Editors

  • Xinyue Ye, Texas A&M University <>
  • Michael Goodchild, University of California, Santa Barbara <>