Ilir Bejleri, Ph.D.

Ilir Bejleri, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning

College of Design, Construction and Planning

2008 Awardee

Before cities can be fashioned from bricks and concrete, they first have to be intricately planned on computers, grids and in the minds of qualified designers. In UF’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Ilir Bejleri is finding newer and better tools for urban design and planning using information technology.

Bejleri’s improved design and planning system consists of programs that apply innovative technology that function as a “planning and analysis decision support system,” Bejleri said.

Bejleri uses technology such as geographic information systems (GIS) in three main areas. This research includes the development of spatial databases and computer tools to support environmental and transportation planning. Bejleri is also researching geospatial tools to evaluate, map and analyze traffic accidents to improve Florida’s roadway safety.

If Bejleri’s work in information systems lays the foundation for urban planning, then his work in 3D simulations brings it to life. In the classroom, Bejleri uses simulations to help his students, some of who have no design experience, visualize and understand urban design. Outside the classroom, he wants to further integrate 3D virtual models to help both planners and everyday citizens better understand city development. Bejleri said these simulations may help “facilitate public participation in planning and design of cities.”

In 1998, Bejleri’s research culminated in the Florida Geographic Data Library, an ongoing data library that organizes, maintains and provides geographic information systems data for libraries, agencies, corporations, businesses and individuals. This library won the Best Environmental Practices Award, which is given out by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials once every five years.

Zhong-Ren Peng, chair of the urban and regional planning department, considers Bejleri a respected authority in his field.

“Dr. Bejleri has established himself as a national expert and scholar in the area of Information Technology for Planning, an important and growing area of research in the Urban and Regional Planning field,” Peng said.