Spatial Analysis and Representation
This course provides first-semester planning students with the graphic and technical skills needed to reason, design and communicate with geospatial data. This knowledge will be embedded within a larger critical framework that addresses the cultural history of categorization, data collection and cartography as tools of persuasion for organizing space.
Urban planners engage a number of complex processes that defy easy representation, but visual expression is one of the most compelling methods to describe the physical environment. Students will learn visualization techniques specifically geared towards clarifying social, political and economic dynamics and how they relate the structuring of spaces. Additionally, they will learn how these techniques can be used both as part of the urban planning process and as a tool for communicating with broader audiences.
The class will introduce fundamentals of data collecting, data formatting and data importing into a Geographic Information System (GIS) environment. Students will gain familiarity with the technical tools essential to GIS for making maps and exploring relationships in the physical, regulatory and demographic dimensions of the landscape. Within GIS, students will learn the basics of geospatial processing to produce new forms of knowledge in support of ideas about urban planning and design. Desktop publishing tools, including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign will be used to distill ideas into effective graphic presentations. Students will be introduced to workflows that demonstrate how to move effectively between data from these platforms and modes of representation. Class lectures will be complemented with technical workshops.
- Establish a conceptual framework for critically engaging the practices of mapping and data-visualization;
- Provide a basic understanding of tools and techniques needed to reason, design and communicate with geospatial data;
- Develop students’ skill and confidence for visualizing the complex processes, flows, and dependencies unique to the planning discipline.