Cultivating Spatial Intelligence
Courses in Spatial Data in Design
This page describes the opportunities for learning about spatial represenation and analysis embedded in the GSD studio environment and curriculum. This range of opportuities can be arranged in ascending scale of formality, from: simple exposure to an exemplary information infrastructure, to specific tutorials integrated into courses and studios, or full term, for-credit courses.
- January Term
- GIS Camp: Urban Planning Edition
- GIS Camp: Landscape Architecture Edition
- Site Representation and Research
- Fundamentals of GIS
- GeoWeb: Public Infrastructure for Virtual Cities
An Exemplary Infrastructure for Understanding Places
The Graduate School of Design provides many opportunites to use and create spatial information for understanding and designing places and their context. These opportunities range from simply being exposed to a state-of the art infrastructure for using spatial data that is exemplary of most advanced public agencies and firms. Our environment features easy-to use resources for beginning a basic GIS database for anyplace in the world; a schoolwide license for four decades of the complete decennial census of the US; very detailed planimetric data for scores of international cities; and detailed three dimensional models of the Boston and NYC that evolve based on continuing collaboration of students and local firms. The keystone of this infrastructure is the GIS Manual which can be browsed by clicking on the links to the left of this page. GSD Students, who are without exception under pressure to gather and create information about places and context, make good use of this infrastructure and are continually contributing to its richness through their questions and contributions. We know that exposure to this infrastructure makes our students more productive and effective, and we hope that it raises their awareness and expectations for how knowledge-based organizations should manage and leverage information assets.
Design-Centric Introductory GIS Workshops
Several times a year we hold informal no-credit workshops focused on the issues surrouding compiling site information for design projects. This year's version. We also offer a pre-semester GIS campMaster of Landscape Architecture students.
Incidental Incorporation of GIS Tutorials in Non-GIS Courses
Many tasks that once incorporated basic map reading skills now require some literacy in the use and interpretation of spatial data. It is therefore expected that there will be some need to prepare geographic datasets and demonstrate their application in a variety of courses and studios. We are happy to prepare such a dataset and tutrial demonstration for any studio or course if data exists and if we are given enough advance notice (a few weeks.) The following are courses and studios that make use of some of these specialized datasets and demonstrations:
GSD5204: Real Estate Finance and Development
Instructor, Richard Peiser
The Real Estate Analysis Tutorial begis with a student-gathered spreadsheet containing the addresses and other data about comparable properties. We augment this comp data by associating each property with neighborhood characteristics such as the distance to the nearest school, shopping areas and the demographic and housing characteristics of the surrounding neighborhood.
Integration of Introduction to GIS Curriculum in Core Studios
Basic GIS literacy is a must for professionals in Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture. Even Architecture students are often interested in understanding the cultural and physical conteext of their sites. The GSD GIS specialist is happy to assist core studio coordinators in developing GIS datasets for their studios (provided that the project is initiated with enough time before the studio begins! In 2009/2010 we have worked with the 1st Year Core Urban Design, and MUP studio and the 3rd and 4th Semestr Landscape Architecture Studios.
Courses Focused on Spatial Data and Modeling
The learning opportunities presented above are geared toward assuring that our graduates have a basic literacy in the use of spatial data in day to day work. Students who see themselves becoming leaders in information-based organizations should have a structured course that provides an uunderstanding of how spatial data are gathered and documented for sharing and scholarship, how the logic of information systems is used to create new information, and how these new information should be evaluated.
GSD6322: Fundamentals of GIS -- Theory and Applications
Instructor: Paul Cote
This course explores Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and their applications. GIS serves as a framework for organizing knowledge about places and for developing logical models of the ways places operate under existing and proposed conditions. The course surveys the various forms and sources of spatially referenced information, how these originate, are obtained, and how they are organized as an infrastructure for administration and scholarship. Students will gain experience building logical models that transform source data and simulate place-based relationships and processes. Lectures will review the evolution and theory of the primary types of GIS and applications in urban planning, urban design, and environmental modeling. Hands-on workshops will provide experience in the creation of models. Emphasis is placed on developing best practices for organizing resources for collaborative research, and on establishing appropriate levels of confidence in the information obtained from maps and GIS models.
- GeoWeb: Public Infrastructure for Virtual Cities
Instructor: Paul Cote
This course explores technologies, applications, and the societal context of broad-scale city modeling. Development of standards for interoperability across disciplines created a revolution in manufacturing during the machine age. The same process continues today: bringing about unprecedented integration of information and knowledge about our environment. The world wide web and its explosion of content has emerged through a cross-disciplinary collaboration in information modeling and exchange. A similar process has also brought about industry standards for organizing and exchanging semantically rich models of buildings (BIM) that are subject to a wide variety of analytic and administrative tools. This process continues as we see web-based three-dimensional models of cities that integrate representations of buildings, detailed and scalable terrain, and vegetation; contributed by limitless numbers of diverse collaborators. As communities of scholars and professionals work toward specification semantically coherent, shared models for urban landscapes, we will see emerging a shared laboratory for experimentation with alternative futures and for recording historic changes -- especially as these unfold in the current epoch. The development of multi-purpose information models is crucial for making the most of the information that is generated in administration and scholarly research. Students will learn how to participate in the process of defining and evaluating standards and tools for city models. Hands-on workshops will develop technical skills in building and using city model infrastructure for design-related applications.