Advanced Spatial Analysis

The course will investigate a number of qualitative and quantitative methods to measure and analyze urban spatial problems relevant to contemporary urban planning practice. The course is based in part on literature on spatial analysis and in part on newly emerging topics in urban analytics. It offer students tools for integrating spatial information and decision making into planning and design solutions. It is structured around four experiments:

   ·   Pedestrian route choice analysis
   ·   Understanding business location and patronage
   ·   Mapping spatial inequality
   ·   Making sense of big, aggregate data

Each experiment will run for three to four weeks, during which groups of participants are asked to tackle a real-world urban analytics exercise from beginning to end, starting with a introduction of theory and methods, followed by data collection and analysis and ending with a presentation of findings in class.

Each experiment is conducted in teams. By exposing class participants to different experimental set-ups that move from conceptualization and experimental design, to data collection, analysis, to the presentation and interpretation of findings, the course aims to prepare students for applied urban analysis projects. There is no mid-term exam or big final review; each of the experiments counts equally, distributing the workload evenly throughout the semester. Lab sessions introduce students to relevant software applications.

The course is very hands-on and has a substantial workload. We use multiple software platforms including ArcGIS, Rhino and Excel, along with some functionality that is new and experimental. If you do not enjoy experimentation and have no interest in quantitative analysis, this may not be the right course for you. But if you are willing to explore and embrace some uncertainty, you should experience enough to become a self-sufficient learner in urban analytics and visualization, and might discover a whole new lens through which to study, plan and design built environments.

VIS 2129 Spatial Analysis and the Built Environment or equivalent (talk to instructor) and SES-5215 Analytic Methods of Urban Planning (Quantitative). Prior experience with ArcGIS, Rhinoceros3D and Adobe Creative Suite will be very helpful.