Urban Research

Urban Research (401/601, 3 credits)

Data Making: Urban Sensing Robotics, 2015

New data collection and computation techniques provide the opportunity for open, experiential and systematic understanding of site. The use of handheld mobile technology and new inexpensive microprocessors and sensors provides opportunity to bring the power of information to the lowest user level without the influence of larger economic and political forces. These research methods have been published with the Journal of Urban Design, ACADIA, and several book chapters and tested in professional urban design projects.

In-situ urban sensing methods include the advanced cross-platform methods to record data on site. Methods taught in this class may include the use of survey software Formhub and associated interface design including GSP, photos, time and other data types. Careful attention will be made coding information into binary 0/1, 1 to 5, numerical, word match and other qualitative to quantitative transformation. Other workflow platforms may include mobile app software ODK, Excel formulation, mobile sensor applications and physical robotic development of custom Arduino microprocessor and custom sensor devices. Software syntax and robotic assembly may be included to create custom sensors to measure targeted urban characteristics. These urban robotic techniques will test theories from the urban design seminar course and provide new data for analysis and design in the media for design development course.

  • In-situ Recording and Analysis: Background, theory and method including Data Collection Protocol, Data Dictionary + Documentation to Excel / CSV. Consideration of device parameters for future enhanced data collection
  • Comparative Culture and Project Support, Granada: Students will first test project-based techniques in Andalucian culture to understand the contextualization of data in Catalunya. Specific data collection will be based on each student’s project purpose and formulation.
  • Urban Analysis and Design Project Support: Project based support using formulation and evolutionary diagrams from the urban theory and intermediary urban media course. Development of data coding and data dictionary.

Class Project: Neighborhood Social Interaction Tool: The class will work together to understand three by three block “Superillas” related to an ongoing research project and dissemination with the Ajuntament of Barcelona. Each student will use techniques developed in the program to support a comprehensive tool to measure social interaction at the scale of neighborhoods and blocks.33