Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation this initiative includes both projects and curricular initiatives that bring together students and scholars from across the University.

 
Data Visualization for Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities
An introduction to concepts, techniques, and best practices in programing interactive web-based data visualizations for students new to the fields of computation and information design.
   
Description Spring 2019

This course introduces key concepts and techniques in interactive data visualization to students who are new to the field of computation and information design. Through a series of in-class exercises and take-home assignments, students will critically engage with visual representations of data and produce interactive visualizations that serve analytical and narrative purposes.

Students complete weekly or bi-weekly tutorials on technical topics that are useful in creating interactive web-based visualizations. These exercises complement in-class code demonstrations and lectures on design principles and critical perspectives. The lectures and exercises are designed to allow students to apply data-centered practices to their own disciplines and areas of research. Students will complete a final project based on their own interests.

Course Topics

Applied:

  • Information Design Concepts
  • Data Visualization Workflows
  • Design Principles for Interactivity
  • Basic Programing for the Web: HTML, CSS, Javascript
  • Interactive Visualizations with D3

Theoretical:

  • History and origin of data representation
  • Current research in data visualization
  • Overview of the data visualization field
  • Critical approaches, practices, and works

Tutorial Topics

  • HTML & CSS
  • Github
  • Javascript
  • D3 series: intro to more advanced
Spring 2019 Registration Information

Friday 9-11am
ARCH A4890, call number: 88396
Instructor: Jia Zhang, Mellon Associate Research Scholar in the Faculty of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

Open to students within GSAS, GSAPP, Barnard and Columbia Colleges, School of General Studies, and others by permission.

 
Palaces for the People

Palaces for the People

Tuesday, November 27, 5:30pm
The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room
Book launch event with Eric Kleinenberg, Professor of Sociology, New York University

Responses by: 
Bruce Robbins, Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University
Shamus Khan, Professor of Sociology, Columbia University
Kate Orff, Associate Professor & Director, Urban Design Program, Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

We are living in a time of deep divisions. Americans are sorting themselves along racial, religious, and cultural lines, leading to a level of polarization that the country hasn’t seen since the Civil War. Pundits and politicians are calling for us to come together, to find common purpose. But how, exactly, can this be done?
 
In Palaces for the People, Eric Klinenberg suggests a way forward. He believes that the future of democratic societies rests not simply on shared values but on shared spaces: the libraries, childcare centers, bookstores, churches, synagogues, and parks where crucial, sometimes life-saving connections, are formed. These are places where people gather and linger, making friends across group lines and strengthening the entire community. Klinenberg calls this the “social infrastructure”: When it is strong, neighborhoods flourish; when it is neglected, as it has been in recent years, families and individuals must fend for themselves.

Organized by Sharon Marcus, Orlando Harriman Professor of English and Comparative Literature. Sponsored by: The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities, Public Books, Columbia University Libraries, Department of English and Comparative Language, Department of Sociology, The Urban Design Program, Center for Spatial Research.

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Spatial History and Historical GIS
This course introduces students to the emerging methodologies that combine geographic information systems (GIS) with historical thinking.
   
Description

This course introduces the emerging methodologies that combines geographic information systems (GIS) with traditional “historical thinking.” There are three goals for this course. First, students will learn basic technical skills in GIS used by spatial historians. Students are not required to have prior experience in GIS to enroll in this course, but basic computer literacy is essential. Second, through weekly readings, students will engage with scholarship/projects that use historical geographic information systems (HGIS) and with the broader spatial humanities. Students will be encouraged to consider the new topics/questions historians are investigating with HGIS and the new evidence HGIS provides to historiographical debates. The readings on HGIS research serve as starting points for class discussions on the strengths and limitations of this new methodology. Additional readings on HGIS methods provide examples of analytical tools, and students will be challenged to think of new methods that can aid in answering historiographical questions as well. Finally, students will undertake a small spatial history project. Through this research project, students will learn research and project management skills, which are increasingly necessary for historians in the digital age, while refining an intervention in the historiography.

Mapping Historical New York City
A collaboration to map immigration and neighborhood change in New York City during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
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Mapping Historical New York, through web-based, interactive maps, reconstructs the demographic and structural shifts of Manhattan and Brooklyn between 1850 and 1920. During this period, the city grew and diversified through the arrival of large groups of immigrants. Furthermore, the city boundaries expanded in the late 1890s to include a major section of Long Island specifically Brooklyn and Queens.

Through a three year collaboration between the Center for Spatial Research and the Department of History, Historical New York City uses historical GIS and spatial history to develop new understanding of the magnitude of the changes that took place across this time.

The project team is digitizing maps of Manhattan and Brooklyn and integrating individual-level records from historical US Censuses to build a comprehensive web-based resource for researchers and students interested in New York City’s history. In addition to producing maps and analysis for the city as a whole, the project plans to develop detailed case studies designed to deepen engagement with the digitized historical maps and demographic datasets at the neighborhood level. The resulting maps, tools, and information will be accessible to the public.

In addition to the public-facing, interactive webmap, the project aims to train faculty and students in digital research and teaching methods. Courses on historical New York, immigration, urban history, and spatial history, offered in conjunction with project responsibilities, promote faculty and student involvement in the project’s design, development, and production.

Funding for this project is provided by the Robert D. L. Gardiner Foundation.

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Fall 2018 Information Session

Information Session Thursday, September 6, 2018 5-6pm 654 Schermerhorn Extension

Come help us celebrate the start of our fourth year at the Center for Spatial Research!

Meet core researchers and students. Learn about a new project and collaboration focused on mapping historical New York City. View recent projects and exhibitions. Learn how you can get involved in our courses and projects. Information about internship opportunities for the fall and spring semesters will be available.

Light refreshments will be served.

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Apply for Fall 2018 Student Positions

The Center for Spatial Research is seeking student assistants for the Fall 2018 semester.

Students will be responsible for data analysis, visualization, map design, and will support research on projects dealing with our current research focus: conflict urbanism. Students will work extensively with spatial data including mining and analyzing data, processing and collecting data, and/or visualizing data in compelling and innovative ways. Working in close collaboration with principal investigators, students will produce work for inclusion in papers, multi-media projects, and exhibitions.

Candidates must have experience with GIS and Adobe Creative Suite. In addition, please let us know if you have experience with any of the following tools: Processing, Python, D3, R, APIs, Microsoft Access, SQL, Stata/SPSS, HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

We are seeking candidates who have experience with computational tools but are also eager to acquire additional skills through the course of their work with us. CSR researchers will mentor successful candidates and match them with projects which help them build additional fluencies with computational methods.

Positions are 10-15 hours per week. Hours are negotiated on a per-student basis. All positions are $16/hour. Please note positions are only available for continuing Columbia University students.

Please send a letter of interest, CV, and relevant work examples to info@c4sr.columbia.edu

Applications due September 14, 2018, materials will be reviewed in the order there are received. 

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Urban Floods: Interdisciplinary Perspectives - Conference

Urban Floods: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Thursday, April 12, 2018
6:30-8:30pm, followed by a reception
2911 Broadway
A conversation on climate and catastrophe with Solomon Hsiang, University of California, Berkley and Saskia Sassen, Columbia University

Friday, April 13, 2018
9:00am-5:00pm
2911 Broadway
All day conference.

Full schedule and link to registration is available here.

The Center is pleased to support the Initiative on Extreme Weather & Climate as they present: Urban Floods: Interdisciplinary Perspectives.

This unique conference seeks to bridge the gap between physical scientists – who draw on physical observations, quantitative data analysis, computer simulation, and visualization – and social scientists and humanists who focus on participant observation, case studies, and other interpretive methods.

Our focus for this conference is the relationship between physical development choices and environmental risk, with specific focus on large-scale urban floods.

This one-day conference will address major urban floods, past, present and future. The goal is to understand these events in as holistic a way as possible, considering scientific and humanist questions together, and informed by historical context. We will focus on global linkages between extreme weather events, with a focus on South Asia and the United States. We ask how these disasters reflect the confluence of urban development decisions, natural climate variability, and human-induced climate change. What are the relative roles of urban development decisions, e.g., reclamation, zoning, patterns of land use and urbanization, natural climate variability, and human-induced climate change? How does scientific knowledge and risk get translated and how does the answer depend on where we are in the world and the historical context of local priorities? What do these events of the recent past teach us about the future, when these cities will be increasingly encroached upon by rising seas?

The conference is envisioned as the first in a series on the theme of Science and Global Urbanism organized through the Center for Science and Society, and the Initiative on Extreme Weather and Climate.

Supported by ISERP with co-sponsorship by Center for the Study of Social Difference, the Center for Spatial Research, and the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society.

Full schedule and link to registration is available here.

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The Art of Storytelling - Conference

The Art of Storytelling
Thursday, April 5, 2018, 10:00am-2:30pm
Davis Auditorium, Shapiro Hall

The Center is pleased to co-sponsor The Art of Storytelling, a half-day conference on data visualization convened by the Columbia University Libraries.

“We are almost two decades into the 21st Century and living in a dense forest of information.  Making our way through means filtering and processing vast quantities of tangled and interconnected data, and in order to do this successfully, we must be able to see the information in meaningful ways, to be understood and shared with others. Ultimately, we must do what we've done for millennia -- we must tell stories.”

Full program and registration is available here.

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Apply for Summer 2018 Student Positions

The Center for Spatial Research is seeking student candidates for both full-time and part-time positions during Summer 2018.

Students will be responsible for data analysis, visualization, map design, and research on projects dealing with our current research focus: conflict urbanism. Students will work extensively with spatial data including mining and analyzing data, processing and collecting data, and/or visualizing data in compelling and innovative ways.  Working in close collaboration with principal investigators, students will produce work for inclusion in papers, multi-media projects, and exhibitions.

Candidates must have experience with GIS and Adobe Creative Suite. In addition, a working knowledge of some of the following tools is a plus: Processing, Python, D3, R, APIs, Microsoft Access, SQL, Stata/SPSS, HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

We are seeking candidates who have experience with computational tools but are also eager to acquire additional skills through the course of their internship. CSR researchers will mentor successful candidates and match them with projects which help them build additional fluencies with computational methods.

Full-time positions are 35 hours per week for up to twelve weeks. Part-time work will be negotiated by student/project. All positions are $15/hour. Please note, positions are only available for continuing students at Columbia University. Positions open to both graduate and undergraduate students. 

Please send a letter of interest, CV, and relevant work examples to info@c4sr.columbia.edu with the subject "Application: Summer 2018 Student Positions". 

Applications will be reviewed in the order there are received. 

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Points Unknown: Cartographic Narratives
Points Unknown is a curriculum that will train journalism and architecture students in GIS and mapping techniques.
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Spatial training paired with journalism can serve as a missing “integrator” of data and the real world—providing lessons that travel beyond the boroughs of New York. A wide array of available spatial-visualization tools can extend journalistic practice, helping reporters better find, understand, and tell stories. These same tools can expose the invisible spaces, forces, and environments that architecture, urban design, and planning students must engage, navigate, and learn to represent as part of their spatial toolkit.

Points Unknown will train journalism and architecture students in GIS and mapping techniques, and will prompt them to ask questions such as: What data are made public? What do they say about life in the city? How are neighborhoods rendered in data and what are the consequences of those representations? What undiscovered stories can be found in visualizing geographies of data?

Annotated map of Chelsea Neighborhood from course exercises. 

False color image of flood prone Houston suburbs.

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