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Data Visualization for Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities

An introduction to concepts, techniques, and best practices in programming interactive web-based data visualizations for students new to the fields of computation and information design.
Maps and hybrid visualizations that describe different aspects of a city, from the pairing of foods on its menus, to registration of international businesses, to the economics of commuting.
A dashboard for exploring NYC’s 311 calls, a popular public dataset with many possibilities.
Visualizations of colors found on the streets of Cambridge MA using Google Street View.
The home page of, one of the javascript visualization libraries that we will be using to create our visualizations.

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. View the syllabus here.

Course Topics

Applied: Information Design Concepts Data Visualization Workflows Design Principles for Interactivity Basic Programming 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

Fall 2020 Registration Information

Friday 9-11am 

ARCH A4892, call number: 11269 Online 

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. Please attend first session if you are interested in taking the course.