Points Unknown: Cartographic Narratives
In this course students will explore new forms of site analysis through pairing geospatial analysis, mapping, and storytelling.

Course Description

Society is increasingly dependent on data and computation, a dependence that often evolves invisibly, without any critical assessment or accountability. In New York City, with its mandate to make data public, students have an opportunity to learn how to question data through journalistic lines of inquiry: What data are made public? What data are kept hidden? Who was involved what data are included and excluded? Who wasn't? 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 the data?

Spatial/Data 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 data- and 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 data/spatial toolkits.

Points Unknown will train journalism and architecture students in data analysis and mapping/GIS techniques. Through pairing the processes of architecture and some of the skills of journalism, this course will explore sites in the New York City/Hudson Valley Region, selected for their unique connection to the city, their effect on certain demographic populations, and their environmental impact.

Students will work under the direction of an editor to explore and report on a select site, spending the semester researching and constructing a geospatial narrative. Students will learn, from start to finish, how to find, clean, analyze, and visualize data. In some instances, this will result in analysis of data that does not include a spatial component. In others, this will result in beautiful and illustrative visualizations. In all instances, students will learn how to investigate their identified site through data. Students will research the site, conduct interviews, gather data, perform exploratory data analysis, and learn various geospatial visualization techniques to produce a comprehensive narrative.

To the architect and designer, the class will provide exposure to journalistic techniques, reshaping their traditional approach to a site survey. To the social scientist, it will provide new modes of expression. To the journalist, the class will provide skills-based training for data analysis and visualization, both for reporting and publication. And to the humanities students, this will be an intensive introduction to data and visualization.

The full syllabus is available here

Spring 2019 Registration Information

Friday 11-1pm
A4063
Call number: 86396
Points: 3

Instructors: Grga Basic, Associate Research Scholar in the Faculty of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Michael Krisch, Deputy Director, Brown Institute for Media Innovation

Points Unknown—designed jointly by faculty at the Graduate School of Journalism and the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation—is funded by Collaboratory, a new university-wide program led by the Data Science Institute and Columbia Entrepreneurship to catalyze interdisciplinary curricular collaboration.

 
Call for Applications: Mellon Associate Research Scholars

The Center for Spatial Research is pleased to announce a call for applications for Associate Research Scholars for the 2018-2019 academic year as part of the Andrew W Mellon Foundation funded initiative in Architecture, Urbanism and the Humanities.

We invite applications from candidates whose intellectual interests are situated within the broad urban humanities, who have strong digital, visual, and multidisciplinary research practices, and are enthusiastic about collaborative working environments. The appointment is one year, with the possibility of a second year depending on funding.

Two Associate Research Scholars will be appointed: one position is open to candidates with training in the design disciplines, and one is open to candidates with training in a field(s) of the humanities. 

Successful candidates must have experience and interest in using qualitative as well as quantitative data to open up new questions in the urban humanities. The incumbents will contribute to projects underway at CSR, work on independent research on a topic(s) proposed by the incumbent, as well as contribute to the design and teaching of the Center’s workshop and seminar courses.

For further information and to apply for the position for candidates from fields in the humanities please visit: academicjobs.columbia.edu/applicants/Central?quickFind=65554

For further information and to apply for the position for candidates from the design fields please visit:  academicjobs.columbia.edu/applicants/Central?quickFind=65546

You will be asked to submit a 1-2 page letter of interest, 2 page proposal for the project(s) you would hope to complete at the Center, CV, and portfolio which demonstrates your work and research focus.

Review of applications will begin immediately.

Columbia University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

 
Conflict Urbanism: InfraPolitics
This seminar focuses on infrastructure as a major force in shaping cities, as well as a medium through which the politics of urbanization is visible. 

Description

This seminar focuses on infrastructure as a major force in shaping cities, as well as a medium through which the politics of urbanization is visible. Our work will address historical comparison and the politics of mapping by focusing on three cities and three continents – Mumbai, Johannesburg and Medellin.

The cities have been chosen because they offer important ways to think about how infrastructure organizes social life, and its ongoing political effects. By exploring different histories of how space is governed, segregated, or utilized as a key economic resource, we want seminar participants to think about the significance of space and spatial regulation in structuring social relations.

Our work will be organized around a set of keywords: informality (Mumbai), apartheid (Johannesburg), and populism (Medellin) -- that are entry points for thinking about the infrastructure of inequality. Each of the case studies uses a critical event as a point of entry for asking how land, capital, government, and the social relations of daily life structure, and are in turn structured by spatial order.

Visualizing and mapping thus form key techniques for linking urban history with contemporary urbanism, and for thinking about the materiality of spatial politics.

Note: This is the third in a series of multidisciplinary Mellon seminars on the topic of Conflict Urbanism, as part of a multi-university initiative in Architecture, Urbanism and the Humanities.    

This year Conflict Urbanism is being offered in the Fall, and not in the Spring semester.


TUTORIAL
TUTORIAL
TUTORIAL
 
Project
Visualizing the Victims of the Colombian Conflict
person role
Author(s): 
Juan Francisco Saldarriaga
Publication date: 
Friday, March 10, 2017
Publication name, page number: 
Yuca
Description (optional): 
This article published by Yuca magazine describes the Conflict Urbanism: Colombia project. In it, Juan Francisco Saldarriaga describes how, having grown up in Colombia, working on this project has changed his understanding of the conflict. The article describes the maps, graphs, color pixels, and thickening lines that have shown the size and magnitude of the worst massacres, revealed the moments and events that caused stakeholders to change positions, and made evident the constant and painful journeys of the displaced and other victims.
Initiative: 
Intro text (homepage): 
This article published by Yuca magazine describes the Conflict Urbanism: Colombia project. In it, Juan Francisco Saldarriaga describes how, having grown up in Colombia, working on this project has changed his understanding of the conflict. The article describes the maps, graphs, color pixels, and thickening lines that have shown the size and magnitude of the worst massacres, revealed the moments and events that caused stakeholders to change positions, and made evident the constant and painful journeys of the displaced and other victims.
Lead image: 
Author Last Names for table: 
Saldarriaga
Publication short title (carousel): 
Visualizing the Victims of the Colombian Conflict
Is Website?: 
no
dashboard_sort_date: 
Friday, March 10, 2017
(currently rendering default node template)
 
Project
Visualizing Conflict: Possibilities for Urban Research
person role
Author(s): 
Juan Francisco Saldarriaga, Laura Kurgan, Dare Brawley
Publication date: 
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Publication name, page number: 
Urban Planning
Description (optional): 
The Center for Spatial Research (CSR) is undertaking a multiyear project investigating what we have termed Conflict Urbanism. The term designates not simply the conflicts that take place in cities, but also conflict as a structuring principle of cities intrinsically, as a way of inhabiting and creating urban space. The increasing urbanization of warfare are examples of the term but conflict is not limited to war and violence. Cities are not only destroyed but also built through conflict. They have long been arenas of friction, difference, and dissidence, and their irreducibly conflictual character manifests itself in everything from neighborhood borders, to differences of opinion and status, to ordinary encounters on the street. This article discusses two projects currently under way at CSR that use mapping and data visualization to explore and analyze Conflict Urbanism in two different contexts: the city of Aleppo, and the nation of Colombia.
Initiative: 
Intro text (homepage): 
This article, published by the open access journal Urban Planning, outlines recent work as part of the multiyear Conflict Urbanism project. This article discusses two projects currently under way that use mapping and data visualization to explore and analyze Conflict Urbanism in two different contexts: the city of Aleppo, and the nation of Colombia. Both projects interrogate the world of ‘big data,’ as a means to open up new areas of research and inquiry, but with a particular focus on data literacy as an essential part of communicating with these new forms of urban information.
Lead image: 
Author Last Names for table: 
Saldarriaga, Kurgan, Brawley
Publication short title (carousel): 
Visualizing Conflict: Possibilities for Urban Research
Is Website?: 
no
dashboard_sort_date: 
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
(currently rendering default node template)
 
Apply for Summer 2017 Student Positions

The Center for Spatial Research is seeking student candidates for both full-time and part-time positions during Summer 2017.

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. 

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

Applications will be reviewed in the order there are received.