Introduction to Technology and Cities >> Content Detail

Lecture Notes

Lecture Notes

Lecture note topics from the second half of the class are presented here.

Part II: ICT and Planning

By moving beyond text-oriented databases and tools, modern ICTs provide new ways to measure and model urban spatial structure and interactions and powerful tools for visualizing places and spaces that don't yet exist. ICTs also facilitate communication and coordination among groups that are spatially and culturally diverse. But ICTs also complicate planning by impacting what is measured, changing the economics of place, risking overreliance on imperfect performance indicators, and requiring increasingly sophisticated infrastructure and professionals. These three weeks examine the impacts of ICTs on professional planning practice and skills.

Week 5 and 6

PSS Text - Introduction and Chapter 1

  • 50-year evolution of computing in planning
    • 60s: (data) system optimization - planning as applied science
    • 70s: (information, MIS) politics - planning as politics
    • 80s: (knowledge, DSS) discourse - planning as communication
    • 90s: (intelligence, PSS) collective design - planning as reasoning together
  • Role of GIS, data management/analysis, modeling, visualization, communication in PSS
  • Evolution of urban planning models
    • Cities as complex systems
    • 50s and 60s: Land use and transportation interactions (Chicago transportation model, Lowry model)
    • Spatial economics and spatial interactions
  • Categorize each urban model along the following lines:
    • Type of model
      • key elements (people/space/activities)
      • underlying theory/assumptions
      • types of interaction
      • nature of microsimulation (unit of analysis for people/space/activities)
    • Purpose
      • model transition (quasi-static) or equilibrium
      • envision scenarios, identify counterintuitive behavior
      • predict rent gradient, compare land use plans, locate road
    • Audience
    • Data requirements
    • Key assumptions/behavior
    • Planning use
    • Limitations
  • Role of Planner in today's sketch planning, urban modeling, visualization

Qing Shen's paper: A Spatial Analysis of Job Openings

  • Spatial Mismatch issues
  • Job Accessibility measures
  • GIS-based analysis

Mizuki Kawabata's dissertation: Access to Jobs: Transportation Barriers

  • Complexity of sorting out the role of the automobile
  • Data infrastructure, data analysis, and GIS requirements
  • Econometric analyses

Week 7

PSS Text, Chapter 13: "Visualizing the City"

  • Good review of state of art circa 2000
  • What's the purpose of these city models - compared with urban models discussed last time?
  • What are the tradeoffs when focusing on 2D (with GIS tools) and 3D (with CAD tools)?
  • How do the various cases differ in their approach, emphasis, technology?
  • Take a look at Seth Teller's MIT City Scanning Project
  • Here's another local effort using VRML and the Web: MapJunction
  • The 'luminous table' effort in CDD and Goulding's sketch planning thesis last Spring are other recent examples exploring user interfaces to facilitate group interaction and computer-assistance in urban design?

Raj Singh's MCP thesis and 'Sketch Planning with GIS' paper

  • How does Kevin Lynch characterize neighborhood use patterns in "Image of the City"?
  • How does Raj try to locate 'neighborhood nodes of social interaction' using city data and computation?
  • What other urban spatial structure is computable; How easily is it derived from 'core' (administrative) datasets?

Srinivasan's paper on the transportation impacts of neighborhood-level land use

  • What data are used for this study; how is 'place' recorded?
  • What's this confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and how/why are traffic analysis zones (TAZ) classified into downtown, middle suburbs, and outer suburbs?
  • What links between land use and travel behavior are contemplated?
  • What model is estimated? Why is a two-stage model used (first choose residential location, then mode)?
  • Do neighborhood level land use factors matter?

Week 8

Laurini's 'Public Participation' Chapter

  • What types of public participation processes are contemplated? What are their purposes?
  • How have they changed as a result of technology?
  • What are the technologies used to support public participation processes and how are they encapsulated, integrated with other data and tools?

Shiffer's two papers

  • What kind of collaborative planning process does Shiffer envision?
  • What is 'multimedia' and how has its planning use evolved over the past dozen years? What has been the impact of the Web?
  • What's the difference between a planner who uses multimedia tools as a professional and the institutionalization of multimedia technology as part of a planning process?

Ferrz de Abreu's Dissertation

  • What's new and interesting about the technologies Pedro used in his public review case study?
  • What impact did the case study have on the planning process before the public review period began? Why?
  • Are there ways of institutionalizing the use of Pedro's technologies in ways that are 'empowering' and less likely to be coopted by the more powerful special interests?

Part IV: ICT and Governance

Is e-government more than office automation? Who is (or should be) paying for the spatial data infrastructure that is enabling new forms of planning? Can ICTs facilitate community and citizen empowerment, improve public participation, and illuminate and enhance development and environmental review processes? Who can/should manage the privacy/security impacts? The last segment of the seminar focuses the ICT impacts on the citizen involvement and governance of our metropolitan areas.

Week 12

Zuboff's "Informate the Enterprise" paper:

  • First comes automation of the same workflow process.
  • Then comes restructuring of work to capitalize on what the digital infrastructure makes possible.

NSF Digital Government Program

  • What is the 'digital government' vision?
  • How far can/should one go with Web sites?
  • Where does GIS fit in?
  • What are the research questions? What should NSF fund?
  • Any evidence of restructuring and 'informating'?

Fountain's "Building the Virtual State" book

  • How is Digital Government framed as an institutional question?
  • How is it different from e-commerce and enterprise computing?
  • What restructuring is envisioned? What research is needed?
  • What is needed to complement her focus on institutional analysis?

Ferreira's "Information Technologies that Change Relationships" paper

  • Why is the 'spelling problem' to difficult to solve institutionally?
  • Why is there little empowerment if the 'spelling problem' remains?
  • The technology may or may not be empowering - depending upon the technology choices and institutional/organizational changes.
  • Is the 'middle out' approach too sophisticated for typical NGOs?

Week 13

NAS monograph "Toward a Coordinated Spatial Data Infrastructure"

  • What's special about the spatial data infrastructure?
  • What should the government do?

FGDC and Executive Order 12906

  • How much should the government invest?
  • How did having USGS chair the FGDC affect the NSDI agenda?
  • Is the NSDI a 'public good'?

NAS book, "People and Pixels"

  • How are new technologies (e.g. remote sensing) changing the economics of data collection?
  • Who can/should invest in the research and technology needed for social science applications of remote sensing?
  • What changes in land use planning are enabled by the new tools and data?

Cahan's powerpoints on "Strategic Investing in Community GIS"

  • Who is paying for local government GIS?
  • If the technology is so good and useful, why is there a problem paying for it?
  • Is it a question of finding the money, getting value for the money, sharing costs?
  • What solutions is Cahan proposing?
  • Is financing information infrastructure the same as financing other infrastructure?
  • What are I-teams?
  • Remember to come to Bob Barr's talk: "E-Government and GIS: The British Experience" (PDF - 3.1 MB)

Week 14

Barr: E-Government and GIS (talk)

  • Level of aggregation at which data should be viewed
  • MAUP (modifiable aerial unit problem)
  • Role of government in providing/standardizing/publicizing high resolution basemaps
  • GIS data as a public good - ordinance survey pricing policy
  • National building IDs
  • Who is in charge; what strategy: top-down, bottom-up, or middle-out

Pickles and Goodchild: Ground Truth

  • Whose GIS is it?
  • Physical/quantifiable biases
  • Human geography (critical studies) and quantitative geography (GIS) tensions
  • Is a single/shared basemap a goal, gov't responsibility, impractical top-down pipedream?
  • Is GIS imperialist geography? disciplinary practice? socially embedded technology?
  • Distinguishing between the geography's debate about GIS as a discipline and Barr's focus on spatial data infrastructure needed to support government programs for helping the poor.

Ferraz de Abreu: Ph.D. thesis

  • ICT and democracy interactions and trends
  • The complexity (in his thesis) of ICT impacts on public review process

Agre: Technology and Privacy

  • Gelernter's "Mirror World" book
  • ICT and surveillance
  • Privacy issues, concerns, strategies
  • GIS and privacy/surveillance


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