11.188 : Urban Planning and Social Science Laboratory

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Course Description (Spring 2016)

This class uses lab exercises and a workshop setting to help students develop a solid understanding of the planning and public management uses of geographic information systems (GIS). The goals are to help students:

  • Acquire technical skills in the use of GIS software.
  • Acquire qualitative methods skills in data and document gathering, analyzing information, and presenting results.
  • Investigate the potential and practicality of GIS technologies in a typical planning setting and evaluate possible applications.
The workshop teaches GIS techniques and basic database management at a level that extends somewhat beyond the thematic mapping and data manipulation skills included in the Fall half-semester MCP core GIS and spatial analysis class, 11.205. Both 11.205 and 11.188 cover basic thematic mapping and the buffering and overlay operations (using vector and raster data) that are involved in basic 'site suitability' assessments. The 11.188 lab adds a bit more database management (using MS-Access), an introduction to model building tools (Model Builder), and a small, individual project. We try to teach GIS methods and techniques with some attention to open-ended planning questions that invite spatial analysis but will:
  • Require judgment and exploration to select relevant data and mapping techniques,
  • Involve mixing and matching new, local data with extracts from official records (such as census data, parcel data and regional employment and population forecasts),
  • Utilize spatial analysis techniques such as buffering, address matching, overlays
  • Use other modeling and visualization techniques beyond thematic mapping, and
  • Raise questions about the skills, strategy, and organizational support needed to sustain such analytic capability within a variety of local and regional planning settings.

Class Meetings

  • Lecture: Wednesday, 2:30-4:00 PM in Room 9-251
  • Lab Preparation & Lab: Monday, 2:30-5:00 in Room W31-301
    [Hearing the Lab prep presentation at 2:30 and starting the exercise are the key lab parts. Students can leave for other classes beginning at 3:30 or 4 and finish the exercises later on their own.
  • Additional optional lab times: Friday, 2-3:30 in 9-251 (other lab times will be arranged if needed)

Last modified on 3 Feb. 2016 by [jf]

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