UR: The Data-Driven City

UR: The Data-Driven City: Local Codes, Logistics Landscapes, and Civic TechWhether Facebook's impact on our social interactions or the considerable impact of Big Data on everything from retail tohealthcare, the transformative potential of technology is undeniable. With an ever-increasing availability of open source data, the design of cities is being similarly revolutionized. While 20th-century urban planning was dominated by top-down and often exclusionary zoning ordinances, the democratization ofdata has enabled citizen-driven urbanism to an extent previously unseen. Today, technologies such as Google Earth and Open Street Maps enable average citizens to understand their communitiesspatially, while offline movements toward urban farming, popup retail, and ephemeral urbanism promote rapid, participatory planning for all. But how can this practice of site-by-site urban interventionbecome more strategic, systemic, and citywide? And how can technology and data be harnessed not only to better understand existing phenomena, but to spur positive change that promotes beauty, efficiency, equality, and better quality of life? This seminar will consider these questions in theory as well as in practice, through the consideration of critical essays, new methodologies, and the study of precedents such as Code for America, 596 Acres, Local Code, AirBnB, and others. The course will be divided into three parts, each of which considers a different aspect of data-driven urbanism: Local Codes, whichwill examine the ways that scripting, and parametrics are helping to rethink traditional zoning methods; Logistics Landscapes, which will investigate data-rich, real-timeweb-based mapping and data visualization techniques that position cartography as a tool of social engagement andsustainable design, and Civic Tech, which will delve into innovative methods of social engagement that make use of social media APIs, apps, GPS, and cellphones to democratize city planning and promote inclusionary design.