Digital Cities

Fall 2014

ISIS 380S/VMSS 380s

Victoria Szabo

Tu 1:25pm-3:55pm The Wired! Lab

This interdisciplinary course combines theoretical and practical approaches to digital places and spaces as an emerging new media form, with a special focus on digital cities as sites of contemporary and historical representation and influence. It is a “hybrid” course in the sense that it combines a discussion seminar with lab-based exercises. Major assignments combine written and digital media authoring components. No technical experience is assumed, but it will be important to work hands-on inside and outside class.

Digital Cities are defined here as digital representations of urban spaces that serve to inform, engage, and/or influence the user who interacts with them. These might include, for example, web-based mapping and annotation projects in Google Earth or other online mapping systems, interactive information graphics focused on statical data and other information about a city and its inhabitants, and GPS-based systems designed for real-time navigation within an urban environment. Digital city annotations within these contexts might focus on historical data, architectural or urban history, the lives of individuals and communities within city spaces, artistic and scientific communities who operated within its bounds, and representations of change over time, networks of association, and other data products of urban analysis.

Over the course of the semester we will not only examine various historical and creative map-based digital city projects, but also create our own. Using Durham as our “lab” and possibility space for workshop exerdcises, we will work with Global Information System (GIS) data, web-based digital mapping and annotation systems, and augmented reality authoring environments to create digital city projects based on existing materials and our own original research.  Student projects may choose to focus on Durham or on another city of your choice.