Computation Lectures

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The Fall 2018 Series:
Pasts, Presents, and Futures of Geo-Spatial Computing 

The Fall 2018 series is organized by Carlos Sandoval Olascoaga, PhD student, with Professor Terry Knight. 

Historically, design and graphic representation have been central in the creation of spatial models of the world, such as maps, master plans, and large scale urban models. Despite their designerly origins, contemporary spatial information technologies and their models are conceived primarily as tools for decision-support and spatial quantification. The introduction of digital computing in the 1950s modified the way in which spatial models were built but, in a deeper manner, digital computing reinvented how spatial planners and designers came to conceive spatial models as tools to drive design and urban policy-making through information. As spatial models embraced scientific fields and computational infrastructures, and were applied to urban problems, spatial models were also transformed in unexpected ways – oftentimes motivating new computational mediums for communication, deliberation, and discovery. More recently, the expansion of spatial modeling to include big data, machine-learning, and real-time systems for data collection has increasingly made us aware of the deep social, cultural, and political implications of computational models. This lecture series explores the cultural, technological, and social artifacts that have been embedded historically in mediums for spatial computing, and inquires into the constraints and implications of spatial models in the design and planning fields.

Oct 5, 2018 - 5:00pm
Room 7-429/Long Lounge
Oct 26, 2018 - 5:00pm
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

Between 1966 and 1971, in Chicago and Cambridge, architect Howard Fisher laid the foundation of today’s ubiquitous computer-mapping technologies. Elucidating these origins, de Monchaux shows how the increasing use of geospatial data at architectural scales represents not a new form of practice but rather a return to fleeting, if essential, origins.

Dec 7, 2018 - 5:00pm
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

A century ago, American children regularly played at city building in schools and youth serving institutions. Much of this activity took the form of “junior republics” – miniature cities, states, and nations run by kids. With supervising adults in the background, the young officials made laws, took civil service exams, paid taxes, ran restaurants, printed newspapers, and role played other civic activities. This talk, which draws on my forthcoming book States of Childhood, explores the historical and contemporary significance of these participatory simulations.