GEOG 641 GIS for Urban Planning

This course applies GIS technology and principles in addressing contextual concerns for urban planning.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.

Course Guide

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*The information contained in our Course Guides is provided as a sample. Specific course curriculum and requirements for each course are provided by individual instructors each semester. Students should not use Course Guides to find and complete assignments, class prerequisites, or order books.

This course will build on previous coursework in GEOG 502. Here, students will apply what they know about GIS in the context of urban planning. 

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After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (6)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to submit a thread in response to the provided prompt listed in the discussion. The thread is due by Thursday of the assigned module. Each thread must be at least 250 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge whereby the student includes references and citations of course material. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 150 words and should engage in the thesis of the peer’s original thread, and should be submitted by Sunday of the assigned module. The student’s replies should challenge peers’ theses by including ideas from course material or additional readings on related topics. Before replying to a student with multiple replies, make sure all students have at least one dialogue partner for their original thread.

Google Earth Historical Imagery Assignment

The purpose of this assignment is to introduce the student to an important geospatial planning tool: Google Earth Pro. This software is a free to use resource that can be used to quickly measure distances, view historical imagery, promote community participation, and create quick spatial reference guides. This assignment will introduce the student to the functionality of Google Earth for urban planning purposes. The student will create a map including 2 polygons, 2 lines, and at least 1 point, a title, and a legend. The submission will include a screenshot of the map and answers to three questions in short-answer form.

Planning Trends in the US Assignment

The student will explore and epoch of urban planning history within the United States.  Through the lectures, readings, and personal research, the student will describe the planning trends during that time period as well as explore the function of the church as a community pillar and resource.

Data.Census.Gov Capacity Building Assignment

The purpose of this assignment is to introduce students to a critical data resource and planning tool for any GIS practitioner involved in the planning field. Data.Census.Gov is the data portal to US Census and American Community Survey data. The student will learn how to request data at regional, state, county, and local levels to support planning efforts. The submission will include four demographic tables and answers to two questions in short-answer form.

Land Suitability Analysis Assignment

The purpose of this assignment is to empower students to complete a land suitability analysis with provided geospatial data. The student will assess which data is needed to address the land suitability analysis problem, devise the land suitability analysis methodology, and summarize results.

Census Data Analysis Assignment

Census data is an extremely powerful tool for decision support in Urban Planning decisions. The purpose of this assignment is to introduce the student to connecting census data to spatial data known as TIGER data files. The student will submit a chloropleth map including all essential elements of map design.

Scholarship Review Assignment

Critical reviews are a specific form of writing and an essential tool in the academic field and useful for practitioners. The student will not be summarizing an article like a book report but providing a review that evaluates the content and context of an article of the work with careful analysis in a short critical essay of 500-750 words.

Superfund Analysis Assignment

The purpose of this assignment is to introduce the students to methods for providing decision support materials to urban planning efforts. In this assignment this is done using a superfund risk and mitigation assessment. The student will map a superfund site, discuss the risk of the contamination, map the risk area, and provide recommendations for mitigating risk to residents around the site.

Final Project Assignment

The final project for this course will culminate in both a Final Project: Research Paper Assignment and a Discussion: Final Project: Presentation Assignment. To get here, the project is scaffolded along the way whereby the student will submit portions of the work throughout the course to ensure a quality final product.
This assignment aims at three outcomes: 1) the student will demonstrate knowledge of the history of Urban planning and how GIS can be used to address planning problems, 2) the student will develop GIS methodology and collect geospatial data to address a real world planning problem, and 3) the student will evaluate the efficacy of geospatial analysis strategies for the promotion of overall quality of life.
Milestones for this project include:
Final Project: Planning Problem and Study Area Assignment
For this stage of the project, the student will fill out a matrix in which he/she will identify a potential study area that the student can conduct a final project. Within this matrix, the student will briefly describe population data, environmental data, and a brief history of the region.
Final Project: Geographic Data Assignment
For this stage of the project, the student will fill out a template to identify the planning problem that he/she will address, the coordinate system that he/she will be using, and the geographic data needed to complete the project.
Final Project: Annotated Bibliography GIS Methods Assignment
For this stage of the project, the student will need to identify a research focus related to a GIS and Urban Planning best practices and methods, and complete an annotated bibliography of a minimum of 15 sources.
Final Project: Workflow Assignment
For this stage of the project, the student will identify the data and processing steps to address the GIS and Urban Planning research question. This will be completed in the form of a flowchart.
Discussion: Final Project: Presentation Assignment
For this stage of the project, the student will summarize the main findings of his or her research paper and present it in 5-10 minute, 8-12 slide presentation. For the replies, the student will review the presentations of at least 2 of his or her peers and point out what he or she thinks are both the strengths and weaknesses of their projects.
Final Project: Literature Review Assignment
For this stage of the project, the student will submit the final draft of his or her literature review.
Final Project: Research Paper Assignment
For the final stage of the project, the student will submit the final draft of his or her research paper. It should be a complete, polished artifact containing all the critical elements of the final product. This paper should reflect the incorporation of feedback gained throughout the course from the instructor.

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