Circular City + Living Systems Lab

June 4, 2014

Datascapes: Revealing the Potential of Data to Design Neighborhoods For the Future

Kristopher Chan, MArch 2014


Data is everywhere. We are surrounded by a wealth of information collected and stored from every aspect of our daily lives. Information from credit card purchases, cellphone calls, Internet browsing, and many other activities is being collected and stored indefinitely. Much of this data is collected and aggregate totals are made available through a variety of web sites and other sources. Our vast array of data about cities includes; transportation patterns, land values, zoning, weather statistics, demographics, and population projections. All are tracked and collated. Activities with the contemporary built environment produces new data every day. The information age is evident throughout society; cellphones are in every pocket, computers in every backpack, and server rooms in every office building. Data has the potential for mass implementation in many fields. A race is on to discover and capture the “intrinsic, hidden, not yet unearthed value” of every dataset. Until recently, it has been a struggle to fully grasp a complete picture of the sheer amount of data being generated. The digital age has made gathering and processing data easier, but in order to truly unleash the potential of data, one must be willing to make correlations, propose relationships, and draw conclusions. Designers have not yet realized the immense possibilities of data. By harnessing large amounts of data we will have new ways of understanding and designing.

Thesis Committee

Gundula Proksch, Chair
Jeffrey Karl Ochsner
Rick Mohler