Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 1 hour / session

Recitations: 1 session / week, 1.5 hours / session

Course Description

This course focuses on methods of digital visualization and communication and their application to planning issues. Lectures will introduce a variety of methods for describing or representing a place and its residents, for simulating changes, for presenting visions of the future, and for engaging multiple actors in the process of guiding action. Students will apply these methods through a series of laboratory exercises as well as the construction of a web-based portfolio. The portfolio will serve as a container for these exercises and other work completed throughout the MCP program.

This course introduces students to (1) such persistent and recurring themes as place, race, and power face planners, (2) the role of digital technologies in representing, analyzing, and mobilizing communities, (3) MIT’s computing environment and resources including Server, Element K, the ESRI virtual campus, Computer Resources Network, Web Communications Services, the GIS Laboratory at Rotch Library and (4) software tools like Adobe’s® Photoshop®, ESRI’s ArcGIS™, Microsoft’s® Excel and Access, as well as Macromedia’s® Dreamweaver®.


Lab Exercises: In total, the laboratory exercises account for 50% of your grade. They are, however, weighted unevenly. Please note that labs 2, 4, 5, & 6 are each worth 10 points, while labs 1 and 3 are worth 5 points apiece.

Web-based Portfolio: You will begin thinking about and working on your web-based portfolio at the beginning of the semester and we expect that you will make improvements to it throughout the semester (ask for feedback and help at any time) and throughout your tenure at MIT. The web-based portfolio project will account for 20% of your final grade.

Final Project: The final project is a group project will constitute 30% of your final grade. Each member of the group is expected to contribute to the project, yet we expect group members to handle personal and other conflicts in a professional manner.

Finally, attendance and participation count: We expect to see you in class and expect that you will contribute to the conversation.

Lab Exercises 50%
Web-based Portfolio 20%
Final Project 30%

Lateness Policy

Turning in lab exercises promptly is important for keeping current with the subject matter, which is cumulative. As a result, we have adopted a lateness policy for exercises that are turned in after their due date. A late lab exercise will be accepted up until one week after the original due date for a loss of one grade (e.g., an “A” becomes a “B” or a “check” becomes a “check minus”). After one week, we will not accept the exercise, and you will receive a zero.

How Can We Improve?

Rather than wait until the end of the semester for feedback, we invite students to comment on the course throughout the semester. We will carefully consider suggestions submitted during the semester and implement appropriate changes along the way. If we are unable to make some changes in the current semester, they will be integrated into the next year’s course design.

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

notes Lecture Notes
assignment Activity Assignments