Introduction to Thinking Spatially about Urban Form and Land Use

Introduction to Thinking Spatially about Urban Form and Land Use

Learning Objective: 

Students will learn to think spatially about land use in a city and how commercial activities are hierarchically arranged in a region. They will be introduced to the basic quadrant technique of spatial analysis and discover on their own the phenomenon of the modifiable areal unit problem (MAUP).

Assessment: 

The products of each teams work will demonstrate their familiarity with the course material.

Logistics: 

 

Students are introduced to the scalogram as a tool for analyzing the urban form of a region and the hierarchy of places and activities of the region. Two separate teams (quarter and mile) are provided different data detailing the number of business establishments that provide a category of commercial service within grid cells throughout a region. Students are asked to construct their own scalogram of the region to identify the economic activity that is represented most often among the grid cells and to identify the grid cell with the largest number of economic activities. The cell with the largest number of activities, the one with the greatest economic diversity, is said to reside at the top of the urban hierarchy and signify the center of the region. Once students have identified the cell with the largest number of activities, they are directed to a map where they can identify the location of the center of the region. The two teams are then asked to share and compare results with one another. Although derived from exactly the same data, they end up with slightly different results. The assessment tool is a reflection paper that discusses why the student thinks the two teams came up with different centers.