Cartography of Urban Studies

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Cartography of Urban Studies is a tool to help the Department of Architecture at Universidad de los Andes to create a new master program in the field of urbanism.

We conducted research to create a map that define thematic areas addressed by national and international master’s programs, and developed decks of cards that rate how relevant and meaningful these approaches are from the perspectives of future students and experts in the field.

I worked as a research assistant for the professors Juan Manuel González and Santiago de Francisco. Our role, with another research assistant, was to analyze existing master’s programs, conduct user research, and support the professors in the development of the map and decks.

Directors / 

Juan Manuel González

Santiago de Francisco

 

Research Assistants / 

Valentina Sierra 

Camilo Rodríguez

Client / 

Universidad de los Andes

Date / 

Sep. - Nov. 2018

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Map

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The map consists of a series of concepts. Each concept stands for an abstract description that encompasses comparable topics addressed by the master’s programs under study.

The position of the concepts in the map was determined by whether they belonged to a traditional paradigm of urbanism or a contemporary one (horizontal axis), and if they seek to conserve aspects of the city or transform them (vertical axis).

Additionally, the concepts were divided into three categories:

Principles

Practices

Resources

Conceptual grounds

Ways of approaching the contexts

Techniques of intervention

Decks of Cards

For each concept, there was a set of cards with the definition of the concept, a quote from future possible students that helps to illustrate it, and it’s level of importance according to the results of the research process.

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Process

Life Stories

We conducted interviews with young architects and young professionals from disciplines related to the development of cities to understand their perspectives about urbanism.

To analyze the stories collected from the interviews, we used a version of the methodology Narrative Conversations. This allowed us to understand intrinsic factors such as lessons, motives and wishes, and extrinsic factors like environments, surroundings, and people that had an effect in participants’ life stories and, especially, in their relationships with urbanism. From this analysis, we assigned five concepts from the maps to each participant that were critical in her or his personal and professional trajectories.

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Workshop

We carried a group workshop with the interviewees. They participated in an activity to explore all the concepts that were previously defined and ranked the ones they considered more relevant and meaningful for the their current job, the future of urbanism and the welfare of Colombia.

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