What Computer Scientists Can Teach Planners About Design

Architect Dave Hampton reviews the 2nd annual Urban Sciences Research Coordination Network workshop held June 11 in Chicago.

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June 27, 2014, 5:00 AM PDT

By melaniecj


A stream of mobile apps

Phil Aaronson / Stream of Apps

Architect Dave Hampton wondered what his work had in common with that of computer and social scientists.

However, after accepting an invitation (upon being assured he wouldn’t be viewed as “interloper”) from a computer scientist he knew to attend the 2nd annual Urban Sciences Research Coordination Network workshop held on June 11 in Chicago, Hampton shares that he found that “big data” is relevant across several disciplines.

“After having Charlie allay my fears and settling in, aside from the occasional inevitable bits of specialized-disciplinary jargon, my stereotypes of what a computer and social science conference would be were quickly neutralized,” Hampton wrote. “Presentations were clear, compelling, and made the case that ‘big data’ was more than buzz – it was immensely useful across a variety of disciplines, and with wide-reaching, transformational implications in our lives.”

Computers can be used to calculate the impacts of design over decades, Hampton said he learned.

He recounts what the various speakers at the workshop discussed and he shares his three takeaways from the workshop.

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