University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

The 2017 NCGIA Distinguished Speaker Series

Dr. Paul Torrens
Department of CSE and the Center for Urban Science and Progress, New York University.
Title: Geosimulation for small geographies

Abstract: New forms of machine-derived geographic information continue to draw the attention of geographers to unusual vistas on long-standing problems, and with those shifted vantages, new questions have presented for our models to address, at unusual scales and for novel geographies. In response, aspects of our discipline have “gone big”, seeking-out representative data and understanding over entire geographies and entire populations, with the goal of building comprehensive and holistic understanding of often complex systems. Meanwhile, a subset of inquiry is “going deep”, focusing on the minutia of geographic processes and phenomena in an effort to explore geographies in fine detail for fleeting moments of space and time. In this talk, I will discuss our work to apply geosimulation to “small geographies” in urban settings, with the goal of building new, explorative understanding of processes and phenomena that form from “atomic” units and relationships of (and within) human and built phenomena. In introducing this work, I will focus on three examples: modeling pedestrian mobility along streetscapes, simulating mass response to building collapse, and building gesture control for autonomous vehicles. In each case, challenges of understanding, representing, and modeling small geographies of urban settings come to the fore. Tackling challenges that manifest in these varied problem-sets has led us to the development of a new pipeline for geosimulation that we think holds significant promise for geographical inquiry at new scales of observation and understanding, and which offers new benefits for the development of geocomputation atop newly-forming data-sets, particularly those generated for and by spatially-aware machines.

October 27 (Friday) 3:15pm, 170 Fillmore

Dr. Sarah Elwood
Department of Geography, University of Washington.
Title: OutsideIn: Visualizing Poverty Politics & Homelessness   

Abstract: Normative ‘common sense’ around poverty – who is understood as poor, why, and what should be done about it – is powerfully (re)produced through dominant visual regimes. Hegemonic ways of looking and seeing are conditioned through broadly circulating visual grammars individualize poverty, stigmatize and blame impoverished people, and bind ‘poverty’ to particular (racialized, gendered, dis/abled) bodies and spaces. Beginning from relational theorizations of poverty as a site of struggle, this paper asks what other politics are possible? We explore the sites, possibilities and limits for making counter-normative poverty politics through visual practices, focusing specifically on art, performance, and other creative forms not typically seen as influential in challenging poverty. In Seattle, Washington, progressive and punitive responses to a ‘homelessness state of emergency’ declared in 2015 have sparked a wave of creative visual politics enacted through social practice art, protest performance and portraiture. Drawing on illustrative examples, we analyze artists/activists’ intentions for their disruptive visual work, the symbolic content and aesthetic forms of the work, and the spaces and relations set up through making and engaging these projects. We use relational poverty theory to trace the ways these visual poverty politics rescript spaces, reframe privilege, re-write visions of homeless bodies, and disrupt usual relations of looking and seeing across lines of poverty and privilege. We read for the possibilities and limits of disruptive poverty politics within creative visual practices.

September 22 (Friday) 3:15pm, 170 Fillmore

Dr. Krishna Rajan
Department of Materials Design and Innovation, University at Buffalo.
Title: Data, Maps and Projections: nexus of geography and materials science
April 21 (Friday) 3:15pm, 170 Fillmore

Dr. Michael Gould
Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI).
Title: GI Science/Systems: views from industry and academia
March 31 (Friday) 3:15pm, 170 Fillmore

All speakers are co-sponsored by the NCGIA and the Department of Geography, UB.
Titles, abstract, and other details are coming. Look forward to seeing you at these Friday events!