Estonia, Tallinn

Numbers and Cognition in the Urban Environment

when 19 August 2019 - 23 August 2019
language English
duration 1 week
credits 3 EC

This workshop is structured on architecture, numbers and cognition with a primary focus on public space/traffic. Two broader topics pervade the workshop. One of them is more physical, involving translating the world into parameters, and the other is mapping social activities/feelings. The broad goal is to find connections between the two sets of topics. The environment around us consists of a number of physically countable and measurable parameters, which we can use to describe it (width of a carriageway, location of a cafe). Which parameters are best in describing or designing the world?

When, why and where are people moving and how long do they stop – this is an important set of topics, because the quality of space is largely dependent on the presence of people. The participants in the course will be challenged to find relationships between the physical world and human activity. It will be important to find a means and method for measuring and documenting the environment. Cognition referred to in the course name refers to experience that can be used in the future to make decisions to design and re-design space. Ideally, we envision the participants who complete the academy to be capable of imagining and perceiving the implications of 1,000 people or 100 cars passing a point.

The late 20th century brought a rise in computing power, which has resulted in a change in the accuracy and use of many calculations. In the past, it was not conceivable to calculate trajectories from one building to another manually, but now it is possible. Alongside this trend, a completely new field has arisen: various kinds of simulations. Simulations make it possible to model traffic, pedestrians or both at the same time. Gathering data has become more intensive with a focus moving from gathering qualitative data to collecting quantitative data. A large part of the summer school involves field observations, which helps instill intuition in participants as to what a given indicator means. This will also give them a clearer understanding of the computational processes and outcomes and they will be able to rationally assess the outcomes of some simulation or facts presented to them.

We are aiming to connect different aspects in an urban context. Some countable, measurable parameter and feeling or intuition, which should also be measurable. We will map the movements or activities of human masses, using photo and image analysis and Wi-Fi positioning to do so.

We urge you to keep ideas simple and trivial. It allows you to focus and go deeper. Every project should have two key features – a clear focus on what to measure and at least two different aspects that could be connected and compared. For example, traffic density and the safety of crossing the road. One could count cars and feeling to determine if they feel safe to cross the street at the same time. Comparing this kind of information could yield some surprising results. We will try to determine if traffic density could be used for predicting safety or whether it’s related more to the weather. How predictable it is? How different are the actions of different people? Could the same number of cars in a different location feel different? The focus is to look for some interesting connections and conclusions from the observations.

Participants will become well-versed in methods and means for quantitatively and qualitatively documenting the street-level space, which can in turn later be used for analysis of other places. The participant will also receive an overview of and access to software used in the framework of the workshop.

At the end of the summer school, all of the data that was gathered will be made public to allow third parties to use them in their projects – for example, to plan more fluid, safer traffic conditions.

LEARNING OUTCOMES. Participant:

• is well-versed in the methods and means for quantitatively and qualitatively documenting the street-level space, which can in turn later be used for the analysis of other places;
• has an overview of and access to software used in the workshop;
• has an understanding of collecting and processing data;
• has acquired basic knowledge in GIS, the functioning of Wi-Fi, machine learning and computer vision.

ASSESSMENT
The course ends with a public presentation of the results (pass-fail evaluation).

Course leader

Raul Kalvo, who holds an MA in architecture and urban planning from the Estonian Academy of Arts, is an architect and programmer, as well as a teaching staff member at the Estonian Academy of Arts. In the last four years, Raul has been engaged in building

Target group

Students of architecture, geography, urban studies, sociology, IT and similar fields.
Please note that this course is meant for higher education students only.

Course aim

Participants will become well-versed in methods and means for quantitatively and qualitatively documenting the street-level space, which can in turn later be used for analysis of other places. The participant will also receive an overview of and access to software used in the framework of the workshop.

Fee info

EUR 0: Free

“EKA Summer Academy of Art, Design and Architecture – Possible Futures” is supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

Scholarships

*Nordic Baltic Academy of Architecture* is supporting short term mobility (travel and accommodation) in the field of architecture. Scholarships are available for our courses "Numbers and Cognition..." and "Planetary Countryside". Please see more informati