Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh Futures Institute : Edinburgh Futures Institute

Postgraduate Course: Data and Design for a Post-Covid City (fusion online) (EFIE11047)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh Futures Institute CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course focuses on developing practical experience in evidence-based participatory design to address urban life after COVID. COVID has brought large scale changes to our expectations of working and community life, pivoted many activities to online-first, and reintroduced people to their local area - alongside the challenges of climate change, and economics shifts that threaten to increase social inequality.

The responsibility for seizing the opportunities of this moment to address some perennial 'wicked problems' fall not only on government and corporations, but also on civil society at a local level. How can we use data-driven methods to make sense of local issues and to use this understanding to design better interventions that support constructive change? As a marketplace for ideas about how to generate positive social change, civil society is ever dynamic, and students will gain an understanding of how it emerges and evolves at a local level.

This course will teach you some critical concepts and new skills that allow you to engage in existing projects that contribute to building and deepening relationships with community organisations and activists.
Course description This course will provide an academic understanding of and experience in:

- Complexity and systems thinking;
- Inequality, racism and social innovation;
- Reflective team-based skills;
- The importance of building enduring relationships within the community to respond to complex local problems;
- Critical studies of data in urbanism.

Working in multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural teams, students will explore a wicked problem highlighted by the COVID crisis. Through investigation of data sets and interaction with local activists, students will prototype and get feedback on an intervention to address relationships, policy, knowledge, awareness, business or physical infrastructure renewal, and use role-play to explore the tensions and barriers to implementation. They will document this process and make intermediate and final presentations to other groups, staff and invited partners during the two-day intensive stage.

The students will draw on the extensive partnerships developed with local organizations by EFI and the University. For example, students could map safe and dangerous spaces for women within a community and develop interventions, or they could address post-COVID reuse of retail spaces for community and local employment.

Groups of 3-5 students will be assigned according to interests, skills, background discipline and location. Students will work through two cycles of an interactive research-design-test-negotiate cycle. These follow the established model of the Data Design and the City courses through three stages:

1) Document- and data-based work before commencing the intensive sessions.
2) Two-day intensive sessions of visiting, engagement and design in events set up by EFI, the Living Lab and the course team and presenting team work to the wider group and key stakeholders.
3) A third stage of role-playing negotiation and reflection on proposed intervention.

Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) - Online Fusion Course Delivery Information:

The Edinburgh Futures Institute will teach this course in a way that enables online and on-campus students to study together. This approach (our 'fusion' teaching model) offers students flexible and inclusive ways to study, and the ability to choose whether to be on-campus or online at the level of the individual course. It also opens up ways for diverse groups of students to study together regardless of geographical location. To enable this, the course will use technologies to record and live-stream student and staff participation during their teaching and learning activities. Students should note that their interactions may be recorded and live-streamed. There will, however, be options to control whether or not your video and audio are enabled.

As part of your course, you will need access to a personal computing device. Unless otherwise stated activities will be web browser based and as a minimum we recommend a device with a physical keyboard and screen that can access the internet.

As part of your course, you will need access to a personal computing device. Unless otherwise stated activities will be web browser based and as a minimum we recommend a device with a physical keyboard and screen that can access the internet.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesIt is desirable that students have some knowledge of research methods (data collection and analysis).
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate and/or work with a critical knowledge of some of the concepts and theories related to complex systems and social inequality.
  2. Draw knowledge and techniques gained from the course and apply them to a creative project in a complex and unpredictable context.
  3. Develop creative and innovative responses to social problems and issues in the city through an understanding of complexity theory and polycentric approaches to governance, that necessarily involve collaboration between government, business and civil society stakeholders.
  4. Synthesise and evaluate heterogeneous data and academic knowledge and make this accessible to relevant stakeholder audiences.
  5. Take on significant responsibilities and work autonomously on projects with external stakeholders and team members from different cultural, geographical and disciplinary backgrounds.
Reading List
Indicative Reading List:

Beckwith R., Sherry J., Prendergast D. (2019) Data Flow in the Smart City: Open Data Versus the Commons. In: de Lange M., de Waal M. (eds) The Hackable City. Springer, Singapore.

Davies R. Extreme Economies: Survival, Failure, Futur-Lessons from the World's Limits: Random House; 2019.

Dodge, M. and Kitchin, R. (2013) 'Crowdsourced cartography: mapping experience and knowledge', Environment and Planning A, 45(1), pp. 19;36. doi: 10.1068/a44484.

Freeman ER, Reed DL. Stockholders and Stakeholders: A New Perspective on Corporate Governance. California Management Review. 1983;25(3):88-106.

Jessop, B., Moulaert, F., Hulgârd, L., & Hamdouch, A. (2013). Social innovation research: a new stage in innovation analysis. In F. Moulaert, D. MacCallum, A. Mehmood, & A. Hambouch (Eds.), The International Handbook on Social Innovation. Collective Action, Social Learning and Transdisciplinary Research (pp. 110-130). (3)

Ostrom E. Beyond markets and states: polycentric governance of complex economic systems. The American economic review. 2010:641-72.

Perez CC. Invisible women: Exposing data bias in a world designed for men: Random House; 2019.

Putnam, R. D. (1995). Bowling alone: America's declining social capital. Journal of Democracy, 6(1), 65-78.

Sawyer K. ZigZag the Surprising Path the Greater Creativity: Jossey-Bass; 2020.

Taleb NN. Antifragile: Things that gain from disorder: Random House; 2012.

Tilly C. Durable inequality: University of California Press; 1999.

Zook, M. (2017) 'Crowd-sourcing the smart city: Using big geosocial media metrics in urban governance', Big Data & Society, 4(1), p. 205395171769438. doi: 10.1177/2053951717694384.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills By the end of the course students should have strengthened their skills in:

- Planning and implementing, evaluating and documenting a prototype 'intervention' in an urban context, relative to the interests and needs of a specified community of stakeholders through an iterative process.

- Addressing the practical challenges creating useable evidence from heterogenous and partial data sources.

- Analysing complex and varied sources of evidence and using this to develop and support a nuanced and complex line of argument.

- Communicating different types of information, using relevant analytic and presentation techniques, both visually and orally, in a compelling and engaging manner appropriate for the audience.

- Understanding how their own knowledge contributes to collaborative work in a multi-disciplinary team, and the value of the contribution and perspective of fellow team members.

- Interacting in a professional manner with stakeholders and the public, including community organisations and activists.
KeywordsPost-COVID,Complexity,Systems Thinking,Urban Renewal,Social Entrepreneurship,Social Innovation
Course organiserDr Winston Kwon
Tel: (0131 6)51 5980
Course secretary
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information