Policy and practice in urban disciplines (housing, planning, real estate, transportation, demographics, etc.) are heavily informed by data. Experts in these fields use data to make claims about how cities are or how they should be. Factoids like “the Downtown Eastside is the poorest postal code in Canada” or “the world is now over 50% urbanized” have become a part of how people think about neighborhoods and cities. However, the ability to access and analyze urban data is often restricted to experts who may introduce bias into data collections and interpretation. This course attempts to democratize access to urban data by sharing some basic methods for accessing and analyzing urban data.
The main dataset you will explore in this course is the Canadian Census, as that is one of the few comprehensive national datasets everyone can access easily. You will also explore a few other housing-related datasets, and some basic tools like Beyond2020, CensusMapper, Esri ArcGIS, and Microsoft Excel/Google Sheets. The course is not designed to train you in using these tools, but rather to show you some of their functions. By the end of this course, you will know about a variety of techniques for accessing and analyzing urban data.
This course will benefit anyone interested in how data is used in urban policy and practice, but it is particularly relevant for professionals in the fields of housing, planning, real estate, transportation, and other urban disciplines who are interested in a very broad introduction to urban data.