CITY106

Community Data Fundamentals

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.

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Online - Craig E. Jones
Samuel Walker
$367.50 49 Register

Course schedule: Classes run from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. PT via online-supported delivery.

What will you learn?

By the end of the course, you will be able to do the following:

  • Discuss the history of data analysis in urban policy and practice
  • Explain how urban data analysis is not politically neutral
  • Understand what research is possible with the Canadian Census
  • Operationalize a general question into a measurable research question
  • Understand the steps in basic research design
  • Access data tables from the Canadian Census, CMHC, Rental Housing Index, etc.

How will you learn?

In this course, you will learn through a combination of optional pre-class readings, online lectures by the instructors, online small group discussion, and the submission of two short, in-class assignments.

Who should take this course?

Anyone with an interest in learning about urban data and how it’s used to make decisions.

Textbooks and learning materials

We will provide custom course materials.

Hardware and software requirements

You will need a computer that is connected to the internet so that you can access Canvas, our online course management system. You can check if your browser is compatible with Canvas by accessing Canvas guides here. We recommend you use Google Chrome or Firefox.

Also, you will need to enable your computer’s audio and microphone to participate in live sessions offered through the Blackboard Collaborate virtual platform (within Canvas). You can check if your computer is compatible with Blackboard Collaborate here.

You can find more information on online-supported learning on our About Online Learning page. 

Professional development credits

AIBC CES participants, PIBC members and BCSLA members may self-report for continuing education learning unit consideration.

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