FASS 211 - Data literacy and the city

Unpacking the Numbers

The abilities to find, analyze, and communicate data can be three of the most valuable professional and academic skills a student of the city can have. This course is a high-level overview for the development of these skills. However, the one data skill to rule them all is not necessarily software proficiency or statistical technique, it is the ability to find and define a problem. To this extent, data is not valuable until one understands a data set’s strengths, weaknesses, and its social, historic, and methodological context with a strategy to create a persuasive visual and written narrative.

FASS 211 runs May 11 - June 8, 2023. Complete before the workload of your other classes kick in!

Register now. Space is limited.

Summer 2023 course outline →

What you will learn and when it is offered

What you'll learn

  1. Identify a basic software stack for data analysis, visualization, and presentation.
  2. Develop a functional understanding of how to find Census information.
  3. Explain the geographic scale of a Canadian federal data set.
  4. Using the Canadian Census as an example, develop a critical perspective on the strength, weaknesses, and context for data sets with a critical perspective on measures like Indigeneity, gender, and income.

When it is offered

Location: Burnaby Campus


  • May 11
  • May 18
  • May 25
  • June 1
  • June 8


  • 4:30 pm - 7:20 pm

Course instructor

Andy Yan

Andy Yan is the director of The City Program at Simon Fraser University. Born and raised in Vancouver, Andy Yan has extensively worked in the non-profit and private urban planning sectors with projects in the metropolitan regions of Vancouver, San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. Andy is a registered professional planner with the Canadian Institute of Planners and a Certified Geographic Information Systems Professional. He is also an adjunct professor in Urban Studies at SFU as well as an adjunct professor in the School of Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia. He specializes in the fields of housing, urban regeneration, applied demographics, Geographic Information Systems, neighborhood development, public outreach, and quantitative research. Andy holds a Masters in Urban Planning from the University of California – Los Angeles and a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours distinctions in Geography and Political Science from Simon Fraser University.

If you are curious about Andy's academic and professional work, Google:

“Andy Yan SFU"

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