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Spatial Analysis Lab Receives Grant

aerial image of Smith College campus

The project leverages the campus as classroom and emerging technologies (such as this aerial snippet of campus taken on the DJI Phantom 4 drone) to investigate the intricate processes of identity-making. 

Mapping Identity in Unbalanced Landscapes

The Spatial Analysis Lab’s project “Mapping Identity in Unbalanced Landscapes” is conceived from recognition that maps are particularly adept at capturing tangible landscapes, but grapple with representing invisible dynamics. Tracy Tien, the primary applicant and Post-Baccalaureate Spatial Analysis Fellow, explains that they aim to explore the degree to which spatial design contributes to identity-making in formative environments such as Smith College campus — How does place contribute to a sense of belonging? How does space account for otherness? How does identity-making materialize in landscapes that are unfamiliar or hostile?

The project design focuses on methods that transform the invisible to visible, cross-cut disciplines, and incorporate theoretical and practical exercises. Tien says she envisions the whole of the project to be immersive and involved. Plans include the construction of a role-playing board game (drawing inspiration from a conservation planning experiment implemented by the Center for International Forestry Research) that will serve as a survey to confront the “realities” of unbalanced environments, and measures decision-making. From these insights, a physical resistance landscape will be built that models drivers of inclusion/exclusion, and diversity. They're introducing a Tangible Landscape build that projects and responds to changes real-time by utilizing 3D scanning, 3D point cloud processing, and spatial processing. This enables the participants to interact with a dynamic tacit landscape, and think about ways to optimize a wholesome identity landscape.

The Spatial Analysis Lab is excited to collaborate with the Libraries’ Teaching, Learning & Research, Education Technology Services, Anthropology Department, various student interest groups, and certainly more as the project evolves.


Tracy Tien