Visualizing Segregation

Instructor: Benjamin Forest, Department of Geography

Project: Residential racial and ethnic segregation in American cities has evolved and persisted for well over 100 years. Census data provide a rich source of information about demographic patterns, but it is difficult to comprehend these patterns without maps and other visual aids. The Visualizing Segregation website includes several resources to help students understand current patterns of housing segregation, and some of the dynamics that produce and maintain these patterns.

The site features a java-based segregation simulator that demonstrates different dynamics of segregation based on residential preference and aversion. Students can set preferences and aversions based on similarity and dissimilarity of neighbors, and can create zones of exclusivity. The simulator allows students to change the parameters of the model to visualize the effects that these changes have on residential patterns. Moreover, the simulator calculates three common measures of residential segregation (the index of dissimilarity, an isolation index, and an entropy index) to allow students to compare the visual patterns of segregation with quantitative measures.

We are planning to add a separate web application which will enable students to use 2000 Census population data to visualize and analyze current patterns of racial and ethnic segregation. Students will be able to select groups of Census blocks or tracts, to create thematic maps of these areas, and to calculate the same three indices of segregation used in the segregation simulator.

Project Site:

Tagged with:
Posted in 2000-2004 Projects, 2003 Projects, Social Sciences

Student Center for Research, Writing, and Information Technology (RWIT)

A 2003 Venture Fund Project

Instructor: Karen Gocsik, Director of Composition and Chair of English 2-3

Overview: With the advent of technology, both the process and the products of undergraduate scholarship are changing.

Our students are now faced, while composing, with a plethora of research challenges, and so need to develop information literacy skills that enable them to identify their information needs; to locate information sources; to assess the credibility of information; and to use information for their own academic interests and purposes.

Furthermore, student scholarship is no longer limited to composing “papers.” Increasingly, faculty have been asking students to produce multi-media scholarship that incorporates images, audio, and video, or that uses advanced applications in the sciences.

Because the scholarly challenges put to our students have become increasingly demanding and complex, our students require a more ambitious and comprehensive student support service. Accordingly, the Composition Center, the Library, and Academic Computing have collaborated to create RWIT: the Student Center for Research, Writing, and Information Technology. RWIT is a centralized service that integrates writing, research, and IT tutoring to produce a complete and systematic support effort for Dartmouth students. Such a service is the first of its kind, thereby establishing Dartmouth as a leader in what is sure to be a trend in multi-media composition and integrated student support services.


Tagged with:
Posted in 2000-2004 Projects, 2003 Projects, Arts & Humanities, Venture Fund Projects

Mapping Music

A 2003 Venture Fund Project

Instructor: Steven Swayne, Music

Overview: While music is fundamentally an aural art, much of the sound and history of any particular piece is inextricably linked to the time and place of the piece’s creation. One can distinguish various pieces of classical music by recalling the features of a map and remembering the music associated with various places on a map. What Swayne hoped to explore in this Venture Fund project is how to link the sounds of music more closely to the locales of its production. He wanted his students to be able to look at a map of the world and instantly think of the sounds associated with the places they see. Call it a musicalized map.

His project began rather simply, as students created websites about musicians, technologies, histories and philosophies that interested them. In these websites, students made links to visual and audio files that help illustrate their chosen topic. In addition, students were encouraged to “locate” their topic, that is, their website would take into account that their musician lived somewhere (or several somewheres), their technology was developed somewhere, and so forth. Parallel to the development of these student websites was the development of interactive maps that direct a user to this information about music. For example, a user who clicks on Paris would find text and audiovisuals about the composers who were active in Paris at various times. Indeed, the maps are designed to be time-sensitive; borders and music information change based on the century (or decade) chosen.

Given that the history of music covers a great span of time and that the world is a big place, Swayne has limited his attention to nineteenth-century Europe. There is the desire, however, to encompass more locales and more history over time, with the concept of the musicalized map being one more gateway for students to master the history of music.

Tagged with:
Posted in 2000-2004 Projects, 2003 Projects, Arts & Humanities, Venture Fund Projects