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Why study Spatial Sciences at USC?

USC Spatial Studies minors and GeoDesign majors make real-world impact

Whether they are engaged in issues of climate change, healthy communities, or sustainability, USC students in spatial sciences courses work side-by-side with renowned interdisciplinary faculty as they apply geospatial science and technologies to address complex global challenges.

Using resources in architecture, geographic information science, geospatial technologies, and urban and regional planning, Spatial Studies minors and B.S. in GeoDesign majors are furthering the renaissance of the historic Broadway district in downtown Los Angeles. By mapping the transformation of Broadway’s built environment over time, students are capturing Broadway’s evolution from a vibrant movie theater, shopping, and mixed-use district of 80 years ago, through decades of urban decline, to its rejuvenation today with restored landmark buildings repurposed as lofts and condos for new residential populations. Spatial Studies and GeoDesign students are creating visual presentations which constituents, local officials, and other decision-making stakeholders can easily understand and use to analyze strategies for community investment in the district.

In SSCI 301 “Maps and Spatial Reasoning,” students deploy a weather balloon with aerial imagery capabilities. They have the valuable research opportunity of collecting their own primary data, transferring the collection to the GIS Research Laboratory, and then analyzing the results to participate in “citizen science.”

Act globally and locally

In the 2014 Problems Without Passports SSCI 499 “GeoDesign Practice: The European Experience” course, students will apply spatial sciences and geodesign principles used in Amsterdam in research projects of their choice to promote Los Angeles neighborhood revitalization through transit investment, land use management, and sustainable development practices.

The first undergraduate program of its kind

The USC Minor in Spatial Studies and B.S. in GeoDesign comprise the first undergraduate interdisciplinary programs of their kind in the world. These programs prepare students for professional careers and/or graduate study by engaging them in the acquisition, representation, analysis, modeling, and visualization of spatial information set in the context of the built environment and policy. With these reasoning and scientific skill sets, students can use the underlying spatial science principles, methods, and tools as they engage in sustainable planning, facility and infrastructure management, the design of livable and healthy communities, the delivery of water, energy, and other resource needs, and the impact of population growth.

To learn more, talk with:

Dr. Darren Ruddell, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Spatial Sciences Institute, University of Southern California, 3616 Trousdale Parkway, AHF B55, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0374, (213) 740-0521.