TechniCity eBook


The TechniCity eBook captures the experience of the Spring 2013 MOOC.

Check out the newly released TechniCity eBook!  In this eBook we outline the TechniCity Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that was conducted in the Spring of 2013. The eBook can be used as an introduction and guidebook for the course because it describes the course structure and provides examples of course activities. Because the course will grow and change over time, revised versions of the TechniCity eBook will be made available. (Click to download)

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Social Network Analysis of TRB Standing Committees

ImageThe purpose of this paper is to illustrate the interconnectedness of TRB standing committees using social network analysis.  Analyzing co-membership of these research committees indicates the degree to which committees have the potential to collaborate and share information.  The TRB member database was used to analyze membership across the 210 standing committees.  Members serving on multiple committees create the network ties, which means that one or more members may be sharing information and creating partnerships between members and committees.  This leads to inter-organizational knowledge transfer which is certainly a benefit of information sharing that occurs at the individual and committee levels that can extend far beyond TRB.  The results of the analysis are especially valuable for committees attempting to forge strategic research partnerships and interdisciplinary relationships that may result in research opportunities through new or expanded topics.  The analysis provides insight into the general characteristics of TRB committees and their members, which is useful for making comparisons. The Transportation and Sustainability Committee (ADD40) is used as a case study to illustrate how the results of social network analysis can be applied at the committee level. Download full paper.

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Excellent TechniCity 2013 Student Projects

The following are the top 25 student projects as selected by the TechniCity instructors.  There were many, many great projects overall!  Click on the title to read more about the project.

Name Project
Agata Ruchlewicz-Dzianach L Spot App
Anellina Chirico The Ringing Bell: Solution to Traffic Jams
Anna Gabriela Hoverter Callejas PedApp: The App for Pedestrians
Atef Rostom Massive Open Online Carpooling
Cathy Tao TechniCities Grand Challenge 100,000 minds working together
Dario Cianciarulo Emergency Services with Augmented Reality
Dmytro Krasnoshtan Happibus, Easy to Use Public Transportation
James Yeung California Race Projector
Kala Gurung Use of RFID Technology for Providing Safe and Accessible Bicycling
Laila Ammar Technology Enhanced Park and Ride
Liene Some Emergency Services with Augmented Reality
Liew Wen Hwee City that Connects Learns and Loves its Urban Biodiversity
Mariela Saez Solidarity Communities, Solidarity Cities
Patrick C Smith Improving Data Collection for Louisville’s Urban Forest
Paul Goff Framework for Smart City Deployment
Robert Giusti Mapping bicycle movement via smartphones mobile app design
Robert Strohmaier Urban Gardening Toolkit
Shabana Charaniya Tease Me Not App to Report Eve Teasing Incidents
Sky King Ubiquitous Environmental Sensing Using Low Cost Microprocessors
Veridiana Neves Lejeune Curbita Recycling
Victoria Darah Mobile App for Ohio State Student Safety Service
Vivian Doumpa U-Drift: A Personalized Drifting app for Utrecht
Winfred Selwyn Ooh-Azlin Human Battery Gym
Yvonne Tan Yit Fong The Trucking Culture
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Faculty Scholarly Productivity and Reputation in Planning: A Preliminary Citation Analysis

The following is a preliminary analysis of planning faculty listed in the Guide to Undergraduate and Graduate Education in Urban and Regional Planning (17th edition, dated 2011) published by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning. I queried Google Scholar for publication/citation data for each of the 850+ regular faculty listed in the guide (the primary tool used was Harzing’s Publish or Perish; see Because of name disambiguation, misspellings, etc., the resulting data from these searches required extensive cleaning to match authors with their publications. The original dataset consisted of over 62,000 records (publications indexed by Google Scholar [GS]) associated with approximately 975,000 citations. Automated and manual processes to clean the data for planning faculty reduced these numbers to 24,609 publications with 634,467 citations. This process is still underway, and I suspect the data are at least 85–90% clean at this point. Again, these data are preliminary but are reasonable estimates at this point. Following a brief discussion about academic citations are summary results from the initial analysis.

The traditional means of assessing academic productivity and reputation is citation analysis. Citation analysis for scholarly evaluation has an extensive literature that weighs appropriateness within and across disciplines as well as offering nuanced discussion of metrics (see, e.g., Adam, 2002; Garfield, 1972; Garfield & Merton, 1979; MacRoberts & MacRoberts, 1989, 1996; Moed, 2005). Recently, popular metrics like the h-index, g-index, and e-index have been adopted by GS to provide Web-based citation analysis previously limited to proprietary citation indexes like Thomson Reuters (formerly ISI) Web of Knowledge (WoK) and Sciverse Scopus. This is the likely trajectory of citation analysis as open access scholarship becomes more pervasive. There is some debate, however, that GS’s inclusion of gray literature citations means its analyses draw from a different universe of publications to assess citation frequency and lineage. Scholarly activity represents approximately one-third to one-half (or more) of faculty effort along with teaching and outreach/service activities. In many universities/disciplines, scholarly productivity and reputation are primary factors in deciding promotion and tenure cases.

This initial analysis focused on the citation activity of planning faculty by (a) current school, (b) the school from which they received their PhD (or other terminal degree), (c) years as a professor (time since terminal degree was used as a proxy), (d) rank, and (e) individual faculty. The results are as of mid-November 2013 and will be continually refreshed with GS searches and manual data input and correction.

Table 1 list the top 25 planning schools based on the average number of GS citations per faculty member. Table 2 lists the top 25 in terms of citations per year of service (or year since degree) to account for faculty age or experience. On average, the work of the UCLA and USC planning faculty members has been cited over 3,000 times (averages are greatly influenced by particular faculty). In addition, planning faculty members at Penn, UCLA, ASU, Berkeley, SUNY Buffalo, and USC average over 100 citations per year.



Faculty Citations by School of Degree
The citation data can also be compared by the school where each faculty member received their terminal degree (usually a PhD). Table 3 shows the top 25 universities (not necessarily planning degrees) in terms of average total citation output. Table 4 shows citations per year of experience. Graduates from the University of Chicago and UCSB have the highest levels of citation activity among planning faculty. Of note is that UCSB does not have a planning program.



Although there is a significant amount of variation among individual planning faculty citations that effect department-level performance, there are distinct trends based on seniority. Figures 1 and 2 show both increasing mean and median citation totals by years of experience and rank. Currently, faculty with 5–6 years of experience (pre-tenure) average about 115 citations (median of 41), and those with 15–16 years of experience (around promotion to full professor) average over 500 citations (median of 300). However, these numbers do not control for types of institutions, teaching loads, and administrative activities. During the course of a career (30–50 years), faculty average between total 1,000 and 1,500 citations. In terms of those currently at the rank of assistant professor, the average is over 150, with associate professors averaging over 500 and full professors over 1,400.

Figure 1.Picture5

Figure 2.

Finally, there are many planning faculty with citation totals far exceeding the average levels discussed (the top 25 are shown in Table 5). All of the previous summary information for planning schools is based on GS citation totals for individual planning faculty. These totals will change over time as the data are corrected and updated as previously mentioned. The overall list of planning faculty is available here for download. Your help in updating these numbers will be greatly appreciated and will be used for an upcoming complete analysis. If your citations totals are very different from what is shown, please feel free to send me ( your updated CV or links to your GS Citation profiles.


If you are interested in citation analysis and bibliometrics, you can visit my Mendeley Group at and my paper on the topic at


Adam, D. (2002). Citation analysis: The counting house. Nature, 415(6873), 726–729.

Garfield, E. (1972). Citation analysis as a tool in journal evaluation. Science, 178(4060), 471–479.

Garfield, E. (1979). Citation indexing: Its theory and application in science, technology, and humanities. New York, NY: Wiley.

MacRoberts, M. H, & MacRoberts, B. R. (1989). Problems of citation analysis: A critical review. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 40(5), 342–349.

MacRoberts, M. H, & MacRoberts, B. R . (1996). Problems of citation analysis. Scientometrics, 36(3), 435–444.

Moed, H. F. (2005). Citation analysis in research evaluation. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

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What Is Planning?

coreBy analyzing the areas of expertise and interests of 851 undergraduate and graduate planning faculty members, Tom Sanchez investigates what planning is, what it is not, and what it could be.  Read more…

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Google Glass for Planning

ImageI’ve just been getting familiar with my new pair of Google Glass. I’m part of a team of four at Virginia Tech (along with Ralph Hall, Brian Mathews, and Peter Sforza a.k.a Glass Explorers) who plan to experiment with, and report on, how Glass may be used in our particular disciplines.  I’ve mainly been thinking about how Glass can be used for urban planning purposes, but it requires thinking a whole new way about mobile technology applications.  When GIS exploded onto the planning scene, mapping applications were fairly obvious with the reduction of manual data manipulation and cartography.  New opportunities for spatial analysis were not as obvious, but over time planners have learned much from the geographers and developed and wide range of planning oriented geospatial applications.  Will Glass be the next revolution?

Looking through Glass it is easy to imagine how certain planning tasks can be aided by the technology.  The following are a few of my thoughts about the future of Glass in planning.

1.      Data collection.  The definition of planning “data” expands significantly with Glass. Not only georeferenced images and video, but also georeferenced features such as street trees, buildings, road features, traffic counts, etc. Imagery can be used as raw data that can be manually processed, or apps with object recognition can be employed.  While these tasks can be performed with other handheld devices, the heads-up nature of Glass can make these data collection efforts as easy as just “looking”.  Documenting site inspections with voice and video recording becomes hands-free note taking.

2.      Augmented reality.  Again, while available on other devices, the Glass experience will be as simple as “looking”.  Augmented reality capabilities will improve visualization of historic and proposed land uses as well as change over time.  Plans can also be visualized as overlays of parcel map information, zoning classifications, comprehensive plan designations, etc.  Non-visible features like underground utilities and rights-of-way can also be superimposed on the surrounding landscape.

3.      Planning documentation.  Having access to planning documents in the field can be convenient and allow access to information that otherwise would be cumbersome to query.  This same concept can be applied at the planning counter.  Glass can be utilized for quick information look-up (via voice recognition) on the spot such as building codes, application information, application status, additional forms, etc.  Requiring electronic submission along with QR Code-friendly referencing systems can potentially speed interactions and increase the accuracy of information being provided.  Also, as a planner “looks” at materials/documents, they can be scanned or copied for record keeping.  Multitasking will take on a new meaning as Glass gives the planner the freedom of their hands, which could improve their ability to engage with people and use multiple materials at once.

4.      Public meetings.  Documenting public meetings can sometimes be a challenge, from counting those in attendance to recording testimony and capturing exhibits.  Glass will allow a participant/ planner to “record” proceedings more accurately than note taking.  While the same can be performed with a digital camera (for both images and video), the presence of a camera can be intrusive and unwelcome.  The use of Glass does not completely solve this issue and may raise concerns about privacy.  The ability to easily capture imagery and video in meetings or in the field means that planners should be sensitive to identifying individuals, vehicles (license plate numbers), and private spaces like the interior of houses through windows.  This will be a growing concern as Glass becomes widely available resulting in a landscape of near complete surveillance.

5.      Two other important Glass issues pointed out by Brian Mathews ( are that “wireless needs to be easier” and the “power drain“.  To access internet resources Glass needs to have wireless access or be tethered to an Android device.  Glass storage is currently limited relative to tablets or laptops, so video storage/retrieval becomes a challenge and cloud-based services rely on internet connectivity.  Mathews also notes the very limited battery storage with charging needed far more often than what we currently experience with mobile devices like cell phones.  Ubiquitous connectivity and power – imagine that.

Like other technology innovations that have come along, creative applications will likely explode as the technology makes its way into the mainstream.  This will take time as new software is developed. (We are looking for a Glass programmer in case you’re interested, see: Traditional ways of accessing information will need to be re-thought as more and more of it can be superimposed on our environment.  This in itself has amazing impacts for the physical/built landscape which often includes much planning for information through signage and other cues.  How will this change the tasks of the planner and the planning profession generally? I guess we will just have to wait and “see”.

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TechniCity by the numbers…

Final PerspectiveTechniCity examined how cities are changing through the integration and infrastructure of technology. Students learned how to use technology to engage with the public to support decision-making and improve their cities. Students examined tools for analyzing the city and actively explored the fascinating ways that cities, including their own, are using real-time technology. Technological innovators and thought leaders shared their expertise and inspired creative thought. Students were encouraged to engage around the topic they were most interested in to create a project in their own city.  Read more…

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Housing Policy Debate Annual Paper Competition

Housing Policy Debate (HPD) announces its 2013 paper competition. HPD provides a venue for original research relating to U.S. housing policy. Subjects include affordable housing policy, fair housing policy, land use regulations influencing housing affordability, metropolitan development trends, and linkages among housing policy and energy, environmental, and transportation policy.

Those interested in submitting papers are encouraged to review the editor’s introduction in Volume 23, Issue 3 (2013) for topics of particular interest. The competition will be judged by the HPD associate editors. The winning author(s) will be awarded $1,000 by HPD
and announced in an upcoming issue of the journal. To enter, submit your completed
paper directly to HPD at by December 1, 2013.

Announcement: RHPD Paper Competition 2013 A4 – online

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10 days until TechniCity

The increasing availability of networks, sensors and mobile technologies allows for new approaches to address the challenges that our cities face. The way we understand cities is undergoing sweeping transformation, right along with the analytical tools we use to design our cities and the communication tools we use to engage people. Absorbing, studying and understanding the role of technology from a critical viewpoint allows us to generate creative ideas for improving our cities.

There are over 16,000 students signed up for the course from all around the world.



This course begins by examining how our cities are changing. We then jump into how technology is used to engage with the public to support decision-making. Students will be examining tools for analyzing the city. Then we move into exploring the infrastructure that makes the real-time, technologically-enhanced city possible. And rounding out the course is an exploration of entrepreneurial urbanism, looking at how creativity can spawn technological innovation. You’ll hear from technological innovators and thought leaders about all of these topics. The course is being taught by Jennifer Evans-Cowley from Ohio State University (@evanscowley on Twitter) and Tom Sanchez from Virginia Tech (@tomwsanchez on Twitter). You can learn more as this course develops on  Dr. Evans-Cowley’s blog and Dr. Sanchez’s TechniCity blog.  You can see more information about the course at:

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City Research Genome Project

ImageThis project will map the scholarly products (books, book chapters, journal articles, etc.) of all 850+ academics currently teaching and researching in city planning programs in the U.S. The map is constructed by connecting co-cited materials to illustrate the network of relationships among works by planning scholars. The resulting depiction and data sets will be the constellation of research products that will also show the pattern of important topics, influencers, and institutions. Nothing has ever been done on this topic, at any scale.  Click here to read more.

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