Urbanist CoFounder of SPIN Unit and UrbanistAI / Research at Tampere University

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Mapping the commons

UR7144 - Computer Software (Introduction)

Bridging the gap

between academic research and the planning practice through a challenge-based learning process.

Analysing cities

through open geographic and demographic data to unearth non-commodified values and champion the commons in shrinking cities.


of cities with AI-based generative technologies to codesign photorealistic scenarios for streets and public spaces.  

Damiano Cerrone
︎ damiano.cerrone@spinunit.org
︎ +358 44 238 1084

Kristjan Männigo
Guest lecturer ︎kristjan.mannigo@spinunit.org

Course description

The commons are the natural resources and all the social, civic and cultural assets produced or owned by the local community. They produce values for the institutions that make up society and thus power the economy of cities. When the commons are equally distributed, so it's the wealth of our communities. However, multiple forms of appropriation and depletion of the commons layered up through globalisation, austerity, privatisation and green transitions, amongst others. The quality of urban space suffers mainly from the externalities brought to the public space by those mechanisms. New forms of urban transformation lack the inclusivity of the local cultural practices and stewardship of shared activities. That is necessary for the continuity of collective memories and personal ambitions.
In this workshop, we analyse the uneven development of shrinking cities by mapping the scarcity and abundance of the commons to learn how to make urban transformation more equitable. Scarcity derives from the depletion of natural resources and global competition over human resources. Abundance derives from the misuse, underuse and lack of stewardship of urban spaces and their built environment. Mapping scarcity and abundance will help us identify the new commons and use them as drivers of change.


Learning the methods and techniques to discover non-commodifiable values using GIS and other open-source software to collect, analyse and visualise urban data.


Making sense and visualising complex big and thick datasets to find non-commodified values in the city.

Learning outcomes

Acquiring a general knowledge of the challenges of uneven development and the effect of depopulation on the built environment.
Learning how to perform geodata analysis and plot cartographies in QGis.
Develop data-visualisation skill to produce clear infographics to support sense making.

Expected outputs

Urban analyses

A series of maps depicting the scarcity and abundance of the urban commons to find values.

Sense making

A series of data visualisations and/or infographics to synthesise the complexity of big and thick urban data.

Speculative design

A speculative scenario with generative AI for the new commons.



This workshop will conducted in person and you are expected to attend all the classes programmed from start to finish. Failure to show later than 20min will influence the evaluation. You can miss up to 1 session throughout the workshop and you must deliver your assignments on time. If more than 1 session is missed you need to discuss about your situtation with the course instructors.

*Exceptions are made for sudden illness. Stay safe, and if you are experiencing any flu-like symptoms, please do not join to class.

︎ Grading

This class grades the participants on a pass/fail system.

︎ Criteria

The pass/fail grading system is based on the following criteria:

INITIATIVE - wether you are passivley present in class or you actively listen, contribute somewhat reliably, and usually connect your comments to the classe’s discourse
PARTICIPATION - wether you are attending the required classes and catch up in the case of absence.


Class 1
  • Intro to the course and methods
  • Lecture 1 - Urban commons
  • Intro to the mapping softwares
  • Mapping exercise
︎ 9 Jan ︎ 09-17:00

︎ Deliverables
  • Land use maps
︎ Assigment
  1. Forming the groups
  2. Land use analyses
  3. Define research questions

Class 2
  • Intro to data-management tools
  • Intro to data-visualisation tools
  • Data management exercise
  • Data viz exercise
︎ 10 Jan ︎ 09-17:00

︎ Deliverables
  • Structured database
  • Infographics
︎ Assigment
  1. Divide tasks in teams
  2. Produce infographics
  3. Finalise the database

Class 3
  • Lecture 2 - Mapping non-commodified values and brief intro to semiotics in cartography.
  • GIS based urban analyses
︎ 11 Jan ︎ 09-17:00

︎ Deliverables
  • Map of non-commodified values
  • Data outputs
︎ Assigment
  1. Finalise the map of values
  2. Prepare datasets for infographics

Class 4
  • Lecture 3 - Sense making
  • Final workshop time to 
︎ 12 Jan ︎ 09-17:00

︎ Deliverables
︎ Assigment
  1. Finalise all the analyses

Class 5
  • Finalise outputs
  • Final presentation
︎ 13 Jan ︎ 09-13:00

︎ Deliverables
A webpage for each team presenting their results.

Code of conduct

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

In the course we are committed to social justice, equity, and inclusion. This course reflects these commitments by creating an environment that fosters critical thinking, represents diverse viewpoints and ideas, and invites thoughtful, respectful, analysis of the issues and ideas that are discussed in the course.

Each of us has the right be recognized for who we are, referred to in the identities that we inhabit, and included and represented in the course.

Intellectual honesty

To avoid plagiarism, your assignments must provide full citations for all references: direct quotes, summaries, or ideas. The requirement is valid for any typology of content, wheter you present an essay or a colelction of audio-visual-video materials.

EKA code of ethics

Read the univeristy code of Ethics ︎︎︎here.