Digital explorations of inequality and development for marginalized communities in India and the United States: Creating interactive virtual field trips in geography and urban planning classes

Authors: Jessica Barnes*, Northern Arizona University, Amar Sawhney, Miami-Dade College
Topics: Geography Education, Urban and Regional Planning, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: transformative education, blended pedagogy, VR, virtual field trips, urbanization, sustainability, social justice
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 46
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Urban planning can remake cities to promote more equitable access to resources, promote development, and create more sustainable communities, but planners need to understand the complexities of local contexts and critically examine how their interventions impact social justice. We are creating a digital resource to produce and share interactive virtual field trips (iVFTs) exploring social development in informal and marginalized urban settlements. Through a digital scholarship grant from the American Institute of India Studies we will travel to India, visit sites, gather data, create, and share an iVFT of case studies on how urban morphology of slums and planning interventions have impacted economic development and social justice in Indian cities. The case studies will be replicated by university students in the United States to compare and contrast the processes and impacts of spatial marginalization. Outcomes and deliverables from the project will include a web-based, open-access, crowd-sourced resource to share iVFTs. This tool allows spatial exploration via a digital mapping interface, interactive panoramic images, and video of sites, temporal exploration of changes over time, quantitative spatial analysis, and qualitative data exploration through multimedia content such as interviews with local stakeholders. Overtime, numerous projects will be added to this shared online resource allowing further analysis via comparison. Using our project to spark a dynamic crowdsourced resource will create opportunities for experiential learning while field trips are restricted due to the Covid-19 pandemic and build networks between students working towards social justice for marginalized communities around the world.

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