GEO503: Systems Science Methods for Geography Research

This graduate-level seminar surveys emerging methods of systems science and explores the ways in which these methods can advance research in geography. Systems science is an interdisciplinary area of inquiry that involves systematic and often computational study of the structure and behavior of elements that are interrelated in complex systems. Methods of systems science include, but are not limited to, those associated with geographic information science, social network analysis, systems thinking, system dynamics, cellular automata, agent-based modeling, and microsimulation. We will discuss commonalities and differences among methods, circumstances under which they may be usefully integrated, qualitative and quantitative aspects of systems science, and the use of computational laboratories to conduct simulation experiments. After an orientation to systems science, students will develop individual research projects that review (and if feasible, employ) appropriate methods to address a specific problem in any substantive (e.g., urban, health, transport, economic, environmental) geography research area.