Access to Knowledge and Data

Title of the Course: Access to Knowledge and Data

Duration: First semester (First Year)

Total hours: 76 hours

Author/lecturer: Philipp Kats, Egor Kotov

Invited speakers: Elena Korotkova, Polina Kolozaridi


Virtually all design today is research-based. Be it a web-service UX or a new public space scheme, every contemporary project collects and analyses data, investigates contexts and tests design solutions with research. As a multidisciplinary holistic practice at the crossing of Urban studies, Design, Urban planning, and a few other disciplines, Urban design requires the research-based approach, perhaps more than any other practice.

Type of the research, however, can vary from case to case, depending on the specific task, context, timeframe and objectives of the Project. How to choose the right methodology for a particular research? How to identify relevant experts and reliable sources effectively, even in the unfamiliar environment? How to access, obtain, structure, assess and store information in the most convenient and quick way? How to think critically and make conceptual conclusions based on proper data analysis?

This course helps student navigate the vast and, at times, murky sea of information – both online and off-line, - indicating safe point of access and giving tips on research structuring. e'll talk about research ethics, questions, objectives, planning and management. Students will work with a range of research methodologies, including qualitative and quantative analyses, and will learn how to sequence research and design objectives to achieve best results.

At the end of the course, students will be required to present a group research project on the defined subject.

Classical DIKW model. Every research scheme can be grown from. or fold into this Hieararchy.


The course is designed to fit a gap between pure academic research course and general urban planning. It explains various research methods relevant to Urban Design practice and basic rules of information processing, while also providing general knowledge on what urban data are and where to find the relevant ones. The course consists of the two main parts: a) General skill-set (4 weeks) and b) Urban research (3 weeks). Each Part will be supported by the set of practical labs, seminars and research assignments, including the midterm and final projects.