Columbia University Partners

The Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) 

Palisades, NY

The Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) was established in 1989 as an independent non-governmental organization to provide information that would help scientists, decision-makers, and the public better understand the changing relationship between human beings and the environment. In 1998, CIESIN became a center within the Columbia University Earth Institute. From its offices at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory campus in Palisades, New York, CIESIN continues to focus on applying state-of-the-art information technology to pressing interdisciplinary data, information, and research problems related to human interactions in the environment.

CIESIN supports both the research and teaching missions of Columbia University. Its innovative application of information technology and ability to support operational data management services over the Internet, serve as a valuable complement to traditional University-based research and education in the natural and social sciences and to professional disciplines such as public policy and public health. In addition, as manager of the University’s GIS site license, CIESIN staff holds regular GIS training sessions for students and scientists throughout the University. CIESIN staff also teach in a number of departments at Columbia.

Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP)

New York, NY

The Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation of Columbia University (GSAPP) offers eight masters degree programs: Master of Architecture; Master of Science Advanced Architectural Design; Architecture and Urban Design; Urban Planning; Historic Preservation; Advanced Architectural Research; Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices in Architecture; and Real Estate Development. The school offers two doctorate programs in Architecture and Urban Planning. With an enrollment of 650 students from some 55 countries, its leadership role is to act as a laboratory for testing new ideas about the possible roles of designers in a global society. It cultivates an invitation for all of the disciplines devoted to the built environment to think differently, to move beyond the highest level of professional training to open a creative space within which the disciplines can rethink themselves in order to find new settings, new forms of professional, scholarly, technical, and ethical practice (quoted from the GSAPP Facebook page).

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

Palisades, NY

The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) is a leading research institution where more than 300 research scientists seek fundamental knowledge about the origin, evolution and future of the natural world.

LDEO scientists observe Earth on a global scale, from its deepest interior to the outer reaches of its atmosphere, on every continent and in every ocean. They decipher the long record of the past, monitor the present, and seek to foresee Earth’s future.

From global climate change to earthquakes, volcanoes, nonrenewable resources, environmental hazards and beyond, the Observatory’s fundamental challenge is to provide a rational basis for the difficult choices faced by humankind in the stewardship of this fragile planet.

The Observatory is a key component of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. The Earth Institute’s unique structure facilitates links between the Earth scientists at the Observatory and the engineers, economists, and social and political scientists within the several other units of the Institute. The new cross-disciplinary research teams that are born from these interactions allow for the building of powerful connections between understanding the Earth’s systems and devising applications that benefit humankind directly (quoted from the LDEO website).

Mailman School of Public Health

New York, NY

A vital part of one of the world’s greatest universities and medical centers, Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health pursues an agenda of education, research, and service to address the critical and complex public health issues affecting New Yorkers, the nation, and the world.

A global presence built on local excellence, the School has faculty members pursuing research and service projects in more than 100 countries. The Mailman School is the third largest recipient of NIH grants among schools of public health. Whether promoting the health and well-being of America’s impoverished families and children, working in resource-limited communities to improve reproductive health for women, or developing models of care and treatment for HIV-infected people in northern Manhattan or Africa, the School is committed to meeting the health needs of underserved populations in all corners of the world (quoted from the Mailman website).

Exposure Assessment Facility Core

New York, NY

The Exposure Assessment core facility combines sampling, analytical, and computational capabilities at MSPH and LDEO for the design and implementation of exposure assessments in support of Center Research Cores and for the collection, handling, laboratory analysis and data analysis of exposure assessment samples (both environmental samples and certain biomarkers). This core will coordinate existing facilities and staff in these areas as well as provide support for expansion of these facilities and efforts in ways that support the strategic goals of the Center (quoted from the Center website).

Spatial Information Design Lab (SIDL)

New York, NY

Spatial Information Design Lab was founded in 2004 as an interdisciplinary research unit in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University.

The Spatial Information Design Lab is a think- and action-tank at Columbia University specializing in the visual display of spatial information about contemporary cities and events. The lab works with data about space — numeric data combined with narratives and images to design compelling visual presentations about our world today. The projects in the lab focus on linking social data with geography to help researchers and advocates communicate information clearly, responsibly, and provocatively. We work with survey and census data, Global Positioning System information, maps, high- and low-resolution satellite imagery, analytic graphics, photographs and drawings, along with narratives and qualitative interpretations, to produce images.

Spatial Information Design is a name for new ways of working with the vast quantity of statistical and other data available about the contemporary city. By reorganizing tabular data using unique visualization techniques, and locating it geographically, we try to correlate disparate items of information and picture the patterns and networks they create. Putting data on a map can open new spaces for action, and new options for intervention, as the often-unseen shapes and forms of life in the city becomes visible.

Design, here, is less like a tool and more like a language, a practice that shapes the outcomes and understandings of the things we do. It is not simply an aesthetic prejudice. The ways in which we present ideas and information can sometimes be even more important than the material itself, for better, or more commonly, for worse. The words and pictures we choose make a difference to the way people, including us, imagine their own possibilities of responding to what we say and do.

The goal of the Spatial Information Design Lab is to make partnerships with people and organizations inside and outside of the University. We are most interested in research which requires the independence and rigor of an academic setting (free of the usual politics and pressures of real life situations), and which thrive in an atmosphere of open inquiry, experimentation, and risk-taking, in order to expand the ways in which data is collected, used, and presented (quoted from the SIDL website).

School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)

New York, NY

For more than 60 years, Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs has been educating professionals who work in public, private and nonprofit organizations to make a difference in the world. Through rigorous social science research and hands-on practice, SIPA’s graduates and faculty strive to improve social services, advocate for human rights, strengthen markets, protect the environment, and secure peace, in their home communities and around the world.

The curricula of SIPA’s seven degree programs all combine training in analytical methods and practical management skills to ensure that graduates are prepared to understand problems and implement solutions. Students combine these core skills with a focus on a policy area of their choice, and they typically engage in a practice-oriented capstone or workshop experience toward the end of their studies. The School draws its strengths from the resources of New York City and Columbia University, and yet has a global reach, with a student body that is 50 percent international; 15,000 graduates in more than 150 countries; and educational partners in global cities such as London, Paris, Berlin, Singapore, Beijing, Mexico City, and São Paulo (quoted from the SIPA website).