LA Tech City Summer Institute

LA Tech City Summer Institute: Urban Innovation and Design


DGT HUM 30 - Los Angeles Tech City: Digital Technologies & Spatial Justice

The program includes the following:

  • One, 5-unit course which offers UC credit for a letter grade
    • GE credit (Foundations of Society and Culture – Social Analysis) 
    • Diversity credit
  • Seminars
  • Critical reading
  • Studio and fieldwork
  • Applied projects
  • Site visits
  • Guest lectures
  • Engagement with start-ups
  • Portfolio development 


The intersections between richly diverse cities and spatial technologies are evolving in increasingly significant and creative directions. The next generation of students must be intellectually, meaningfully, and technologically prepared to address complex issues arising within daily cosmopolitan life.

LA Tech City brings together urban studies, architecture, and the humanities in a hands-on engagement with digital technologies and spatial justice in the city. Innovative forms of investigation and communication, from digital mapping to video-sensing, integrate the interpretative and historical approaches of the humanities with the material, projective practices of design.

The course explores creative techniques to study, intervene, and speculate on subject matters that can best be understood by connecting forms of spatial analysis to humanist considerations in Los Angeles.

Students will investigate spatial justice and injustice in the multi-ethnic city through the lens of three thematic technologies that have literally built and transformed LA into a global metropolis: cars and highways; networking technologies culminating in the Internet and World Wide Web; and film and broadcast media.

Students will explore new ways to understand, describe, and speculate research findings related to social stratifications, racial and ethnic complexity, and unequal access to information, technology, as well as housing and urban space.


To be distributed


Prof. Todd Presner
Professor of Germanic Languages, Comparative Literature, and Jewish Studies, UCLA.
Founder and Director of HyperCities: Thick Mapping in the Digital Humanities.
Director of the Center for Jewish Studies, UCLA.
Chair of the Digital Humanities Program, UCLA
Core Faculty, Urban Humanities Initiative, UCLA

PhD History of Art (UC Berkeley)
PhD Comparative Literature (Stanford)
MA Comparative Literature (Stanford)
BA Literature and Philosophy, magna cum laude (Duke)

Todd Presner is Professor of Germanic Languages and Comparative Literature at UCLA. He is also the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Director of the Center for Jewish Studies, founder and director of the digital mapping platform HyperCities, and the Chair of the Digital Humanities Program. He is the author or co-author of four books: Mobile Modernity: Germans, Jews, Trains (Columbia University Press, 2007); Muscular Judaism: The Jewish Body and the Politics of Regeneration (Routledge, 2007); Digital Humanities (MIT Press, 2012), co-authored with Anne Burdick, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld, and Jeffrey Schnapp; and HyperCities: Thick Mapping in the Digital Humanities (Harvard University Press, 2014), with David Shepard and Yoh Kawano.


Prof. Dana Cuff
Professor of Architecture, Urban Design and Urban Planning, UCLA.
Director of cityLAB, UCLA.
Director of Urban Humanities Initiative, UCLA.

PhD Architecture (UC Berkeley)
BA Psychology and Design (UC Santa Cruz)

Dana Cuff is a professor, author, and practitioner in architecture. Her work focuses on affordable housing, modernism, suburban studies, the politics of place, and the spatial implications of new computer technologies. Cuff's research on postwar urbanism was published in a book titled The Provisional City (MIT 2000), and she recently edited Fast Forward Urbanism with Roger Sherman (Princeton Architectural Press 2011). She founded cityLAB in 2006, and has since concentrated her efforts around issues of the emerging metropolis. Dr. Cuff is widely published, the recipient of numerous fellowships, and lectures internationally.


Enrolled students are expected to complete all assigned coursework, take all examinations, attend class regularly, and submit all required work by the end of the program. No part of the coursework may be continued beyond the close of the course unless prearranged by the student and the faculty.

The work of all students at UCLA is reported in terms of grades. Instructors are required to assign a final grade for each student enrolled in a course. This program is offered on a letter grading basis. The following grades are used to report the quality of student work for this program:

I Incomplete
DR Deferred Report
P Passed (achievement at grade C level or better; used only for undergraduate study)
NP Not Passed (used only for undergraduate study)


Courses in which students receive a P grade may count toward satisfaction of degree requirements, but these grades, as well as DR, I, and NR, are disregarded in determining the grade-point average. NR indicates that no grade was received from the instructor. For more information on grades, see the UCLA General Catalog.

UCLA is on the quarter system. As a general guide, a semester unit is worth 1.5 quarter units (e.g., 4 quarter units = 2.5 semester units). UCLA courses are generally accepted for transfer credit, but all decisions on transferability rest with the home institution. Students should get advance approval of their UCLA Summer Sessions course selections from the home institution prior to registration.


Grades earned during the summer institute will be recorded on an official University of California transcript.

Students can view grades on MyUCLA no later than August 14 for programs that end prior to August 4. Programs ending after August 4, grades can be viewed on MyUCLA no later than September 25.

The transcript is a permanent record that reflects all undergraduate and graduate work completed at UCLA. It lists courses, units, grades, cumulative grade-point average, transfer credits, total units, and work in progress in chronological order. Please note that official transcripts are not automatically sent to you.

Current or incoming UC students will have all UCLA summer activity appear automatically on the home UC campus transcript, and the grades earned at UCLA are included in their home UC campus grade-point average. For all other students, a transcript must be ordered online through MyUCLA.

Students are assessed a one-time document fee which covers fees for first-class mailing of official transcripts, diploma and much more. Those requiring expedited or special delivery can submit a Transcript Request Form in person at the Registrar's Office. Additional charges may be assessed. Transcript Request Forms can be also picked up at 1113 Murphy Hall between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday – Friday.


  • Camera phone or Digital Camera
  • Laptops (Students without access to a laptop will be provided one through UCLA Library).
  • Software: Word (or equivalent); Adobe Creative Suite; iMovie and/or Final Cut Pro; Premier; Google Earth.


JULY 3 - JULY 28, 2017


FEBRUARY 15: Registration opens HERE

MAY 1: Payment deadline

JUNE 1: Refund deadline

JULY 3: Summer institute starts

JULY 28: Summer institute ends