Visualizing Urban Change in Silicon Valley

Greetings all! I am Jason Heppler, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Academic Technology Specialist for the Department of History at Stanford University, where I mostly work on evidence visualization projects and teach digital history. My dissertation, “Machines in the Valley: Growth, Conflict, and Environmental Politics in Silicon Valley” examines contested ideas about space and place as the cities of Silicon Valley grew during the postwar era. These debates gave expression to what I see as environmentalism growing out of specific local concerns, as well as a burgeoning discussion about sustainable cities.

For the Six Shooters, I wanted to talk about some of the data visualization projects I’ve been working on for the digital components of my dissertation. I’m curious to hear your feedback — what works, what doesn’t, what’s missing. In particular, I was interested in trying to examine the spaces of the cities ignored or overlooked by city planners and the reasons behind their absence. I have anecdotal evidence suggesting the uneven (and unequal) patterns of municipal expansion, but by visualizing this unevenness I suggest we can better see the spaces of the city that were given the most attention and the reasons behind their focus.

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