“A city is a particular kind of place, perhaps best described as many worlds in one place; it compounds many versions without quite reconciling them, though some cross over to live in multiple worlds… An atlas is a collection of versions of a place, a compendium of perspectives, snatching out the infinite ether of potential versions a few that will be made concrete and visible.”  – Rebecca Solnit, Infinite City


Our Essential Guiding Questions:

-How do we help students to become more aware of their surroundings, in order to foster an educated, ethical, and empathetic community?

-How do we facilitate opportunities to help students translate experiences, investigations, and ideas into artistic renderings that effectively communicate new knowledge?

We devised an experiential project, “Complex City” in order to help students think critically about their communities.  In asking them to map an area of San Diego that had significance to them, we wanted them to step back from the familiar aspects of their community and city, and translate those aspects into a visual map. As part of this project, students researched, interviewed, and investigated their city and community in myriad ways. What they once thought was familiar suddenly became very unknown. By compiling their work and making collective and idiosyncratic maps of San Diego, they have been challenged to rethink what they understood to be the reality of the built environment around them, as well as to accept the new knowledges that their classmates contribute. They have become more invested in their own community because their new knowledge implicates them as involved citizens. Using Solnit’s Infinite City as one model, and our own creative explorations as another, we have made a series of complementary, contradictory, confounding and even contestatory maps of San Diego. These maps collect particular versions of this place (versions not always visible to others, or in traditional maps) as we see it in the fall/winter of 2011.

Instructors Margaret Noble & Rachel Nichols


Congratulations to several of our students who were winners in the national ODT Map Art Contest!

Nathaniel Ross & Jose Gonzales – 1st Place
Neil Baffert & Kiraleigh Cooper – 3rd Place
Marlene Bajaras & Livy Solis – 3rd Place
Spencer Tamkin & Ciara White – 3rd Place
Jasmine Thomas & Michelina Miedema – 3rd Place
Holden Sarda & Diego Rodriguez – 3rd Place
Megan Alsheikh & Alex Avaloso – 3rd Place


Complexcity was presented by students and teachers at the Education in Action: Mobilizing the next

generation for social reform, An Experiential Learning Conference for UCSD’s 6th College in 2012.




Complexcity was also featured at UCSD’s 6th College exhibition, Mapping Occupations at the ARTifact Gallery.




Complexcity was published in the Parsons Journal for Informational Mapping.



Complexcity was featured on Expeditionary Learning



Photos of the High Tech High exhibition and student projects:

Research Presentations

Student Projects

Created by Nathaniel Ross & Jose Gonzales

Created by Neil Baffert & Kiraleigh Cooper

Created by Alex Avalos and Megan Alsheikh

Created by William Wright and Julia Taylor-Brown

Created by Holden Sarda and Diego Rodriguez

Created by Livy Solis and Marlene Barajas

Created by Javonne McCulloch and Filipina Pascasio

Created by Spencer Tamkin and Ciara White

Created by Tobi Brik and Tim Barrientos

Created by Ahsaki Hawkins and Gage Perry

Created by Jasmine Thomas and Michelina Miedema

Created by Lorena Palma and June Klages

Created by Jolena Palma and Maira Vierheller

Created by Malia Bence and Kelsey Rich

Created by Monika Consunji and Roxana Toscano

Created by Taylor Wren and Anthony Episcopo

Created by Jeffrey Acera and Antonio Robles

Created by Taylor Cook and Summer Clemmons

Created by Milan Finnie and Selam Fikre

Created by Carlos Zaragoza and Victoria Anderson

Created by Shyana Brown and Khadijah Townsend


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