Brandi Thompson Summers & Desiree Fields, Co-Directors
The Berkeley Lab of Speculative Urbanisms is dedicated to the study of cultural and urban geographies, encompassing inquiry on the web of relations among cities, regions, and metropolitan areas. The urban laboratory has a long history in the social sciences, yet this tradition is marked by a colonial sensibility. With an emphasis on urban ecology, urban labs have historically focused on individual behavior and failed to recognize issues rooted in social, political, and economic structures. This approach renders marginalized communities, primarily Black and Latinx, as problems that need to be fixed. The resulting analysis of urban problems and proposed solutions frequently privileges the perspective of dominant social groups and objectifies communities, practices, and space in terms of racial difference, rather than the structures and power relations that produce urban problems. Furthermore, research analyses and prescribed solutions draw on normative judgments of what values should guide the process to achieve particular outcomes. The increasing complexity of cities--especially amid overlapping social, environmental, and economic crises--calls for a break away from approaches to urban research that interrogate cities, communities, and people as objects.
CARTOGRAPHY & GIS EDUCATION (CAGE) LABORATORY
Eron Budi, Manager
The Cartography and GIS Education (CAGE) Lab is the Geography Department’s center for instruction of cartography and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and is innovating mapmaking pedagogy by melding the art and practice of traditional cartography with the spatial analysis tools of GIS. The mission of the CAGE Lab is to offer a holistic approach to mapmaking, combining the conventions and sensibilities of cartography with the analytical power of GIS to make better maps. The cartography program in the Geography Department at Berkeley has a long history of a commitment to social justice work and offers the only service-learning designated course in the Geography Department.
The CAGE Lab hosts two upper division undergraduate methodology courses: Geography 183: Cartographic Representation and Geography 187: Advanced Cartographic Methods: GIS for Cartographers.
John Chiang, Manager
Researchers in the Chiang Lab work on various aspects of large-scale climate and climate change problems, ranging from climates of the distant past (thousands to millions of years ago) to future climate. A particular focus is on the climate dynamics of the tropics, and how it relates to the global climate. The tools of the trade include statistical analysis of global and regional climate data, and of coupled model simulations of climate, and numerical simulations using various configurations of climate models. Our lab uses Berkeley’s Savio computing cluster for computation, data storage, and running model simulations. More information about Professor Chiang’s research can be found on his research site.
Kurt Cuffey, Manager
Scholars in the Cuffey Lab work on a wide variety of problems concerning the physical environment, using field measurements, data analysis, and numerical modelling. Highlights include numerical modelling of glacier flow, evolution, and temperature; numerical modelling of stable isotopes of precipitation; numerical modelling of stream temperatures; data analysis of glacier flow, topography, mass balance, and climate; data analysis of isotopic composition of waters; and data analysis of stream temperatures and precipitation isotopes. The Cuffey Lab is under the direction of Professor Kurt Cuffey.
Laurel Larsen, Manager
The Environmental Systems Dynamics Laboratory is equipped to measure how flows impact the transport of sediment and organic matter. It is equipped with acoustic Doppler velocimeters for measuring the flow of water, laser diffraction particle size analyzers, an organic carbon and organic nutrient analyzer, a fluorometer, centrifuge, drying oven, and combustion furnace. It also has standard wet-chemistry equipment, including a fumehood, an ultrapure deionized water machine, refrigerator and freezer for sample preservation, and precision balances. An ecogeomorphology flume, also part of the Environmental Systems Dynamics Laboratory, is located in the basement of McCone Hall. It is a recirculating flume specifically designed for studies of transport of delicate organic material and organisms.
QUATERNARY PALEOECOLOGY LABORATORY
The focus of our research is the reconstruction of past environmental and ecological change. Techniques utilized include basic stratigraphic analyses of sediment cores, fossil pollen and macro-fossil analysis, stable and radio-isotope analysis, sediment geochemistry, and historic air photo interpretation.
REMOTE SENSING & VISUALIZATION LAB
Jeff Chambers, Manager
The Remote Sensing and Visualization lab provides a space for UC Berkeley students to focus on spectral, spatial, and temporal representation of Earth system and human geographic processes using data collected with sensing systems at various scales. The lab includes openly available desktop computers with ample visualization space, software applications such as ENVI (with ACORN atmospheric correction) and AgiSoft Metashape, remotely piloted aircraft (RPA, aka drones) and flight planning software, field instrumentation (FLIR handheld thermal imager, soil moisture TDR probe, GPS, etc), a presentation projector and screen, and a meeting table and conversation space.
Clancy Wilmott, Manager
studio.geo-? is an experimental geographic research, teaching and design studio, located at the University of California, Berkeley. Projects hosted by the studio work across maps and media to produce critical and collaborative geographic work focused on the question of how we represent our worlds.
It is a non-exclusive space and welcomes all thinkers and creators from across the Arts, Humanities and STEM, at all stages (Faculty, graduate, undergraduate), and at all levels (pro or novice). The studio has monthly meetings where we discuss our projects, troubleshoot, debug and speculate. If you are interested in getting involved, or have a project or an idea for a project that you think might be suitable to be hosted by the studio, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
TRACE GAS BIOGEOCHEMISTRY LABORATORY
The Trace Gas Biogeochemistry lab measures the fluxes of environmentally important trace gases and certain biogeophysical parameters that control these fluxes. Instrumentation includes a Hewlett Packard 68900 Gas Chromatograph /6973 Mass Spectrometer with a customized inlet for low volume air samples and a flask evacuation line. Field equipment includes a Li-Cor 840 CO2/H2O analyzer and static and dynamic flux chamber systems. The laboratory is equipped with a hood, distilled water, and several garbage cans. Tours occur every other Wednesday with adult supervision only. For more information, please contact the lab at (510) 643-6984.
BERKELEY WEATHER STATION
John Chiang and William Boos, Co-Managers
The Berkeley Weather Station is a senior member of the national Cooperative Weather Observation Program (CWOP). The program traces its origin back to Thomas Jefferson and his appointment of official weather recorders in 6 states between 1776 and 1812. By 1890, the year the Berkeley station set up their first standard 8″ rain gauge, the program was well represented on the west coast and included 2000 stations nation-wide. Today the CWOP is a network of roughly 12,000 volunteer-run weather observation sites scattered across the country.
The Berkeley station has maintained a nearly unbroken sequence of temperature and precipitation observations since 1890. Early observations were recorded by the Department of Astronomy on Observatory Hill, just east of what is now McCone Hall. The Department of Geography assumed station duties in 1912. Berkeley observations are compiled monthly, integrating both manually and electronically recorded data. This monthly record is sent to various university agencies as well as other users upon request. These records are also incorporated into national archival datasets, such as those at the National Climate Data Center, where they become part of important climate change studies.