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Thanks to the generous support of the Mellon Foundation and its Digital Humanities Initiative grant at Lehigh University, a team of professors and students will be building datasets for socio-historical investigation by students at Allentown's Building 21.
Team members
  • Dr. Tom Hammond
  • Dr. Sarah Stanlick
  • Madi Morgan 
  • Janelle Jack


  • A historical overview of Allentown and the Lehigh Valley, using Sanborn Maps. For example, the land where Building 21 now sits was previously occupied by tanneries and silk mills, and the Little Lehigh was used for waste disposal, carrying away effluents from these businesses and the surrounding residences. We will assemble layers of historical maps as a kml file to be displayed in Google Earth or other viewer. These maps will be organized both chronologically (illustrating different eras) and thematically, noting changes in the economy, demography, and ecology. Accompanying materials will also note changes in civic leadership during each era. 
    • Resources page
    • Project process work
    • Posted rough draft
    • Posted final draft
  • A dataset on the fragmentation of ASD. Contemporary maps of school districts in the Lehigh Valley hint at the dissolution of urban districts, as suburban areas have broken away. This trend is especially visible with ASD, which lost its entire western half to Parkland and parts of its southern end to Salisbury. (See image at right.) The completed dataset will show the devolution of ASD from the 1960s to the present day, with accompanying demographic data. The final result will be presented as a set of layers in Lehigh’s institutional account at
    • Resources page
    • Project process work
    • Posted rough draft
    • Posted final draft
  • ...





Finalize participating undergraduate students

Conduct orientation to Building 21, geospatial tools, and socio-historical investigations


Meet with community partners

Conduct initial historical research

Training on geospatial tools

Construct initial ‘straw dog’ versions of project materials


Meet with community partners, receive feedback on initial draft. What new features or new data are needed?

Extend historical research: Visit ASD, consult archives; work with staff at area libraries to local additional historical maps or datasets

Refine geospatial tools skills as needed

Present refined version of project materials to community partners, outline learning design for classroom use


Construct learning materials for use by Building 21 students in the coming fall

Pilot learning materials with student volunteers, refine accordingly

Present final geospatial projects and learning materials to community partners for feedback

Post materials to public wiki

September - November

Support Building 21 teachers and students as they use the socio-historical investigations in their curriculum

Refine socio-historical investigations as needed, updating them on the public wiki


Full project team: Present the project at Lehigh’s Symposium on Teaching & Learning and -Symposium on Community-Engaged Research & Learning


Dr. Hammond & Dr. Stanlick: Present the project as a Best Practice paper at the annual conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education in their Geospatial Education SIG in Austin, TX.



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