Back to Calendar

Sarah Williams – Build IT, Share it Hack it: Using Data for Policy Change(NUVIS)

Big Data will not change the world unless it is collected and synthesized into to tools that generate policy change! The Civic Data Design Lab has develops tools, visualizations, and analysis which helps to facilitate policy change. This talk calls everyone to act on the lab’s motto of Build It, Hack It, Share it by demonstrating projects that build data sets collected from web sites and social media, evaluate that data using machine learning and geoprocessing, and present the results through open source mapping interfaces. The works shows how visualizing data can be a powerful policy tool. The talk will specifically highlight the labs research projects on identifying ghost cities in China using data scrapped from Chinease social media site, developing the first map of Nairobi’s transit system using data build through cell phone, and the development of a tool (CityDigits) that helps youth learn to be data literate.

Sarah Williams is currently an Associate Professor of Technology and Urban Planning. She also is Director of the Civic Data Design Lab at MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning. The Civic Data Design Lab works with data, maps, and mobile technologies to develop interactive design and communication strategies that expose urban policy issues to broader audiences. Trained as a Geographer (Clark University), Landscape Architect (University of Pennsylvania), and Urban Planner (MIT), Williams’s work combines geographic analysis and design. Before coming to MIT, Williams was Co-Director of the Spatial Information Design Lab at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation (GSAPP). Her design work has been widely exhibited including work in the Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York City. Williams has won numerous awards including being named top 25 planners in the technology and 2012 Game Changer by Metropolis Magazine. Her work is currently on view in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Seoul Biennale Cities Exhibition in Korea.