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Dietmar Offenhuber

Dietmar Offenhuber is Associate Professor at Northeastern University in the departments of Art + Design and Public Policy. He holds a PhD in Urban Planning from MIT, a MS in Media Arts and Sciences from the MIT Media Lab, and a Dipl. Ing. in Architecture from the Technical University Vienna. Dietmar was Key Researcher at the Austrian Ludwig Boltzmann Institute and the Ars Electronica Futurelab and professor in the Interface Culture program of the Art University Linz, Austria.

His research focuses on the relationship between design, technology, and governance. Dietmar is the author of the award-winning monograph “Waste is Information – Infrastructure Legibility and Governance” (MIT Press), works as an advisor to the United Nations Development Programme and published books on the subjects of Urban Data, Accountability Technologies and Urban Informatics. His PhD dissertation received the Outstanding Dissertation Award 2014 from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT, his research received the Best Paper Award 2012 from the Journal of the American Planning Association and the ASCINA young PI award.

In his artistic practice, Dietmar frequently collaborates with the sound artist Markus Decker and composers Sam Auinger and Hannes Strobl under the name “stadtmusik”. His artistic work has been exhibited internationally in venues including the Centre Pompidou, Sundance and the Hong Kong International Film Festival, ZKM Karlsruhe, Secession Vienna, the Seoul International Media Art Biennale. His awards include the first prize in the NSF Visualization Challenge, the Jury Award at the Melbourne International Animation Festival, the Art Directors Club Silver Award, a Special Mention at the 12th International Media Art Biennale, and Honorary Mentions from File Festival, Ars Electronica and Transmediale, Berlin.

Research/Publications Highlights

Scholarly Monographs:

  • Offenhuber, Dietmar. 2017. Waste is Information – Infrastructure Legibility and Governance. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Edited Volumes:

  • 2014 Offenhuber, Dietmar, and Carlo Ratti, eds. 2014. Decoding the city — urbanism in the age of big data. Berlin: Birkhäuser (This book has been translated to German, Chinese, and Korean)
  • 2013 Offenhuber, Dietmar, and Katja Schechtner, eds. 2013. Accountability Technologies: Tools for Asking Hard Questions. Vienna: Ambra V.
  • 2012 Offenhuber, Dietmar, and Katja Schechtner, eds. 2012. Inscribing a Square: Urban Data as Public Space. Vienna, New York: Springer.
  • 2018 Offenhuber, Dietmar. 2018. “Maps of Daesh – the Cartographic Warfare Surrounding Insurgent Statehood.” GeoHumanities.
  • 2018 Offenhuber, Dietmar, Katja Schechtner. 2018. “Improstructure – an Improvisational Perspective on Smart Infrastructure Governance.” Cities.
  • 2017 O’Brien, Daniel, Dietmar Offenhuber, Jesse Baldwin-Philippi, Melissa Sands, Eric Gordon. 2017. “Uncharted Territoriality in Coproduction: The Behavioral Bases of 311 Reporting” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 27 (2): 320-35.
  • 2014 Offenhuber, Dietmar. 2014. “Infrastructure Legibility—a Comparative Analysis of open311-Based Citizen Feedback Systems.” Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society 8 (1): 93–112.

Professional Affiliations

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
  • Scholars Strategy Network (SSN)
  • Austrian Scientists and Scholars in North America (ASCINA)


Art + Design


  • Diplom-Ingenieur of Architecture, Vienna University of Technology
  • MSc in Media Arts and Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • PhD in Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Professional Experience

  • Core Team Member, Ars Electronica Futurelab, Linz, Austria
  • Key Researcher & Leader of the Interactive Space Group, Ars Electronica Futurelab, Linz, Austria
  • Key Researcher for Visualization, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Media Art Research, Linz, Austria
  • Mentoring two pilot projects in Moldova and Kosovo
  • Advisor, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Past Clients

  • United Nations
  • Ars Electronica
  • National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation Tokyo (Miraikan)
  • Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Research Focus

  • Accountability-oriented Design
  • Aesthetics and Policy
  • Information Design and Visual Epistemology
  • Infrastructure Studies
  • Design and Governance
  • Urban Systems

Courses Taught

  • Research Methods
  • Thesis
  • Information Design and Visual Analytics
  • Mapping Strategies