DATA Projects

#1 Smart Cities Atlas


Ali Fard, Architecture

Project Description:

This project aims to gather, categorize, synthesize, critically examine, and finally present an atlas of large-scale smart city projects from around the world. The project is especially interested in creating a comparative tool for the evaluation and analysis of smart city projects in relationship to their local and global positioning as well as their response/attitude towards local sociopolitical dynamics. The desire is for the atlas to be presented as an interactive platform with a publicly accessible website component.

There are multiple opportunities for student involvement including research and designing of the platform. A good working knowledge of graphic software and mapping tools is highly desired.


#2 CCUS: Ostenda illuminata


Mona El Khafif, Architecture

Andrew Mondschein, Urban and Environmental Planning

Eric Field, Architecture

Zihao Zhang, Constructed Environment, Landscape Architecture

Student Researcher:

Gabriel Andrade

Project Description:

A critical, unresolved problem for Smart Cities is bridging data and analytics with humane, creative action in the constructed environment. We investigate how data-responsive urban architectures can function as tools of communicative action, increasing urban imageability and socio-political (not only techno-infrastructural) responses to urban environmental challenges. We propose a replicable, networkable streetscape system – Ostenda [revealing] illuminata [illuminating], that re-centers control over the urban environment toward the community, rather than as part of an externalized, invading system.

Ostenda illuminata is a technological species equipped with sensors that helps communities understand environmental conditions that we can’t see or sense with our own five senses. Ostenda illuminata collects these data and reveals them locally as well as on a web map, where it is produced in real time. It also serves as a smart light and illuminates paths as humans approach. This species serves as a social attractor in public space, using communicative and aesthetic properties to attract humans. When night falls, the blossoms open and communicate environmental knowledge. This plant is a real companion, an extension of our senses and a bridge between the environment and us. In further development Ostenda illuminata, it is also sustainable, powered by solar panels that collect energy during the day and it will only shed light when people approach. The design of Ostenda illuminata and the material strategies within it will enhance the visibility and flexibility of the light it produces. Using plexiglass and LED bulbs, the plant will produce light more sustainably through applied material strategies and transformations compared to a normal street light that is switched on the whole night whether someone comes by or not.

Students engaged in the project will develop numerous skills, including prototyping this technological, environmental, urban architecture and contributing to visualizations of the concept.

OI main image2

Click here for more information.

#3 Material Epidemics: health, segregation, and the built environment


Jeana Ripple, Architecture

Andrea Hansen, Landscape Architecture

Student Researchers:

Zazu Swistel, Yin-Yu Fong

Project Description:

The goal of this study is to explore how urban material pattern, distributed by law and policy, creates or perpetuates urban epidemics; including health disparities, segregation, and urban decay. The study uses LiDAR data, health and census statistics, and GIS material data, to analyze the spatial relationships that underpin associations between urban material, socioeconomic conditions, and environmental risk. The project will be presented as a web and video platform, and exhibited through drawings.

#4 Algorithmic Cultivation:


Robin Dripps, Architecture

Bradley Cantrell, Landscape Architecture

Lucia Phinney, Architecture

Emma Mendel,  Landscape Architecture

Project Description:

This project uses external data sources to manage vegetation through classic techniques of espalier, bonsai, topiary, and similar operations.

Student involvement opportunities: 1 – 3 credit research experience seminar. Please contact the project leaders if interested.


#5 The Geosocial Image of The City


Guoping Huang, Urban and Environmental Planning

Project Description:

The classic Image of the City by Kevin Lynch provides us with understanding of urban form through mental mapping. Today, the rich geosocial network data give us unprecedented access to a new perspective into the perception of urban from. By consolidating, georeferencing, and mapping social media entries from Flickr, Instagram, Strava, and Wikiloc, we can visualize elements of urban form with levels of intensity to represent a new Geosocial Image of the City.