Urban Intelligence

Graduate Elective 

We live amidst real-time data flows, with sensors measuring everything from air quality to traffic, with our own cell phones yielding information about our whereabouts and activity levels, with buildings reporting on their own energy consumption and maintenance. This urban “intelligence” ostensibly allows for the optimization of our environments and our selves – for the production of “smart cities” and smart citizens. In this hybrid studio we’ll examine how the methods of data science shape our civic values and urban imaginaries, and condition the work of urban design and administration; and we’ll assess the consequences – for the material environment, for urban citizenship, for quality of life, etc. – when data and efficiency drive design and development decisions. Taking nearby Hudson Yards as our case study, we’ll explore not only how “smartness” is operationalized in such new urban developments, but also what other kinds of intelligence have long been present in our cities. To evaluate Hudson Yards’s smarts, we’ll develop a collection of “urban intelligence test kits” – IQ tests, guidebooks, measurement instruments, field kits, etc. – to evaluate how human and machine logics, intelligences, and values are integrated and negotiated on this urban test-bed.

Spring 2017 Website