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SCI-Arc Research Team in Dialogue as Part of Chicago Architecture Biennial

Tonight, November 30, the Chicago Architecture Biennial resumes its virtual program series, InDialogue, featuring this evening’s discussion taking place online at 6:00pm, entitled Data at the Crossroads, which asks, “Can technology and data support empowerment?” The panelists reflect on algorithmic decision making in design and planning and how human experiences translate into data.

aerial view Highland Park houses
AI + ADU: Approaches in Housing and Neural Networks seminar led by Casey Rehm and Mimi Zeiger. Amenity and Equity: Examining Layers of Rent Prices and Amenities. Layering Rent Distribution and Sentiment Analysis. Feeling of Anger. Students: Giovanna Penna Lima, Matthew Pak and Tiffany Yu.

Including researchers from SCI-Arc, the Institute for Housing Studies, and Automated Architecture Labs the talk will feature projects that deploy machine learning and data analysis in relation to land use and dwelling types, aid policymakers’ ability to foresee displacement, and develop new materials for low-income housing. Panelists for this program include: critic, editor, and curator Mimi Zeiger (M.Arch ’00); designer, algorithmic consultant, and SCI-Arc faculty M. Casey Rehm; SCI-Arc Senior Research Associate Masha Hupalo; Executive Director of the Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University Geoff Smith; and Systems Designer at Automated Architecture Ivo Tedbury.

The series, presents a new conversation every Tuesday, bringing together cultural leadership from around the world to highlight a diverse perspective and further engagement with topics related to ‘The Available City.’ This year, the Chicago Biennial is partnering with organizations including the Association of Architecture Organizations, Chicago Architecture Center, Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), Exhibit Columbus, Graham Foundation, and Art Institute of Chicago, among others.

black map with colorful dots
AI + ADU: Approaches in Housing and Neural Networks seminar led by M. Casey Rehm and Mimi Zeiger. More in my backyard! Existing housing condition in Highland Park, LA and a processed image output of Highland Park combined with Shinjuku’s urban fabric (Tokyo). Students: Heena Patel, Jonah Klinghoffer, Nikhil Bang, Yangfan Xiao.

“It is essential for architecture and urban design students to recognize mapped quantitative data as rationalized abstractions of lived experiences and understand how power does not reside only within technology and knowledge is not produced independently from its creators,” shares Hupalo or tonight’s dialogue. “In our COVID-19 and Displacement project together with Case Miller and SCI-Arc students we are developing new explanatory frameworks to increase understanding of displacement pressures and commodification of housing and generate more thoughtful responses to urban growth and continuity.”

eviction flow map
COVID-19 and Displacement Research project led by Masha Hupalo and Case Miller. The process of eviction is extremely complex and difficult to navigate for renters without legal assistance. In addition, one third of all US Counties have no annual eviction figures and we do not know who is losing their homes and where to focus support.

SCI-Arc R*Search has been exploring ways to leverage technological advances to create new justice-oriented and inclusive practices addressing issues of affordable and available housing. As real-estate developers, governments, urban planners, and tech companies rush to build so-called smart cities of unprecedented intelligence, it is essential to discuss how to utilize algorithmic decision making without reducing the complexity of human experiences transformed into data.

Tonight’s Data at the Crossroads panel can be livestreamed on the Chicago Architecture Biennial website by registering on the event website here.