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Sarah Williams

Associate Professor of Technology and Urban Planning


Research Interests:

Semi-formal Transportation, Urban Information, Technology, Media Design, Data Action, Urban Design, Data Visualization and Privacy

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. Williams is most well known for her work as part of the Million Dollar Blocks team which highlighted the cost of incarceration, Digital Matatus which developed the first data set on a informal transit system searchable in Google Maps, and a more a recent project that uses social media data to understand housing vacancy and Ghost Cities in China.

Williams' design work has been widely exhibited including work in the Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York City. Prior to MIT, she was Co-Director of the Spatial Information Design Lab at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation (GSAPP). 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 at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Seoul Biennale Cities Exhibition in Korea.

Research Clusters:


Google Scholar:


Big Data, Visualization and Media, Urban Planning, Design and Policy, Sustainability and Environment

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