Sarah Williams

Sarah Williams is Associate Professor of Technology and Urban Planning at the MIT School of Architecture and Planning, where she is also Director of the Civic Data Design Lab. Trained in geography, landscape architecture, and urban planning, she was named one of the Top 25 Leading Thinkers in Urban Planning and Technology and Game Changer by Metropolis Magazine. Her design work has been widely exhibited at venues including the Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and the Cooper Hewitt Museum.

  • Data Action

    Using Data for Public Good

    Sarah Williams

    How to use data as a tool for empowerment rather than oppression.

    Big data can be used for good—from tracking disease to exposing human rights violations—and for bad: implementing surveillance and control. Data inevitably represents the ideologies of those who control its use; data analytics and algorithms too often exclude women, the poor, and ethnic groups. In Data Action, Sarah Williams provides a guide for working with data in more ethical and responsible ways. Williams outlines a method that emphasizes collaboration among data scientists, policy experts, data designers, and the public. The approach generates policy debates, influences civic decisions, and informs design to help ensure that the voices of people represented in the data are neither marginalized nor left unheard.

    • Hardcover $39.95 £32.00

Contributor

  • Civic Media

    Civic Media

    Technology, Design, Practice

    Eric Gordon and Paul Mihailidis

    Examinations of civic engagement in digital culture—the technologies, designs, and practices that support connection through common purpose in civic, political, and social life.

    Countless people around the world harness the affordances of digital media to enable democratic participation, coordinate disaster relief, campaign for policy change, and strengthen local advocacy groups. The world watched as activists used social media to organize protests during the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, and Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution. Many governmental and community organizations changed their mission and function as they adopted new digital tools and practices. This book examines the use of “civic media”—the technologies, designs, and practices that support connection through common purpose in civic, political, and social life. Scholars from a range of disciplines and practitioners from a variety of organizations offer analyses and case studies that explore the theory and practice of civic media.

    The contributors set out the conceptual context for the intersection of civic and media; examine the pressure to innovate and the sustainability of innovation; explore play as a template for resistance; look at civic education; discuss media-enabled activism in communities; and consider methods and funding for civic media research. The case studies that round out each section range from a “debt resistance” movement to government service delivery ratings to the “It Gets Better” campaign aimed at combating suicide among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth. The book offers a valuable interdisciplinary dialogue on the challenges and opportunities of the increasingly influential space of civic media.

    • Hardcover $55.00 £45.00