PhD Research - 'Designing Democracy in the Data City'

A research exploring how designers can find new agency within the digital data deluge in today’s cities, by critically adopting a data-driven approach in order to instigate social change and restore power equilibriums in the design and development of the built environment.

Timeline:

Feb 2014 - Feb 2018

Institution:

Royal College of Art - School of Architecture

Funding:

EU Marie Curie FP7 Multi-ITN - TRADERS ('Training Art and Design Researchers for Participation in Public Space')

The emergence of Big Data and data mining have provoked a debate on the role of data collection and analysis in many fields, including architecture. In the PhD I explore the potentials of a data-driven approach for architectural and urban design aimed at citizen empowerment in the design of, and decision-making on, public space. By deconstructing and scrutinising different notions emerging from this data deluge - such as smart cities, algorithms and civic applications- I aim to explore how a data-driven approach could function as an emancipatory tool aimed at supporting social justice, offering equal access to public space and increasing democracy in development processes for the built environment.

 Data analysis of meta-data of a civic application - research and visuals by Saba Golchehr ©