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Innovation Lecture Series

Innovation Lecture Series

CIDI's Innovation Conversation Lecture series offers lectures from today's leading thinkers about a wide range of topics for policy experts, city officials and researchers. CIDI aims to create a platform for engaging discussions, leveraging innovative thinking, and inspiring change.

January 28, 2021

Abby Covert
Information Architect, Writer and Community organizer

Make More Sense
In this lecture, information architect and author Abby Covert introduced the concept of sensemaking and the challenges inherent in making things that make sense to other people. Using her information architecture and teaching work as a throughline, Abby shared what she has learned about the skills that you need to get better at in order to make more sense and leave you with tools and ideas for improving your own sensemaking.

December 10, 2020

Nadja Popovich
Data and Graphics Reporter, New York Times

How Racist Housing Policies Left Some Neighborhoods More Exposed to Global Warming
In a recent feature, The New York Times explored how redlining and other racist urban planning policies helped reshape the landscape of U.S. cities, leaving many communities of color more vulnerable to rising heat. Co-author Nadja Popovich joined us to talk about the research behind the piece and how visual storytelling helped convey it to a broad audience.

June 2, 2020

Catherine D’Ignazio
Data + Feminism Lab, MIT

Catherine D’Ignazio gave a presentation about Data & Power – Ensuring Equity in Digital Products and Services. This talk makes the case that we cannot understand algorithmic bias without understanding unequal power structures that precede the data and the algorithms. As data are increasingly mobilized in the service of governments and corporations, their unequal conditions of production, their asymmetrical methods of application, and their unequal effects on individuals and groups have become increasingly difficult to ignore. It is precisely this power that makes it worth asking: "Data science by whom? Data science for whom? Data science with whose interests in mind?" These are some of the questions that Catherine and Lauren F. Klein addressed in their  book titled "Data Feminism". 

The lecture highlighted the book and featured principles stemming from intersectional feminist thought that can help us use data to mitigate existing inequalities and to create more ethical and equitable data products.

October 19, 2017

Stonly Baptiste
Urban-X, New York City

Creating Smarter Cities
Challenges for cities facing an increasingly urban world are everywhere from transportation, pollution and resource management. In the meantime, data explosion from various sources led many people to think these challenges would be solved easily. Lack of funding and lack of tools has made the realization of those promises harder than anticipated. In this panel discussion lead by Stonly Baptiste, from the real-life examples of start-ups, panelists will explore using real time city scale data and machine learning to make data actionable. They will also explore how and why Urban Us funds and URBAN-X accelerates startups who are invited to this panel. Participants will walk away with insights on the cutting edge of using data to make cities smarter and the funding strategy making it possible.

March 29, 2017

Jer Thorp
New York City

Living in Data
What is it like to live in data? To be a human in a world where every action is instrumented, where our jobs and our families and our love lives are increasingly quantified? In this session, Jer Thorp, National Geographic Explorer and former data artist in residence at The New York Times, will share a series of projects by The Office for Creative Research which examine the fast-changing relationship between data and culture. From visualizations to performances and public art, Jer will explore ways in which we can bring data closer to humans, and propose ways that we can all work to make a more livable data world.

October 27, 2016

Matthew Lister
New York City

Putting Public Life back into Public Space
Matthew Lister gave a presentation about how Gehl Studio collects and uses public life data to inform the design and development of people-first cities. He showed examples from several cities where they have worked around the world.

June 2, 2016

Mahir Yavuz
New York City

Data Visualization Projects for Cities and Citizens
Mahir Yavuz discussed his research and his artistic data visualization projects related to cities and citizens. The lecture highlighted the role and function of data visualization as an artistic method by introducing practical ways of seeing, modeling and utilizing data.

Starting with some custom mapping projects such as GeoCity Linz, Creative PlaceMaking system, Vienna Energy Display and Sense of Patterns, Yavuz shared his insights about how to create custom maps as well as discuss the reasons and motivations for using a mapping service vs. building a custom mapping framework.

In addition to the mapping projects, Yavuz shared his insights about his public space intervention projects on citizens such as his data visualization wearable project "Newsknitter" and "United Colors of Dissent" - a platform that facilitates real-time data-driven performances in public places using mobile devices and public displays.

February 25, 2015

Manuel Lima
New York City

Visualization Metaphors: Unraveling the Big Picture
This talk explored the evolution of representing information from hierarchical tree structures to networks in order to visualize complexities of our modern world. This talk is tied to Manuel Lima's recent publication: "The Book of Trees: Visualizing Branches of Knowledge". His book reveals origins of structuring knowledge and recent emergence of visual models through the lens of tree-like diagrams.

September 25, 2014

Giorgia Lupi
Accurat, Milan, New York City

New Aesthetics for Data Narrative

  • Can aesthetic elements of data-visualization be considered as important as the data itself in helping readers get interested about a topic, triggering their curiosity to explore more?
  • Can we start considering and conceiving pure aesthetic features not only as an ornamental attribute within a data-driven visual story?
  • Why should a reader not be able to find data-visualization both intellectually compelling and emotionally rich?
  • Giorgia shared exploratory approaches to compose data-driven visualizations that can tell multiple interplaying stories and achieve visually viable results. This talk outlined the information design process from the very first idea to the final results in different data visualization projects. To support this, she presented backstage materials such as sketches and introduced some of our recent work. I will explain in detail how mixed skillsets (designers, sociologists, data analysts and software engineers) within a team generate new possibilities for ongoing creativity and research in the field.

June 21, 2012

Dr. Sarah Williams
Columbia University, New York City

Data for Public Good: Towards a Practice of Critical Data Visualization
In this talk Sarah Williams presented several projects from her work that illustrated Critical Data Visualization. This included "Million Dollar Blocks," which exposes the inequity in criminal justice resource allocation. Data visualizations in this project show that we spend millions of dollars to incarcerate people from some city blocks, while the neighborhoods containing those blocks receive limited funds to address the systemic issues that lead to these high incarceration rates. A more recent project, called "Industry in Motion," looks at how we can use social media as a research tool to trace the relevance of New York City's Garment District, an industrial district in decline and slated for rezoning/reconfiguration. In this project, cell phone data and a social media application, Foursquare, was employed to collect the real-time movements of garment industry design workers to determine the daily activities in the district. This project shows that although New York City's Garment District has experienced an 81% loss in apparel businesses since 1980, the way this district operates day-to-day is still important to the economy of the apparel industry in the New York region.

April 19, 2012

Dr. David Madigan
Columbia University, New York City

Big-Data-Driven Medicine
In our data-rich world, key medical decisions, ranging from a regulator's decision to curtail a drug to patient-specific treatment choices require optimal consideration of myriad inputs. Statistical/epidemiological methods that can harness real-world medical data in useful ways do exist, but much work remains to achieve the full potential of a truly data-driven medical environment. David Madigan laid out some of the key challenges before us and described recent progress in the specific area of drug safety.