Goodbye 2016; Hello 2017

Because the Internet doesn't have enough end-of-year posts, I figured I should wrap up 2016 in a tidy little updates package secured with a note on things-to-come-in-2017 ribbon bow. Here goes.

Once again, you'll find me on the third floor of Buell Hall.

Once again, you'll find me on the third floor of Buell Hall.

By far, the most substantial change and opportunity this past year was the start of a new position at Columbia's GSAPP when I joined the faculty in July as Assistant Professor in the Urban Planning Program. The fall was mostly getting settled, curriculum development for the program's Urban Analytics concentration, and beginning to scope out new research and courses. This new role, of course, comes at the end of three wonderful years with the Barnard and Columbia Colleges Architecture Department—three years for which I will always be grateful. At Barnard I learned more about teaching than I could've anticipated, while also developing research collaborations and gaining experience I'll carry into the long-term foreseeable future.

With Gergely Baics, 2016 saw a handful of new research developments and milestones for our ongoing work with historical GIS on land use patterns and urban morphology in midnineteenth-century New York. "Zoning before Zoning" was published in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers and later covered by Richard Florida in the Atlantic's CityLab. We presented new research at the Urban History Association conference, and another paper is in review. Additionally, we began a new body of HGIS work, with Mikkel Thelle at Aarhus University, on urban mobility and class in turn-of-the-century Copenhagen. Lastly (while not an update of my own), I'm very happy to celebrate and recommend Baics's new book Feeding Gotham which was released this year and named one of the years best books in history by Fortune

Beyond HGIS research, 2016 was certainly my year in Copenhagen. Cher (with C Blanchfield, G Cummings, J Kolb, and F Lofti-Jam) was selected and commissioned in January by the Oslo Architecture Triennale as a year-long intervention and investigation into the nature of the platform economy generally and home-sharing specifically. Through a research and engagement process of visits, meetings, workshops, an alpha test with focus groups, talks, and events, the "platform-as-provocation" launched in September alongside an installation at the Triennale in Norway at the National Museum of Architecture. 

This year also brought with it two expanding pedagogy opportunities—that is, two chances to consider teaching what I teach beyond my typical students. (1) With the Center for Justice, I developed and launched the Rikers Studio in Architecture and Urban Planning, a repeated four-week workshop for teenagers at Rikers Island as well as Columbia students. (2) With the Center for Spatial Research, I codeveloped and taught Mapping for the Urban Humanities, a boot camp of sorts for Columbia faculty looking to broaden their research methods and approaches with spatial technologies.

I was also privileged to speak and participate in some absolutely phenomenal discussions on a variety of topics this year. A small sampling includes talking about Datascapes and pluralistic approaches to urban mapping at the London School of Economics and the AIA Center for Architecture, about modes of spatial practice at Storefront for Art & Architecture and the Venice Biennale, about the sharing economy at the Met Breuer, about constructed social landscapes with Leslie Hewitt at the SculptureCenter, and about leadership in research and practice at the Columbia Women's Leadership Forum.

Upcoming in 2017: I've received a grant from Columbia's Provost office to begin exploratory research on GIS-based methods for describing differential experiences of space in pluralistic cities. The project DISTANCED: Intersectionality and Gendered Experiences of American Urban Space will begin this spring and continue through the year. I'll return to full-load teaching this semester with a brand new take on the planners' required Introduction to GIS (#IntroGIS) course and a revamping of my Digital Restructuring of Urban Space (#DigitalRestructuring) seminar. (Seriously, follow the hashtags on twitter this semester!) And, of course, much of what I've done this past year is groundwork laid for ongoing projects, ongoing teaching, and ongoing research.

Much more to come. Happy New Year.