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Laura Kurgan

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Laura Kurgan is a Professor of Architecture at the Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation at Columbia University, where she directs the Center for Spatial Research, the Master's in Science in Computational Design Practices, and the Visual Studies curriculum.

She is the author of Close Up at a Distance: Mapping, Technology, and Politics (Zone Books, 2013). Her work explores the ethics and politics of digital mapping and its technologies; the art, science and visualization of big and small data; and design environments for public engagement with maps and data. From 2004 - 2015, she founded and directed the Spatial Information Design Lab at GSAPP. The SIDL "Million Dollar Blocks" project is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and her work has also been shown at Palais De Tokyo and the Fondation Cartier in Paris, MACBa in Barcelona and the ZKM in Karlsruhe. In 2009, Kurgan was awarded a United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship. 

Adeline Chum

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Adeline Chum is Assistant Director of the Center for Spatial Research. She has worked in architecture firms in both Toronto, New York, and London prior to joining the lab. In her current work, she is interested in land use productivity and is critical of the relationship between forest land, wildlife reserves, sites of extraction and infrastructure.

She received her MArch from Columbia, GSAPP, where she has received the GSAPP Visualization Award, William Kinne Fellows Travelling Prize and the 'Avery 6' Award.

Dan Miller

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Dan Miller is a Senior Research Associate at the Center for Spatial Research, where he brings experience in critical, historical GIS and digital mapmaking to the Mapping Historical New York project. Dan uses maps to examine, deepen, or augment understanding of events, communities, and landscapes—historical, ecological, social, and digital.

His work predominantly explores methodologies, collaborative processes, and tools that engage or activate data and media toward spatial justice. Prior to joining the CSR, Dan managed human rights and spatial analysis casework at Brooklyn-based architectural practice SITU as well as access to and visualization of historical US Census data at Social Explorer. He has contributed to work exhibited at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Yale University Art Gallery, and he has taught methods in environmental and urban sociology at Queens College CUNY.

Zoe Lin

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Zoe Lin is a Research Associate at the Center for Spatial Research, contributing to the Mapping Historical New York project. She is interested in the intersection of data and society, particularly in incorporating human consideration and feedback through grounded observations of the data’s locality.

With an M.S. in Computational Design Practices from Columbia GSAPP, where she received the Honour Award for Outstanding Capstone, she brings an interdisciplinary perspective, rooted in Cognitive Science, to her research. Before joining the CSR, Zoe was a Research Fellow for the Digital Life Initiative at Cornell Tech, working on the design and development of Reward Reports, a new AI Documentation framework, and served as a Data Analyst Fellow at the Downtown Alliance.

Wei Xiao

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Wei Xiao is a Graduate Research Assistant at the Center for Spatial Research. He is currently pursuing his dual degree in architecture and urban planning at Columbia GSAPP with a concentration in urban analytics. Before joining Columbia GSAPP, he graduated with honors from Rhode Island School of Design with a dual degree in architecture and fine arts. He has professional experience working in architecture, urban planning, and consulting firms in both the United States and China.

Virginia Zangs

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Virginia is a Graduate Research Assistant at CSR, specializing in the M.S. Computational Design Practices program at GSAPP. Deeply committed to the confluence of architecture, design, and technology, her research and design practice explores the transformative capacities of architecture and computational design from the micro- to the macroscale contributing to and initiating a viable present and future.

With a background in architecture and research, Virginia intends to critically navigate and expand upon the intersections of Architecture and Technology; as a method, concept, and practice - as an active multi-scalar model, a growing metabolism, of designing, shaping, and rendering notions of space, time, & ideology.

She is particularly interested in how Computational Design can be used to create new models and strategies to address the pressing challenges resulting of our world constituted of many complex interdependent adaptive systems, based on the intricate co-evolutionary relationship of societies, environments, politics, and technologies. As she confronts the intricacies of the past, negotiates the present, and anticipates the future, Virginia is interested in exploring new forms of computational design and architecture. These forms promote self-adaptive complex systems, new collaborative models and embrace interspecies design. Virginia’s aspiration is to expand the architecture discipline, for a viable society and planetarity.

Over the past year, Virginia has worked in Berkeley and Berlin, diving into AI research, emergent technologies, speculative design and architecture. Her diverse career includes collaborations with design studios and institutions like Strelka Insitute, WAA - Wiel Arets Architects, Herzog & de Meuron, OMA AMO, MoMA and the Architekturmuseum TUM. She holds a Masters in Architecture focusing on Cultural Heritage History and Criticism and a BA in Architecture from the Technical University Munich.

Will Cao

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Will Cao is a Graduate Research Assistant at the Center of Spatial Research, where he will continue work on the Atlas of Migration to map and visualize the paths taken by migratory communities across Africa.

He has previously contributed to data-based research and visualization on the topics of segregation, commutes, and paramilitary conflict at CSR and the Urban Planning Department at GSAPP. He will graduate with an MArch and M.S. Urban Planning from Columbia GSAPP in 2024.

Hongqian Li

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​​Hongqian Li is a Graduate Research Assistant at the Center for Spatial Research and computational design student at the Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation at Columbia University. He works at the intersection of spatial design, data visualization, and human-computer interaction to improve urban quality of life.

Steering Committee

Name Sort descending Title Affiliation
Anupama Rao Associate Professor History, Barnard College
Avinoam Shalem Riggio Professor of the History of the Arts of Islam Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University
Claudio Lomnitz Campbell Family Professor of Anthropology Anthropology, Columbia University
Farah Jasmine Griffin Chair and William B. Ransford Professor Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, Department of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University
Frances Negrón-Muntaner Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Co-PI Mellon Architecture, Urbanism and the Humanities Initiative, 2018-present Department of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University
Laura Kurgan Director of Master's in Science in Compurataion Design Practices and Center for Spatial Research, PI Mellon Architecture, Urbanism and the Humanities Initiative, and Professsor Architecture, Columbia University
Manan Ahmed Associate Professor History, Columbia University
Marguerite Holloway Associate Professor of Professional Practice and Director Science and Environmental Journalism, Columbia Journalism School
Mark Wigley Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation Architecture, Columbia University
Sharon Marcus CSR Co-Principal Investigator, Dean of Humanities, Orlando Harriman Professor English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University
Timothy Mitchell William B Ransford Professor of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, Columbia University

Past Researchers

Name Sort descending Title Dates
Adam Vosburgh Graduate Teaching Assistant -
Aja Maria Hazelhof Graduate Research Assistant -
Andrea Molina Graduate Research Assistant -
Annelie Berner Research Associate -
Brian Brush Graduate Research Assistant -
Brian House Mellon Associate Research Scholar -
Caitlin Fitzpatrick Graduate Research Assistant -
Camille Esquivel Graduate Research Assisant -
Candy Chang Graduate Research Assistant -
Carsten Rodin Graduate Research Assistant -
Caspar Lam Research Associate -
Chris Simi Graduate Research Assistant -
Dan Taeyoung Research Associate -
Danielle Berger Graduate Research Assistant -
Dare Brawley Associate Director -
David Reinfurt Graphic Designer -
Deborah Grossberg Katz Research Associate -
Derek Watkins Research Associate -
Eric Cadora Consultant -
Eric Pietraszkiewicz Graduate Research Assistant -
Fatima Abdul-Nabi Graduate Research Assistant -
Francis Tan Graduate Research Assistant -
Georgia Bullen Research Associate -
Gitanjali Dadlani Graduate Research Assistant -
Glória Serra Coch Graduate Research Assistant -
Greta Byrum Teaching Assistant -
Grga Basic Associate Research Scholar -
Guangyu Wu Associate Research Scholar -
Jeevan Farias Research Assistant -
Jen Lowe Research Associate -
Jenna Miller Graduate Research Assistant -
Jia Zhang Mellon Associate Research Scholar -
Jochen Hartmann Data & Design -
Johnna Cressica Brazier Graduate Research Assistant -
Jorge Ubaldo Colin Pescina Graduate Research Assistant -
Juan Francisco Saldarriaga Research Associate -
Juan Moreno Mellon Associate Research Scholar -
Kyu-won Lee Graduate Research Assistant -
Laura Jay Graduate Research Assistant -
Laura Lee Graduate Research Assistant -
Laura Poulsen Graduate Research Assistant -
Leah Meisterlin GIS Teaching Assistant, Graduate Research Assistant -
Li-Chi Wang Graduate Research Assistant -
Lucia Rebolino Graduate Research Assistant -
Madeeha Merchant Research Associate -
Maria Doku Graduate Research Assistant -
Michael James Storm Graduate Research Assistant -
Michelle McSweeney Mellon Associate Research Scholar -
Mike Howard Graduate Research Assistant -
Minna Ninova Graduate Research Assistant -
Mondrian Hsieh Graduate Research Assistant -
Nadine Fattaleh Graduate Research Assisant -
Nelson De Jesus Ubri Graduate Research Assisant -
Nick Klein Research Associate -
Nikhil Jain Research Assistant -
Noa Younse Graduate Research Assistant -
Patrick Li Graduate Research Assistant -
Paul J. Berg Graduate Research Assistant -
Pippa Brashear Graduate Research Assistant -
Robert Gerard Pietrusko Research Associate -
Ruthie King Graduate Research Assistant -
Sarah Williams Co-Director 2007-2012 -
Serena Deng Graduate Research Assistant -
Spenser A. Krut Graduate Research Assisant -
Stella Ioannidou Graduate Research Assistant -
Stewart Smith Research Associate -
Therese Diede Graduate Research Assistant -
Tiffany Rattray Graduate Research Assistant -
Tola Oniyangi Graduate Research Assistant -
Tse-Hui Teh Graduate Research Assistant -
Violet Whitney Graduate Research Assistant -
Wright Kennedy Associate Research Scholar -