Big Data Visualization and Society Exhibition Opens

November 18, 2016
An exhibition showcasing student work from the Civic Data Design Lab’s Spring 2016 “Big Data, Visualization and Society” course opened November 17 at MIT’s Keller Gallery. The exhibition, “Riyadh: Big Data Visualization and Society” includes a touch screen display for visitors to interact with the six projects. Students, faculty, and staff from MIT and the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) gathered for a reception celebrating the opening of the exhibition.

The Course
The “Big Data, Visualization, and Society” course investigates urban policy questions through contemporary data analysis and representation methodologies. In Spring 2016 students explored questions that focused on the possible social implications caused by the introduction of a new metro and bus system in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The development of the system is motivated by the rapidly growing population demand (e.g. Riyadh’s population has doubled in the last 15 years). When complete, Riyadh’s transportation system will be the largest urban public transportation project in the world. Developed in a city where there was no previous public transport, it will include the rapid integration of 6 metro lines (87 stations), 24 bus routes (nearly 4,000 bus stops), and 20 parking stations.

In a city dominated by cars, with no pedestrian infrastructure, and where women cannot drive, the introduction of the public transportation system will transform the urban and social dynamics of Riyadh. Students in the class worked with cell phone and social media data provided by the city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to visualize policy questions around the development of Riyadh’s transportation network.

The Exhibition
Will be on display through December 30, 2016. The exhibition showcases the student work from the Spring 2016 course, Big Data, Visualization, and Society, taught by Sarah Williams, Michael Foster (Department of Urban Studies and Planning) and Carlos Sandoval Olascoaga (PhD Student in Computation, Department of Architecture). The exhibition is curated by Sarah Williams and Carlos Sandoval Olascoaga with assistance from Lucy Liu, Waishan Qiu, and Wenzhe Peng. Students analyzed the data with support from MIT’s Civic Data Design Lab (CDDL), HumNet Lab (Marta Gonzalez and Shan Jiang), Center for Complex Engineering (CCES) and the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST). Thanks to Irina Chernyakova, Christopher B. Dewart, Jack Mauch, Kathy Paras, and Virat Shukla for production support, MIT’s Center for Complex Engineering for funding support, and members of KACST who assisted with the course development and funding support (Dr. Mansour Alsaleh and Dr. Areej Alwabil, Almaha Adnan Almalki, Salma Aldawood, and Tariq Alhindi).  

Jonathan Campbell, MCP ‘16; Sergio Galaz Garcia, M.Arch ’17; Dennis Harvey, MCP ’17; Cortni Kerr, MCP ‘17; Elaine Kim, MCP ‘17; Brandon Peterson, MCP ’17; Corinna Li, MCP/MST ‘16; Weiqian Liu, M.Arch ‘16; Scott Margeson, MCP ‘17; Luke Mich, MCP ‘17; Waishan Qiu, MCP ‘17; Shin Bin Tan, MCP ‘17; Xu Zhang, M.Arch ‘17.

Photo Credits
Waishan Qui