Sarah Williams is a pioneer of using mapping and data visualization techniques to uncover hidden and often surprising facts about the contemporary city. Her work exposes social ills in desperate need of design solutions. With expertise spanning the representation of digital information, mapping, ecological design and urban planning, her research focuses on the intersection of technology and the urban realm, with a particular focus on using mobile computing to help better understand urban spaces.
As the director of Columbia University’s Spatial Information Design Lab (SIDL), Sarah connects mapping and representation techniques to highlight urban issues. Her team’s innovative work has been widely exhibited, including recent shows at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA) and the Venice Biennale.
Before becoming Director of SIDL, Williams was at MIT where she started the Geographic Information System (GIS) Laboratory, and then helped to establish MIT’s SENSEable City Laboratory. Williams was a programmer for one of the first desktop GIS systems, IDRISI. She is also faculty at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) and was recently named a “2012 Game Changer” by Metropolis magazine.
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