Zube Lecture with Narges Mahyar

Thursday, October 3, 2019 -
16:00 to 17:00
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DB 170
Event Description: 

Community-Centered Urban Design at Scale

Human-Centered Design (HCD) is a design philosophy that focuses on developing solutions to problems by involving the human perspective in all steps of the problem-solving process. In my research, I draw on HCD principles to design and develop community-centered computational tools with the goal of engaging the public in complex urban design decisions at scale. In this talk, I present examples of my work to illustrate the use of social computing and visualization for increasing public engagement in urban design. These examples demonstrate applications of 1) collaborative technologies and interactive visualization to enhance public engagement,  2) online platforms and crowdsourcing techniques to scale public participation, and empower the public to contribute meaningfully in a short amount of time, 3) low barrier technology such as iClickers to engage reticent participants to provide feedback during town hall meetings, and 4) visualization tools to enable civic leaders to better make sense of a large amount of public input. I describe a vision for expanding my research on building novel tools for digital civics towards advanced stages of the design process such as collaborative sensemaking of complex civic data and consensus-building.

Narges Mahyar is an Assistant Professor in the College of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Victoria, an MS in Information Technology from the University of Malaya and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Tehran Azad University. Her Ph.D. was funded by SAP Business Objects for four years, where she worked closely with SAP experts and research team to develop novel technologies for collaborative visual analytics tasks. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia from 2014-2016. Prior to joining UMass she completed a second postdoctoral fellowship in the Design Lab at the University of California San Diego from 2016-2018. Her research papers have received awards at the premier venues in Visualization, Social computing and Landscape Architecture including the outstanding paper award from the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture 2017, the honorable mention award from Interactive Surfaces and Spaces conference in 2016 and the best paper award from IEEE VAST 2014.