Sensory accountability – data beyond the symbolic sandbox
Dietmar Offenhuber Associate Professor, Northeastern University
The methods of data driven urbanism are bound to the limits of symbolic representation - they can only begin when data already exist. As a result, data remain largely silent about the conditions and controversies around their creation and are disconnected from the phenomena they describe. Especially when discourses around pollution and environmental justice depend on data sets and computational models, they are frequently subject to questions of truthfulness, authority, and hidden biases. Under the notion of sensory accountability, I will discuss emerging visual and evidentiary practices that respond to these questions by identifying, revealing, and presenting physical traces of invisible phenomena - as a data source, but also to make the process of data collection accountable and the resulting models verifiable through the human senses.
The Lectures in Planning Series (LiPS) is an initiative of the Urban Planning program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.