Laura Kurgan is Professor of Architecture at the Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation at Columbia University, where she directs the Master’s in Science in Computational Design Practices, (MS_CDP) the Center for Spatial Research, (CSR) and coordinates the Visual Studies curriculum. She is the author of Close Up at a Distance: Mapping, Technology, and Politics (Zone Books, 2013), and Co-Editor of Ways of Knowing Cities (Columbia Books on Architecture, 2019). From 2004 through 2015, she founded and directed the Spatial Information Design Lab (SIDL) at GSAPP.
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. CSR work has been exhibited internationally, at the Chicago Architecture Biennial (2019), at the Biennale Architettura di Venezia 2018, in the Jerome L. Greene Science Center at Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute 2017, at the Istanbul Design Biennial 2016, at the Oslo Architecture Triennale 2016 and at Palais De Tokyo 2016. Kurgan’s work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Fondation Cartier in Paris. Her writings have been published widely, including articles in e-Flux, the Harvard Design Magazine, Grey Room, Volume, and Architectural Design.
For her work as a designer, Kurgan was awarded a United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship, in 2009, and she was named a Game Changer by Metropolis in 2012. As Director of the Center for Spatial Research and the Spatial Information Design Lab, she has been Principal Investigator on research supported by the Open Society Foundations, the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W Mellon Foundation, and the Gardiner Foundation. Current topics of her research at CSR include justice mapping, conflict urbanism, spatial inequality, algorithms and social justice, and historical New York City.