Eric Robsky Huntley is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia GSAPP and a Lecturer in Urban Science and Planning in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. They have also held academic posts in the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Department of Landscape Architecture.
Huntley is a geographer and designer who builds maps and tools alongside movements for social justice. Their work centers on a methodology they call, building on Laura Nader’s work, ‘mapping up’. They contend that planning and the critical social sciences have tended to favor an analysis of the conditions of life and lived experiences of oppressed people, rather than mapping the networks of exchange and expertise that produce, permit, and perpetuate oppressions.
Currently, they are developing this argument through three lines of inquiry: first, they are mapping the economic geography of the Canadian extractive industries, treating trade shows and conference floors as important sites in the making of the ‘planetary mine.’ (This project is supported by the Antipode Foundation and is a collaboration with Graphe, Beyond Extraction, and the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network.) Second, they are also building mapping tools to support tenant organizing in Massachusetts. Though built with activists, these tools advance a novel approach to a chronic problem in housing studies: they use machine learning entity detection methods to identify landlords who operate under multiple names, making it possible to analyze the role of large, institutional property owners in producing housing precarity and displacement.
Finally, they are also PI on a project with Catherine D'Ignazio’s Data + Feminism Lab, building educational materials and prototyping mapping tools for young learners. A collaboration with the Leventhal Map and Education Center at the Boston Public Library, the team is challenging conventional data literacy approaches by 1) folding in insights from critical and feminist data studies and 2) using entirely free and open-source software.
An award-winning teacher, Robsky Huntley teaches courses centered on GIS, spatial database design, spatial statistics, mapping, and history and theory. Their research has been published in the Annals of the American Association of Geographers and the American Journal of Epidemiology (the latter paper winning that journal’s 2020 Article of the Year award).
They hold a PhD in Geography from the University of Kentucky, a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performing Arts Technology, also from Michigan. They are a co-director of Graphe, a collective of critical scholars, practitioners, and teachers who understand maps as interventions in support of movements for justice and a research affiliate of the Data + Feminism lab at MIT DUSP.