Data at the Crossroads

Can technology and data support empowerment? Data at the Crossroads panelists reflect on algorithmic decision making in design and planning and how human experiences translate into data. This event includes researchers from SCI-Arc, the Institute for Housing Studies, and Google AMI. It features projects that deploy machine learning and data analysis in relation to land use and dwelling types, aid policymakers’ ability to forsee displacement, and develop new materials for low-income housing. Panelist for this program include: critic, editor, and curator, Mimi Zeiger; designer and algorithmic consultant, M. Casey Rehm; Senior Research Associate at SCI-Arc, Masha Hupalo; and Executive Director of the Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University, Geoff Smith.

This program is presented in partnership with Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc).


Mimi Zeiger is a Los Angeles-based critic, editor, and curator. She was co-curator of the U.S. Pavilion for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale and curator of Soft Schindler at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture. She has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Architectural Review, Metropolis, and Architect and is an opinion columnist for Dezeen. Zeiger is the 2015 recipient of the Bradford Williams Medal for excellence in writing about landscape architecture. Zeiger is author of New Museums, Tiny Houses, Micro Green: Tiny Houses in Nature, and Tiny Houses in the City. In 1997, Zeiger founded loud paper, an influential zine and digital publication dedicated to increasing the volume of architectural discourse. She has curated, contributed to, and collaborated on projects that have been shown at the Art Institute Chicago, Venice Architecture Biennale, the New Museum, Storefront for Art and Architecture, pinkcomma gallery, and the AA School. She co-curated Now, There: Scenes from the Post-Geographic City, which received the Bronze Dragon award at the 2015 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture, Shenzhen. Zeiger has taught at the School of Visual Art, Art Center, Parsons New School of Design, California College of the Arts (CCA), SCI-Arc, Sandberg Institute, and the GSD, and is former co-president of the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design.

She holds a Master of Architecture degree from SCI-Arc and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University.


M. Casey Rehm is a designer and algorithmic consultant based in Los Angeles. He received a MSAAD from Columbia University in 2009 and his B.Arch from Carnegie Mellon University in 2005. He has over ten years of architectural experience, working for firms in New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, and London. Both his architectural and interactive media work has been exhibited domestically and internationaly. In addition to his professional experience, Rehm has been a full time faculty member at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, assisted studios at Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Pratt Institute and taught workshops at The University of Kentucky. Currently he teaches graduate design studios and seminars in programming and robotics in design at SCI-Arc.


Masha Hupalo is interested in the ways policy and big data inform planning and design, the legal construct of territory and borders, and new forms of urbanization. Currently, she coordinates research projects and teaches design studios and seminars at SCI-Arc. She received her doctoral degree at Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark. In her research project, she investigated the potential of parking policies and requirements to influence urban configurations and speculative nature of planning documentation. She worked in architectural practices in Vienna, took part in several group exhibitions in Europe and Asia. She received her M.S in Architecture from Saint-Petersburg State University of Architecture, Russia and her M.A. in Social Design from University of Applied Arts in Vienna.


Geoff Smith is the Executive Director of the Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University. To this role, he brings years of experience producing research on the dynamics of neighborhood housing markets and connecting that research to a broad range of housing practitioners. Under Geoff’s leadership, IHS has positioned itself as a critical resource for timely research, policy analysis and data that inform the local and national policy debates around neighborhood stability and the preservation and production of affordable rental housing. Prior to joining IHS, Geoff was Senior Vice President of Woodstock Institute where he led Woodstock’s research examining the economic health of neighborhood housing markets and factors that threaten the financial security of economically vulnerable communities. He has co-authored research published in journals including Housing Policy Debate and Urban Affairs Review; testified on mortgage lending issues and community reinvestment policy at hearings held by the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, the Federal Reserve Board, the State of Illinois Department of Professional Regulation, and the Chicago City Council. He has been quoted in publications such as USA Today and the Wall Street Journal and has appeared on shows such as the NBC Nightly News and Chicago Tonight. Geoff frequently comments on housing issues in the Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago Business, Chicago Public Radio, and other media outlets. Geoff received a B.S. in Geography from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master in Geography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Chicago Architecture Biennial's InDialogue Series is supported by Hindman Auctions.

Hindman, an internationally recognized fine art auction house, offers its clients an unyielding focus on service and holistic solutions to connect to the global art market. Hindman conducts over 100 auctions annually in 52 collecting categories such as fine art, jewelry, modern design, books and manuscripts, furniture, native American art, decorative arts, antiquities, couture, and Asian works of art. Founded and headquartered in Chicago, Hindman is now represented in 13 cities in the United States and operates five salerooms, more than any other auction house in the country.

Data at the Crossroads, 2021. Image courtesy of Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc).