Istanbul Design Biennial Collective Mapping Workshops (Link)

Design education is typically undertaken in isolation from the complexity and political nature of building and urban development. It lacks spatial agency and ways of designing in multi-party contexts. In response, this workshop series was conceived as an experimental lab for collaborative mapping practices, developed for the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial.

The curators of the Biennial ask: “What is the role of seen and unseen spatial information in learning?” Through experimental ways of collecting and layering spatial information, from field surveys to remote sensing and archival research of maps, the workshop introduces the practice of mapping as a way of creating and building the world as much as measuring, documenting and describing it. As a result, the workshops introduced alternative ways of designing through the cartographic process to more than 50 practitioners, researchers and current students. Building on this research through collaborative mapping workshops, Public Design Collaborative is working on a compendium of urban design guidelines for public spaces and the public realm in Istanbul. 

Collaborator: Daniel Swakman


Open-source Civic Engagement for Cities (Link)

Muhit.co is a platform we designed and developed that uses crowdsourcing and data mining to share citizen-generated data with neighborhood representatives and municipalities to provide input to masterplans and improve the quality of life in cities, deployed in several districts of Istanbul. The open source platform is free to use and sends monthly reports of analytics to each district authority.

Muhit is “to surround, enclose, contain, encircle, know completely”. The word is used in Turkish colloquially to mean both “neighborhood” and “community,” sometimes interchangibly. This project has been supported by a range of institutions including TechSoup Europe, Community Volunteers Foundation (TOG), MIT Legatum Center for Entrepreneurship in Development and the MIT Global Ideas Competition.

Collaborators: Daniel Swakman, Guney Can Gokoglu



Intergenerational Housing for NYC

Seniors are the fastest growing segment of New York City’s population.
According to the Department of City Planning, the number of New
Yorkers who are age 65 and older will increase by 40 percent to more
than 1.4 million by 2040. Seniors are more likely to be low-income, to be
rent-burdened, and to live on a fixed income than other city residents.
The Housing 2.0 Plan emphasizes the fact that many larger families face
significant rent burdens because of lack of affordable two and three
bedroom units.1 In response, the de Blasio Administration and HPD have
launched Seniors First to make more homes accessible to seniors and
people with disabilities. However, we think that rather than siloing our
aging citizens to senior-only housing enclaves, we can come up with
new typologies that bring together different generations and reflect the
diversity of New Yorkers’ needs. (Link)

Collaborator: Daniel Marshall



Zoning for Coastal Resiliency: Flood-Resilient Designs for New York City (Link)

As part of the NYC Deparment of City Planning’s ongoing climate resiliency initiatives, the city is working with coastal communities to update the special zoning regulations that apply in the 100 and 500 year floodplain. Hurricane Sandy was a 300-year storm. In this new paradigm, the city is hoping to make regulations promoting flood-resistant design permanent to ensure that neighborhoods are more resilient to flooding and storm surges in the future. As part of this initiative, I conducted geospatial and typological analysis of approximately 100,000 lots in the floodplain and proposed appropriate design solutions by typology. After determining appropriate typologies, our team devised flood resilient retrofitting strategies to future-proof the city’s floodplain to coastal.


Developed at the Civic Data Design Lab at MIT, Atlas of Lighting is an interactive mapping tool project allowing users to combine, isolate or cross-reference both quantitative and qualitative datasets, such as night lights data, development intensity, place density and median income, to get a clear view of how cities operate. (Link)