User-driven social innovation and open source urbanism

Laura Forlano’s research is focused on the intersection between emerging technologies, material practices and the future of cities. Specifically, she writes about emergent forms of organizing and urbanism enabled by mobile, wireless and ubiquitous computing technologies with an emphasis on the socio-technical practices and spaces of innovation. Laura was part of the Open Critical Design Session together with Lisa Ma, Luiza Prado and Pedro Oliveira.

Laura Forlano is a writer, design researcher and founder of Mobile Atelier. She is an Assistant Professor of Design at the Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology. From 2012-2013, she was a Visiting Scholar in the Comparative Media Studies program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 2012-2013. One of Forlano’s current projects, “Designing Digital Networks for Urban Public Space,” in collaboration with Anijo Mathew (IIT) is focused on the use of urban technology for citizen engagement. Another project, “Design Collaborations as Sociotechnical Systems,” which was funded by the National Science Foundation, is an international comparative study that focuses on the role of technology in supporting networks of designers in New York, Barcelona and Brisbane. Forlano was part of a collaborative project “Breakout! Escape from the Office” that was included in The Architecture League of New York’s Toward the Sentient City exhibition in 2009. She is co-editor with Marcus Foth, Christine Satchell and Martin Gibbs of From Social Butterfly to Engaged Citizen: Urban Informatics, Social Media, Ubiquitous Computing, and Mobile Technology to Support Citizen Engagement, which was published by MIT Press in 2011. Forlano’s research and writing has been published in peer-reviewed journals including First Monday, The Information Society, Journal of Community Informatics, IEEE Pervasive Computing, Design Issues and Science and Public Policy. She has published chapters for books including editor Mark Shepard’s Sentient City: Ubiquitous Computing, Architecture, and the Future of Urban Space (MIT Press 2011) and The Architecture League of New York’s Situated Technologies pamphlet series and is a regular contributor to their Urban Omnibus blog. She received her Ph.D. in communications from Columbia University.