ARC 626 – Biased by Design

Instructor: Mark Shepard
ARC 626
Spring 2022


In the drive toward an ever more optimal, efficient and sustainable urban environments, notions of algorithmic governance increasingly appear in discourse on smart cities and intelligent urbanism. Machine learning systems and their attendant extractive data practices are frequently cited both for their potential to make cities better places to live and their tendency to do harm by further exacerbating existing social and environmental injustice. Some champion the application of machine learning to environmental monitoring and traffic control, for instance, whereby threats to (and inconveniences of) urban life can be better anticipated and managed. Others point to the emergence of an urban-scale data determinism at work in forms of anticipatory governance such as predictive policing, whereby discriminatory algorithms calculate crime risk scores for different urban areas in order to optimize the allocation of law enforcement resources. This seminar will survey forms of algorithmic governance and the various kinds of bias embedded within so-called smart urban systems and infrastructure. Through a series of readings, case studies, presentations and discussions, students will develop critical positions vis-à-vis the deployment of contemporary technologies within urban environments and their corresponding impact on urban life.

ARC 605 – Fidelity and Tolerance

Instructor: Nicholas Bruscia | Type: Studio
This studio will research the potential advantages and pitfalls of integrating mixed reality (MR) into well-established methods of handwork in a variety of contexts (local craft, manufacturing workflow, material production, etc).

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ARC 625 – Fabricating the Real

Instructor: Mark Shepard | Type: Seminar
This course surveys the cultural history of VR, AR and MR, focusing on their ontological and epistemological implications regarding conceptions of “the real.”

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ARC 617 – Fusing Dimensions

Instructors: Randy Fernando and Shawn Chiki
Type: Seminar
This course utilizes experiential learning methods to address how designers can interface the
nuances of real and virtual environments during the creative process.

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