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iSchool Seminar: Social Computing to Enhance Public Engagement in Urban Design at Scale

29 Mar
Thursday, 03/29/2018 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Computer Science Building, Room 151
Speaker: Narges Mahyar

Abstract: In my research, I design, develop and evaluate novel social computing and visualization techniques to help both experts and novices reach better decisions on complex social problems. In this talk, I present two examples of my recent work to illustrate use of social computing for increasing public engagement in urban design. These examples demonstrate applications of 1) collaborative technologies and interactive visualization to enhance public engagement and 2) online platforms and crowdsourcing techniques to scale public participation and empower the public to contribute meaningfully in a short amount of time. I describe a vision for expanding my research on building novel tools for digital civics towards advanced stages of design process such as sensemaking of complex civic data and consensus building. I close with a discussion of how my work can be applied in other sociotechnical problems such as health informatics and learning sciences.

Bio:  Narges Mahyar is a postdoctoral fellow in the Design Lab at University of California San Diego. Her research falls at the intersection of social computing and design with the goal of augmenting groups' abilities to solve complex problems. She is interested in exploring new strategies for engaging the public in massive decision-making processes related to civic issues. Previously she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia where she designed and developed collaborative technology and visualization techniques for increasing public engagement in urban design. Her work received the honorable mention award from Interactive Surfaces and Spaces conference in 2016 and the outstanding paper award from Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture 2017. Her dissertation focused on designing visualization tools and interaction techniques to facilitate Collaborative Visual Analytics. She received the best paper award from IEEE VAST 2014 for her work on supporting collaborative sensemaking. She holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Victoria, an MS in Information Technology from the University of Malaya and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Tehran Azad University.

A reception for attendees will be held at 3:30 p.m. in CS 150

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