Improvising with Infrastructure: The City, the Data, and the Design. A lecture by Dietmar Offenhuber and Katja Schechtner

1 July 2016


As part of the Moscow Urban Forum, Dietmar Offenhuber and Katja Schechtner of Massachusetts Institute of Technology will discuss the role of design in improving everyday life for the urban citizen.

After many years studying how urban infrastructure influences the social activity of city–dwellers, Offenhuber and Schechtner are convinced of the importance of design in improving standards of living. Examples include: a project in which trashcans accumulate solar energy which is then used to provide wireless networks in public areas; and an interactive LCD installed on the façade of a building in Linz, Austria, which collects and displays statistics associated with citizens’ complaints, including about the inactivity of the authorities. 

The lecture will focus on the importance of urban design, the range of problems it can address, and the position of city officials in relation to it.


Dietmar Offenhuber is a research fellow in the Senseable City Lab at the Department for Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, USA). In his research, he focuses on the methods of urban planning and civil discourse, paying special attention to the role of visualization and presentation, which he has devoted his three books to. Along with that, his professional interests embrace the strictly urban problems of a coherent urban environment and garbage utilization. Offenhuber holds a Diploma Engineer Degree in Architecture from Technical University Vienna and a Master in Media Arts and Sciences from the MIT Lab, where he is also a doctoral candidate. He was professor at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Media Art Research, a researcher at the Ars Electronica Future Lab (Linz, Austria), and taught Interface Culture at the Art University Linz. Offenhuber exhibited his artworks at the Sundance Film Festival, the Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Centre Georges Pompidou, and other venues. He has received a number of prestigious professional awards.

Katja Schechtner is a research affiliate at the MIT Media Lab. Within MIT’s collaboration program with the Asian Development Bank, she is engaged in the development and implementation of major investment projects in the field of public transport systems, and is also head of development team working on creating new tools for analyzing urban processes. In 2004–2012, she was head of research team who explored passenger flows and transportation modeling at the Austrian Institute of Technology. Schechtner works as a consultant for the European Commission, as well as a number of European research institutes. She reads lecture courses at educational institutions in the U.S., Austria and China, and is a regular contributor to publications dedicated to the research of urban statistics and data collection technologies.


Admission free, registration required


Mailing List

Subscribe to our mailing list and get the latest news from Garage