About Data Through Design

As we rapidly evolve into a society of ‘digital natives’ who communicate, interact, and create in the realm of the ephemeral, the everyday realities of life in the city become less tangible and begin to loosen their hold in our psyche. The deluge and pervasiveness of data desensitizes us to the fact that, behind each data point is a story.

Data Through Design is an annual alternative cartography exhibition held during New York City’s Open Data Week, an endeavor of the Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics. The objective of the exhibit is to enable curious makers such as technologist, artists, and designers to create novel methods of map-making, present new narrative perspectives, and develop a deeper understanding of life in the city using data as a medium.

Each year, the exhibition takes on a new theme designed to challenge artists to consider ways in which they can surface the hidden stories that data can tell us, the absurdity underlying data, the connections that can be made through data, and the slippages that occurs when we use data as a heuristic for reality.

We commission 8 - 10 installations based on a theme and provide each group with financial, technical, and design support. We encourage a diversity of backgrounds and media, while encouraging physical manifestations of data rather than screen based, digital media. Previously featured artists were software engineers, graphic designers, architects, urban technologists, map- makers, and other backgrounds all working with the city’s open datasets.

The exhibition’s audience ranges from the civic technology community, to policy-makers, to the design community. Our hope is to enable a space for creative engagement with data and open new perspectives to our appreciation and understanding of data.

- Jessie, Wenfei, Stephen, Juan, and Joey


Data Through Design is an independently organized event, assembled with care and love by a group of curious strangers looking create new ways to interface with the public on issues surrounding New York City and its data.

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Jessie Braden

Jessie Braden is the co-founder and Director of Pratt Institute’s Spatial Analysis and Visualization Initiative. Her work focuses on the intersection of mapping, analytics and design for telling stories with data. Jessie is an educator at heart and developed two certificate programs in GIS and design at Pratt where she also teaches in the School of Information and the Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment. Prior to Pratt, she taught in Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation for six years. She’s on Twitter every now and then: @jessiebraden.

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Wenfei Xu

Wenfei Xu is an urban planning doctoral student at Columbia GSAPP and a spatial data scientist at CARTO. Her research and practice focuses on processes of urban change, gentrification, and neighborhood segregation using urban data science, mapping, and design strategies. Previously, she was a researcher at the MIT Civic Design Lab and Senseable Cities Lab. You can find her on Twitter @iamwfx


Stephen Larrick

Stephen Larrick is an urban planner and open gov advocate who has spent his career working to democratize the way cities are experienced and made. He currently heads city partnership efforts at urban tech startup Stae, helping public officials better manage and collaborate with data to achieve their goals. Prior to joining Stae, Stephen founded and directed the Open Cities Team at the Sunlight Foundation and served as Director of Planning and Economic Development for the City of Central Falls, Rhode Island. Stephen received his Bachelor’s of Arts in Urban Studies and Political Philosophy from Brown University, and lives in Manhattan with his wife Sarah.

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Juan Saldarriaga

I am the Senior Data & Design Researcher at the Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Columbia University. I work at the intersection of data, GIS, visualization, journalism, architecture, urbanism, and the humanities, and I teach graduate level workshops and seminars on mapping, advanced GIS and data visualization. In the past I’ve worked as a research scholar at the Center for Spatial Research and the Spatial Information Design Lab, as an architectural designer for Carlos Zapata Studio and D.G.T. Architects, and as the GIS project coordinator for the Catholic Charities. You can find me on Twitter @juanfrans and on Github at github.com/juanfrans.

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Joey Lee

Joey Lee is a New York based designer, creative technologist, and geographer. His work explores relationships between the environment, data, and computation, often taking the form of experimental research, software, and visualization. Joey enjoys learning through making and uses design as a bridge to collaborate within and across disciplines. Joey holds a B.A. (UCLA) and M.Sc in Geography (University of British Columbia), with specialization in urban climatology and micrometeorology. He was a Mozilla Science Fellow (2015) and currently a research fellow and adjunct faculty at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. www: jk-lee.com

Code Of Conduct

Forked from the Mozilla Community Code of Conduct

Data Through Design events are community events intended for networking and collaboration as well as learning.

We value the participation of every member of the community and want all attendees to have an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. Accordingly, all attendees are expected to show respect and courtesy to other attendees throughout the event and in interactions online associated with Data Through Design.

To make clear what is expected, everyone taking part in Data Through Design events and participants—is required to conform to the following Code of Conduct. Organizers will enforce this code throughout events, but you may also contact us directly by email at datathroughdesign@gmail.com. All communication will be treated as confidential.

Data Through Design is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, or abilities of any kind. We do not tolerate harassment of participants in any form. Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.

All communication should be appropriate for a professional audience including people of many different backgrounds. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any event.

Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down other attendees. Be careful in the words that you choose. Remember that sexist, racist, and other exclusionary jokes can be offensive to those around you.

Behave professionally. Remember that harassment and sexist, racist, or exclusionary jokes are not appropriate.

Attendees violating these rules may be asked to leave the event at the sole discretion of the conference organizers without a refund of any charge that may have been levied.

Thank you for helping make this a welcoming, friendly event for all.


For inquiries, please reach out to us at: