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Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism Names New Director

The MIT School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) has announced the appointment of Sarah Williams, associate professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP), as director of the Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism (LCAU). Her new role became effective on January 1.

Williams says she has always felt deeply connected to the Center, which was established shortly before she joined the SA+P faculty in 2014. She combines her training in data science, urban design and planning, and landscape architecture to create communication strategies that expose urban policy issues to create civic change. She calls the process Data Action, which is also the title of her recent book published by MIT Press (2020).

At MIT, she directs the Civic Data Design Lab and chaired the Institute’s new undergraduate program in urban science. Her design work exposes policy issues to people beyond the walls of academia and has been widely exhibited, including work in the Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Venice Biennale, and the Cooper Hewitt Museum. “My designs open up the insights of data to the public, allowing them to use it to advocate for change,” she says.

“This is an exciting opportunity,” says Williams. “What’s great about the Center is that it is a laboratory that brings together the creativity and entrepreneurship of diverse disciplines to reinvent city design and policy. I can’t wait to be part of expanding its horizons, especially at a time when cities face so many challenges.” 

Read the full story at MIT News.