Read up on our upcoming exhibition: Unboxed City

Unboxed City 



“Unboxed City: critical explorations of [ai] and cities” teaches us how generative AI algorithms work by literally being immersed within one. The large black-box references the notion of black-box algorithms, a concept first introduced in cybernetics referring to the inability to understand how systems/algorithms work. A totem in the center box holds four large screens playing multi-directional videos illustrating the process of neural networks—collecting, encoding, and decoding data, thereby transforming it into artificial intelligence. 


The narrative reveals the biases, and limitations in shaping cities through AI which are built on available datasets—from satellite imagery to street-level photos, demographic profiles, and climate information—they are assembled on what is accessible, not the nuances of what makes a city. The black reflective walls of the box’s interior project real and unreal elements layered in an infinite loop, creating the sensation of what it might feel like to be inside an algorithm. The infinite reflectivity reminds visitors that what is created through generative AI is not real but rather impressions of reality. 


The experience critiques the bias embedded in AI highlighting incomplete, unknown, unequal, and non-inclusive datasets leave much of the city out of focus. It is clear there is a need to incorporate human input and community perspectives into models to ensure they reflect citizens' diverse needs, desires, and dreams. Ultimately, there is a call to action to generate AI systems that are not dominated by power but rather are cooperative with human intelligence—representing the diversity and complexity of seeing the world outside of the algorithm. 




Unboxed City is a collaboration between the Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism (LCAU) and OverUnder.


The idea for the exhibition started during a LCAU summer 2023 research project which sought to understand the ways in which Generative AI is used in Urban Design, Architecture, Planning and related fields. As the research progressed our team realized there is still so much misconception about how Generative AI algorithms work so we decided to unbox it. The exhibition builds on that initial research and the many LCAU faculty, students, and staff helping to build that knowledge.



Sarah Williams, Director LCAU

Alberto Meouchi, Exhibition Lead

Minwook Kang

Rohit Sanatani

Karen Kuo

Maria Gabriela Carucci

Nathan Powell

Thanh Nguyen

Lauren Gideonse

Tianyu Su

Addy Smith-Reiman

Sara Mesquita

Niko McGlashan

Katerina Labrou

Eric Lam

Ricardo Campos

Fany Quintero



Rami el Samahy

Marcus Springer

Brett Pierson

Liam Scott

Alexa Dickinson



Jim Harrington


Video and Audio Materials

Siemond Chan



Mike Bridge of LePont Woodworking