Sarah Williams

Associate Professor, DUSP; Director, MIT Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism


Sarah Williams is an associate professor of technology and urban planning at MIT, where she is also director of the Civic Data Design Lab and the Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism. She combines her training in computation and design to create communication strategies that expose urban policy issues to broad audiences and create civic change. She calls the process Data Action, which is also the name of her book published by MIT Press in 2022.

Williams is co-founder and developer of, a web-based software product that visualizes and allows users to modify zoning in New York City. Before coming to MIT, she was co-director of the Spatial Information Design Lab at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

Her design work has been widely exhibited, including in the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, Venice Biennale, and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. Williams has won numerous awards, including being named one of the top 25 technology planners and Game Changer by Metropolis Magazine. Her latest exhibition at the World Food Program, Distance Unknown, explores the risks and opportunities of migration to the Americas. The exhibit helped to influence recent U.S. migration policies.


The Power of Design

Oct 18, 2022

MIT–HPI Workshop

Mar 29, 2023

Spring 2024 HPI–MIT Workshop

Mar 21–Mar 22, 2024