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About Laura Forlano

Forlano is an Assistant Professor of Design at the Institute of Design and Affiliated Faculty in the College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology where she is Director of the Critical Futures Lab. From 2012-2013, she was a Visiting Scholar in the Comparative Media Studies program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research is focused on the intersection between emerging technologies, material practices and the future of cities; specifically, she writes about emergent forms of organizing and urbanism enabled by mobile, wireless and ubiquitous computing technologies with an emphasis on the socio-technical practices and spaces of innovation. She is co-editor with Marcus Foth, Christine Satchell and Martin Gibbs of From Social Butterfly to Engaged Citizen: Urban Informatics, Social Media, Ubiquitous Computing, and Mobile Technology to Support Citizen Engagement (MIT Press 2011). Forlano’s research and writing has been published in peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Peer Production,Fibreculture, Digital Culture & Society, ADA, Journal of Urban Technology, First Monday, The Information Society, Journal of Community Informatics, IEEE Pervasive Computing, Design Issues and Science and Public Policy. She has published chapters for books including editor Mark Shepard’s Sentient City: Ubiquitous Computing, Architecture, and the Future of Urban Space (MIT Press 2011) and The Architecture League of New York’s Situated Technologies pamphlet series and is a regular contributor to their Urban Omnibus blog. She received her Ph.D. in communications from Columbia University.


August 2011 - Present Assistant Professor, Illinois Institute of Technology

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

organizations, technology (especially, mobile, wireless and pervasive computing technologies) and the role of space/place in communication, collaboration and innovation, open innovation systems and social innovation/entrepreneurship, social/urban informatics, media, telecommunications and technology policy, science and technology studies, ethnographic, qualitative and design research methods, and cross-cultural comparisons

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Honors and Awards

  • Finalist, Situated Technologies, Architectural League of New York
  • Co-PI on SSRC New Media and Communications Large Collaborative Grant
  • Microsoft CITASA Port 25 Emerging Scholars Award
  • Urban Communication Foundation Research Incentive Prize, NCA
  • NET Institute Summer Grant, Stern School of Business, NYU
  • Microsoft Research grant
  • ISERP Geographic Information Systems Summer Fellowship
  • Center on Organizational Innovation grant
  • American Council on Germany Fellowship
  • National Science Foundation East Asia Summer Institute Fellowship
  • Eben Tisdale High-Tech Public Policy Fellowship
  • Finalist, IIT Nayar Prize
  • Fulbright NEXUS Scholar, 2011-2012
  • Urban Communication Foundation White Paper Prize, 2012-2013


  • Understanding Context
  • PhD Theories
  • PhD Methods
  • PhD Seminar
  • Cultural Probes
  • Codesign and Participatory Design
  • Networked Objects
  • Networked Cities
  • Technology and the City
  • New Media and Global Affairs
  • Innovation
  • Introduction to Design and Management
  • Ethnographic Research Methods
  • Sustainable Design
  • Business Ethics
  • Design and Everyday Experience
  • Information Communication Technology Policy
  • Qualitative Research Methods


September 2001 - October 2008 PhD, Columbia University ‐ Communications

Pervasive Computing (3)

Mobile Work Practices (2)

Community Wireless Networks (3)

Ubiquitous Computing (1)

WiFi Use (2)

Coworking (1)

Open Innovation Systems (1)