February 24, 2023
Dean Michelle Addington and Community and Regional Planning Associate Professor Junfeng Jiao contribute their expertise to SXSW panels on housing and sustainability, and smart cities and emerging technology.
SXSW 2023 graphic

During SXSW, people from around the world descend upon Austin for a celebration of the convergence of technology, film, music, education, and culture. This year for SXSW 2023, two members of the UT School of Architecture—Dean Michelle Addington and Community and Regional Planning Associate Professor Junfeng Jiao—are participating in SXSW Interactive events.

On Monday, March 13, Junfeng Jiao joins Dr. Hilke Marit Berger of the City Science Lab Hamburg, and Chelsea Collier of Digi.City and UT Austin for an interactive workshop titled Save Your City: Design the Future

Emerging tech has the potential to radically change the urban experience but it is important to put these powerful tools in the hands of the people. As communities struggle with humanitarian issues (homelessness, refugee resettlement, climate-related crises, equitable access to city services) civic leaders are searching for ways to better engage residents.

Researchers at the world’s most impressive institutions—UT Austin & CityScience Lab Hamburg—are developing methods to bring cityscapes to life through interactive touch tables infused with geo-specific city data sets and augmented with ethically-designed AI. We will encourage people to play, transforming their concerns and complaints into creative solutions. With the right technology tools, we can co-create cities of the future.

The workshop aligns with Dr. Jiao’s research interests and his work for Good Systems and the Urban Information Lab. His research focuses on Smart Cities, Smart Transportation, Urban Information, and Ethical AI. He uses different information technologies to quantify urban infrastructures and their influences on people’s behaviors.


On Wednesday, March 15, Dean Michelle Addington joins ICON CEO Jason Ballard, Bjarke Ingles of BIG-Bjarke Ingles Group, and Sarah Saterlee of Mobile Leaves & Fishes for the panel: A Moonshot for Affordable Housing, presented by ICON

It seems an obvious, rational, and humane thing to wish that every human on the planet had a dignified place to live. This is a time for global architectural, design, and the building community to come together with all the creativity, energy, passion, and focus they can muster to design the homes and the future that humanity wants, one where dignified and beautiful homes are available and accessible all over the world. The vision of a home with construction costs under $99K has inspired and motivated city planners, developers, officials and others for decades. And yet conventional approaches to design and delivery have repeatedly come up short and produced underwhelming results. How can architecture, design, robotics and sustainability be in service to humanity to address housing needs?

An expert in sustainability, Addington was originally educated as a nuclear/mechanical engineer and worked for several years as an engineer at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center and for E.I. DuPont de Nemours before she studied architecture. Her teaching, research, and professional work span across these disciplines with the overarching objective of determining strategic intersections between the optimal domains of physical phenomena with the practical domains of spatial, geo-political, economic, and cultural systems.

Junfeng Jiao
Associate Professor Junfeng Jiao
Michelle Addington horizontal headshot
Dean Michelle Addington