Hello! I'm Xiaowei R. Wang.

I make maps, talk to people, read a lot of white papers and like to play outside.

As of summer 2014 I'm currently working on LOOP Beijing as part of Beijing Design Week, finishing up teaching GIS at UC Davis, continuing work in Mongolia as part of the US Department of State's Bureau of Cultural Affairs/Zero1 for the American Arts Incubator and teaching two workshops with Deren Guler at the Taipei Design City Exhibition.

I received a masters in landscape architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design along with the Norman T. Newton Prize in design, and a BA with Honors from Harvard University in Visual and Environmental Studies.

Here are some projects + thoughts.


The Nomad, The Technologist

One year's worth of research culminating into an ecologically based, automated design for the country of Mongolia. Examining development as a question of scarcity or access, the project deploys infrastructural elements tailored to Mongolia's unique ecology and uses automation in GIS/Processing as a way of tackling geographical scale questions. A certified "deconstruction of neoliberal and technocratic fantasies"!

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FLOAT Beijing

In summer of 2012, air quality data was still highly restricted in China. Through the playful act of kite flying and diy electronics workshops, FLOAT_Beijing was launched during summer 2012 to empower Beijing citizens in taking action and protesting air quality standards. This initiative led to government intervention on the project and community driven policy change.

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Massachusetts Military Reservation

The DoD has a legacy of shaping urbanism across the US: from transport and the Federal Highway System to creating large bases that generate economic growth and new cities. With the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC), many bases are being shut down and transformed. Yet the legacy of military use remains on the landscape: unexploded ordinances, contamination, and the fears of local job loss. This design project proposes a transformation of the MMR on Cape Cod, MA from a place of sole military use to a joint use landscape, with city growth driven by ICT and research.

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The Structure of Sustainability

Contemporary dialogues on sustainability and renewable energy revolve around energy shortage and energy crisis. Material transformations by technological systems are ignored in favor of utopian projections, with images of telecommuting and the collapose of geographical space. This project asks: What are the dangers of the engineered, technological project in design? What are the implications of “green” energy as moral imperative, considering trends of resource commodification and market entry?

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Willets Point, NYC

Graze City, a proposal for Willets Point, Queens proposes we see the problems that face the site as opportunities. Slated for redevelopment, existing conditions consist of cheap automotive repair that serve the tri-state's infrastructural landscape shaped by Moses. The design addresses issues of site contamination, flooding, proximity to LGA, and the massive economic shifts involved in displacing jobs and communities through deploying a logistics grazing haven for a new economy of livestock.

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Airport Landscape Exhibition @ GSD

A gigantic exhibition diagram showing altitudes of urbanization, to show how urban life is both a horizontal process but also a vertical one; from the underground to aerial infrastructure of flights, satellites and space junk. A visualization of flight paths to/from ORD over the course of 1 day showing the "invisible logistical surfaces" created by the FAA. Part of the fall exhibition at Gund Hall.

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Pretend Landscape Architecture

Sometimes I pretend that I'm a landscape architect and make plans, sections, planting diagrams and construction details. Here you can find some obsessions with paving patterns and use of ISO standard bolts.

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2.5 Microns

Critical essay on subjectivity of Air Quality measurement standards, as part of [En]coding Architecture book, ed. Liss C. Werner

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Parks and Power

Essay on Huangpu Park, Shanghai and its history as a public space in both real and imagined form from 1850 to 1980. Looking into narratives of power and its use as a mechanism to spread radically different state ideologies.

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Research on infrastructure + automated geography

Antalya Greenhouses | Infrastructure

Turkey’s 3500 hectares of greenhouses make it the fifth largest greenhouse production country in the world. The growth of its industry has been facilitated by climatic, infrastructural, and economic factors. This project investigates Antalya's strength as a landscape of production tied to ecological and infrastructural factors.

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Field Research | Mongolia

Ethnographic research for The Nomad, The Technologist design project. Qualitative and quantitative methods, using a combination of GIS data, scholarly articles, white papers, and on the ground interviews and site surveys.

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Automated Agricultural Planning

A project investigating growing conditions of salt resistant plant species to be used for soil remediation and production ranging from plastics to livestock feed.

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Modeling Nomadic Urbanism

As part of The Nomad, The Technologist, I had to come up with ways of modeling the form of urban growth and contraction based on ecological conditions. While I knew each of the 133 sites' ecological conditions from GIS, these were the experiments to congeal them using a series of rules into designed forms.

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Global Urbanization Indices

The statistic "By 2050, 70% of the world will be urban" has spurred numerous socioeconomic initiatives, concerns and debates. By looking deeper into this commonly cited phrase, we have to ask: What are we defining as urban? How do we quantify the urban? What kinds of technologies and tools are we using to construct these urbanization indices, and where does the impetus for defining the urban stem from? How has the definition of urban changed from its roots in the post WWII era, and what outdated qualifiers are still attached to the definition today?
For the Urban Theory Lab @ Harvard GSD

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Working with

Bay Area Infrastructure Observatory

We ♥ Infrastructure. We believe in rendering the large scale networks that enable modern urban life today visible in order to celebrate the people and decisions that keep cities running and a culture of participation in shaping these systems.

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Situ Research

Mapping + Investigation into drone strikes in the FATA, Pakistan with Forensic Architecture and BIJ. Uneven Growth @ MOMA, fall 2014.

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Contact me

xiaowei.wang ♥at♥ post.harvard.edu

on Medium