September 2, 2022

Boursiers Edgelands 2022-2023

Klea Bogdani

L'Institut Edgelands est heureux de présenter ses nouveaux boursiers de l'année universitaire 2022-2023.

Photo of the participants.

Photo by Flavia Lozano

About the Fellowship

The Edgelands Institute is pleased to announce the incoming fellows for our inaugural Fellowship Program for the 2022-2023 academic year. The program includes an exceptional cohort of international academics and professionals dedicated to helping us better understand how the increasing digitalization of urban security impacts the social fabric of a city. Edgelands is likewise thrilled to be working with the fellows who will be using visual storytelling to shed light on the ways that digital technologies are changing cities. 

About the Fellows & their Projects

The fellows hail from the U.S, Colombia, the Netherlands, South Africa, Turkey, among others. The group includes data scientists, professors, doctoral candidates, design strategists, research associates, an architect, a lawyer and finally, an entrepreneur. They will begin their fellowship remotely, but it is our hope that eventually, they will be able to meet their colleagues and fellow Edgelands team members in person.

Emre Altindag,
Cartoonist, painter, illustrator.

In this project, Emre will consider the question of how digital applications used in smart city designs will affect people's private lives through the story of a homeless person. He would like to create through Edgelands Institute Fellowship a 50-60 page fully coloured illustrated wordless graphic novel inspired by the question: How does living in the center of mega surveillance and being a part of detailed data about the city affect a person's life?

Burcu Baykurt,
Assistant professor of media studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

Burcu will research tech startups in the U.S. that specialize in helping city governments adopt surveillance technologies and data analytics in various fields from utilities to traffic management to public safety. This research investigates how the cultural techniques of data capitalism exploit bureaucratic inefficiencies and in what ways civic spaces of the so-called smart city are incorporated into American techno-capitalism. 

Diana Paola Rojas Bermeo, Professor and researcher at Universidad EAFIT Universidad de Antioquia. Specializes in Public Policy at the Security Secretariat of the Mayor's Office in Medellín, Colombia.

Diana’s research agenda in security is oriented to issues related to security planning, particularly from the perspective of public policies and comprehensive plans for citizen security. Her project aims to identify future research processes and needs in terms of security agendas in her cities of focus.

Betsy Campbell, Assistant Professor in the College of Education at Penn State University and Director of The Cape at Penn State.

Dr. Campbell will coordinate a research and public art project. She will conduct a visual ethnography resulting in a scholarly paper and public dance work (plus discussion guide) about digitized security in contemporary cities. She is interested in the embodied understanding of the digitization of security – the impressions these changes are making on our physical lives and the ways that embodied understanding can suggest new ways of talking about individual and communal experiences. 

Maggie Engler, technologist and researcher focused on security, trust, and safety. She currently builds machine learning systems for platform integrity at Twitter and teaches human centered data science at the University of Texas.

Maggie’s research project seeks to test a few basic assumptions. Are the community and police reports most prevalent in the same areas, or different ones? How many reports actually culminate in law enforcement involvement? Does the use of these apps correlate with people feeling safer, or less so?

She would like to systematically examine the concurrence of community social media reports, crime reports taken by the City of Austin, and confirmed incidents. She could then compare the volume of chatter on these community apps to the relative volume of crime compared with the police information. Maggie is also interested in conducting surveys in the ZIP codes analyzed to determine residents’ perceptions of public safety and privacy. 


Samson Faboye, Architect, musician and urbanist, specialized in governance and international development.

Samson’s study will explore the digitization of urban security architecture in Johannesburg and Lagos. Both cities are the most populous of their countries and face issues of exponential urban crime. He will employ the use of Application Programming Interface to monitor the social media handles (Twitter) of security agencies and hashtags on security on social media. He will also conduct interviews with security stakeholders (residents and experts) to avail of regular blogging content and enrich the context of his publication(s) understanding.

Alexandra Merceron, Lecturer at Columbia University in Strategic Communication and EVP at Rubenstein in Communication Science and Insights. 

Alexandra is interested in exploring individual citizens' knowledge and perceptions of personal cyber-security. Thus far in her research, she has found that there is a third-person effect when it comes to perceived cyber-security of digital platforms, threat detection, and the ability to identify misinformation, which ultimately impacts trust in digital platforms. Exploring this further, and to what extent trust in digital platforms impacts their adoption and use, has wide-ranging implications for governments, the media, financial institutions, healthcare, marketers and other entities that are growing increasingly reliant upon digital platforms. 

Dario Rodighiero, Assistant Professor of Sciences and Technology Studies at the University of Gronigen. He is affiliated at Harvard University with metaLAB and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. 

Dario seeks to analyze newspaper articles concerning digital surveillance to create a visual map of the actors and organizations who are part of this public debate. The map will display a large amount of data, which will allow the viewer to have a distant point of view on the connections that exist among these actors, and which actors are the “major players”. The final idea is to use such a map for a public event or an internal discussion to collect different potential interpretations. Results of this collective conversation will be published in the form of a conference paper or journal article, along with a web-based version of the map.

Sofia Rinvil, Legislative Staff at New York Senate

Sofia will conduct research on the intersection of digitization and urban governance. She views the city as a reflection of its data infrastructure for citizens’ smartphones to become their mobile driver’s license and ID card with digital credentials, which speeds and simplifies access to the city and local government services.

Sophia Sennett, Climate adaptation expert and environmental designer.

Sophia is an environmental designer and climate adaptation expert. At the Edgelands Institute, she will explore social contracts of urban security through the lens of climate change. Her focus will center on co-evolution across emerging technologies, the built environment, and the accessibility of data collection/projection.

Sophia's experience has included positions in the federal government, private sector, early-stage start-ups, and academia. Sophia is a licensed landscape architect and graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Design and Duke University. She is based in Washington, DC and works globally for the U.S. Department of State's real estate footprint.


À propos de l'Institut Edgelands

The Edgelands Institute is a multi-disciplinary organization that uses academic research, data, and art to explore how the digitalization of urban security is changing the urban social contract — the often-unseen rules that govern our cities. We create pop-up spaces that bring citizens, policymakers, academics, and other stakeholders into dialogue about the way that digital tools are being used by city governments and transforming urban social fabric.

The Edgelands Institute is a global movement. We set up temporary residence in select cities across the globe that have made innovative strides in their use of digital technologies, particularly in application to security. Our first stop is Medellín, Colombia, where we are engaging local youth in research and activism that focuses on how city leaders are using surveillance tools to address crime in the city.