Computational Design Laboratory

Jen Liu: CodeLab Talk (11/11)

Bayou Infrastructures: Keeping the Internet On in Southeast Louisiana

November 11, noon – 1:20pm, CodeLab (MMCH 403)

Computational Design Lab Talk


What does “keeping the Internet on” look like on shifting lands? In this presentation, I will discuss my ongoing research in southeast Louisiana, in which I examine the practices of sustaining and developing networked infrastructures in a time of social and ecological issues. Southeast Louisiana is a place that is experiencing accelerated impacts of climate change. The ongoing legacy of extractive industries has led to uneven development and deep socioeconomic disparities in this region, while increased intensity of storms and floods due to climate change have begun to impede and damage networked infrastructure. In particular, I focus on the work that utilities, service providers, and communities engage in to recover infrastructures post-storm. By focusing on these efforts, I use maintenance and repair as a lens of understanding how the climate crisis affects networked infrastructure in coastal landscapes. What planning is happening at the state level to move towards more resilient infrastructures? What labor is necessary to recover Internet access after a storm? How does this affect how designers and technologists imagine a connected world?


Jen Liu is a researcher, designer, artist, or educator depending on the context. Her research investigates the ecological, social, and political implications of computing technologies and infrastructures. She uses ethnographic and design methods to understand these challenges and build alternatives for livable and equitable futures. Her research examines climate change + networked infrastructures, land politics + digital agriculture, and environmental sensing + knowledge production. Liu is a PhD student in Information Science at Cornell University. She completed a masters in Tangible Interaction Design (MTID) at Carnegie Mellon University and my BFA in Fiber Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Author: Yang Bai
Category: News