Thesis Defence: Frances Lai

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 5:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT (GMT -04:00)

Of the thesis entitled: Massive-Scale Agency


We are at a moment in time where technologies are developing at an accelerated pace, and information and communication technologies (ICTs) have advanced to a point where each of us carry a portal to insurmountable options for information access and social exchange. Our smartphones have become a necessary tool to the formation of our online and offline identities, and will continue to be an access point to several emerging technologies that will further affect the way we inhabit our surrounding environment.

With all the excitement that these technological advances may bring, we also find ourselves in a state of great uncertainty. The relationship we once had to the inner workings of our surrounding and ecological environments has deteriorated. This gap in knowledge, and the resulting poor behaviours as it pertains to environmental sustainability, have resulted in global warming, which continues to be the most pressing issue of our times.

ICTs have increased the speed of communication to real-time, and this capability for near-instant feedback introduces the potential to re-establish a close relationship with our immediate environment. This thesis seeks to investigate how ICTs can be used to create a digital platform that facilitates new forms of information representation that bridge the gap between the individual and man-made climate change. It explores design solutions that the architect’s skillset can produce when combined with tools and methodologies from other disciplines. Using various data collection methods including surveys, interviews, and user testing, a digital platform is created with the intention that its users may be able to gather their own evidence, realize where they are situated in the supply chain, and discover where there is room for individual agency through varying intervention

The examining committee is as follows:


John McMinn, University of Waterloo

Committee Members:

Mona El Khafif, University of Virginia

Val Rynnimeri, University of Waterloo

External Reader:

Scott Sorli

The committee has been approved as authorized by the Graduate Studies Committee.

The Defence Examination will take place:  

Wednesday September 13, 2017                 
5:00 PM               
ARC 2003 

A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.