Ian Grohsgal

MArch I

DataHub: Designing Data Centers for People and Cities

Advised by Holly Samuelson

This thesis will look at how to design data centers for the urban context in a way that benefits cities and the people who live in them. COVID-19 has only reinforced the sentiment that our physical realm will require more and more room for the digital infrastructure that sustains it. Every day, the average person produces 15 gigabytes of data. By 2025, the globe will have produced 17.5 trillion gigabytes. While invisible to us, all of this data needs physical infrastructure to store and analyze it multiple times. 

From that a series of questions form. Where do we store all of this data? How can we do it in a sustainable way? How can we reintegrate the physical store of data in a thoughtful and sustainable way? The task of this thesis will be to reimagine a new type of data center for our cities that is an integrated and sustainable home for the digital infrastructure that our society and economy demand. 

In so doing, the methodology of this thesis will examine the project from a number of lenses, including: data analysis to find ideal sites and opportunities; design to integrate the industrial and functional nature of data centers with urban needs; energy to understand where mutual needs can be met between urban data centers and other uses; and real estate to understand the financial incentives.

Digital photos layered