I am currently researching how blockchains, STOs (Security Token Offerings), and land NFT marketplaces are impacting financialization of housing and urban development via tokenized real estate, and more broadly how blockchain infrastructures and their various socio-political configurations shape the occupation, ownership, and appropriation of physical and digital space. Counter to this I am also researching practices that “queer” the use of digital platforms to facilitate alternative economic exchange, commoning or cooperative strategies. I question where digital exclusion is actually productive/protective in some cases for marginalized communities.
My MA thesis at The New School and recent publications focus on the phenomena of crypto-colonialism, which I define as the act of coordinated groups of tech-savvy individuals leveraging their wealth, often but not always generated by crypto investments, to settle in and exploit lands and laws favorable towards continued crypto-extraction activities (often experimenting on populations disproportionately at risk). In Puerto Rico, this phenomena is exacerbated by disaster capitalism and facilitated by punitive neoliberal economic development policies and US chains of empire. I have acted as a digital equity consultant for the Puerto Rico Bar Association Special Commission on Blockchain and the Law, and have been interviewed by Motherboard, VICE News, Washington Post, Yahoo Finance, Coindesk, and VICE’s “CRYPTOLAND” documentary.
Immediately prior to starting my doctoral program at Berkeley, I was a lecturer at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute School of Architecture in Troy, NY. I am also a licensed architect in New York, where I managed several large-scale projects in public transportation and infrastructure in New York City and Puerto Rico. I currently run a design research and consulting practice (CONTRA+) advocating for design justice, digital equity, and environmental justice. Out of this work we have developed critical cartographies and data visualizations that have been used to impact policy change at local city and state scales in Newark, New Jersey with the Ironbound Community Corporation; and in Inwood, Manhattan with the Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer NYCx Co-Lab project, among others.
Outside of academic work, I enjoy overanalyzing video games, reading and writing speculative fiction, making things with my hands, gardening, and experimenting in the kitchen.
2019, M.A., Theories of Urban Practice, Parsons School of Design, The New School
2012, B.Arch., Architecture, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Crandall, Jillian. 2019. “Blockchains and the “Chains of Empire”: Contextualizing Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and Neoliberalism in Puerto Rico,” Design and Culture, 11:3, 279-300, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/17547075.2019.1673989