We are a network of strategists and engineers. We set a higher ethic for urban tech.

Our values are firm: Be open. Be willing. And focus on those most in need.

From autonomous vehicles and resilient grids to serverless architectures and distributed ledgers, we dive deep into the innards of emerging technologies to identify disruptions before they happen. This gives those who care about cities—be they residents, government agencies, or socially-conscious companies—the power to choose which innovations we encourage and which we hold back.


Here’s what we’ve been working on.

  • Digital Cities Index: The Shift From Optimization to Engagement

    Digital Cities Index: The Shift From Optimization to Engagement

    As part of The Economist’s “Digital Cities Index 2022”, we provided strategic insight on what’s working, and what isn’t, in the smart cities movement. “To counter the threat of top-down digital technology imposition, cities are realising they need to engage with all their constituents. Anthony Townsend, Urbanist in Residence at Cornell Tech’s Jacobs Urban Tech Hub, speaks about a shift from ‘optimisation to engagement’ in which the first generation of smart city approaches led by the likes of IBM, Cisco and Siemens focused on top-down, efficiency-oriented applications, and has been superseded by a more democratic approach that recognises diverse perspectives and needs.”

  • The Future of Urban Tech: A Ten-Year Horizon Scan

    The Future of Urban Tech: A Ten-Year Horizon Scan

    Self-repairing roads and sewers. Forests and farms inside buildings. Software that follows our instructions rather than following us around. These are just some of the possibilities and pitfalls for urban tech in the decade ahead. This site is a kaleidoscope that lets you explore future breakthroughs, innovations, and applications that will reshape our cities and communities. The Future of Urban Tech: A Ten-Year Horizon Scan was developed for Cornell Tech’s Urban Tech Hub as an interactive knowledge graph distilling thousands of published sources—journals, news sites, and blogs—to identify the most important changes ahead. Six big stories forecast the decade ahead.…

  • Can Data Deliver A Better Future for Buses?

    Can Data Deliver A Better Future for Buses?

    BusWatching is a micro-publication highlighting the thinking and work of a bus data working group we’ve been building at Cornell Tech throughout 2020–2021, continuing into 2022.


And here are our most requested downloads.

The Most Important Mile: Inclusive Futures for Local Delivery (2020) describes three scenarios exploring how consumer cooperatives, maker collectives, and national postal systems can play a crucial role in rewriting the future of last mile delivery systems as a tool for wealth development rather than wealth extraction.

English PDF 5.6 Mb
Español PDF 15.5 Mb

Big Urban Data: A Strategic Guide for Cities (2019) proposes a maturity model for cities throughout the Global South, built for the Inter-America Development Bank, to assess and track efforts to improve governance with, and of, urban data.

Taming the Autonomous Vehicle (2017) is a comprehensive, illustrated full-color briefing book for mayors on the future of automated mobility.


Considering working with us? We’re a different kind of consultancy.

We are a dynamic team. We gather the right team for every project. Our collaborators hail from diverse geographies and disciplines.

We are focused on you. We typically only take on a single project at a time. That means if we’re working with you, we’re focused exclusively on you.

We are ethical. We put people before profits. That isn’t always easy, and sometimes means we lose business. But we’ll try to change your point of view first.

We build stuff, too. We don’t just talk about urban technology. We code, design space, prototype hardware, write charters, and build networks.

We’ve been around the block. We’ve worked throughout the Americas, Europe,  Asia, and Africa. We’re coming for you next, Australia. 

We’ve been at it for 20 years. We literally wrote the book on smart cities. We’re still here because we know what works, and what’s just hype.