We set a higher ethic for urban tech.

We are a network of urbanists and engineers working in service of cities and their most vulnerable residents. We dive deep into the innards of emerging technologies to identify disruptions before they happen. This gives the organizations we work with the power to choose—which innovations to encourage and which to hold back.


Research & Perspectives

Is the U.S. Falling Short on Infrastructure Innovation?

The Infrastructure, Innovation, and Jobs Act of 2021 authorized more than $550 billion in spending on transportation, broadband, water systems and more. But are cities do enough to leverage technology to future-proof this next generation of investments?

The Uncertain Future of Urban AI

Future historians will look back on 2022 as the year deep learning broke out of the box. But the excitement over large language models, the AI approach behind DALL-E and ChatGPT, glosses over lingering barriers to deep learning’s usefulness in the urban realm

How Cities Can Make Software Together

Open Source Software (OSS) presents a possibility for cities to fulfill fast-growing software needs with greater autonomy and lower cost. However, OSS requires enormous effort to create, and even more to deploy and maintain.


In the News

Cities See Many Risks in Emerging Technologies

The Economist‘s “Digital Cities Index 2022” quotes from a lengthy interview with Dr. Townsend on the evolving smart cities movement, and how cities are starting to systematically focus on the risks of emerging technologies like AI.

How Hybrid Work Harms Innovation

When our friends at Arup took one of the first deep dives into forecasting the future of hybrid work in late 2020, it was already clear that the new flexibility would come at a cost—an innovation deficit whose bill is now coming due.

GHOST ROAD Named Best Business Book of 2020

James Suroweicki writes in Strategy + Business, the PwC magazine, “Ghost Road offers up an exhilarating picture of the ways in which autonomous vehicles might transform our lives for the better, saving time and lives, reshaping cities, and helping combat climate change.”

Looking for a speaker?

Anthony Townsend has 20+ years of experience speaking on urban and technology trends for audiences in the Americas, Europe,  Asia, and Africa. Watch a sample here, then contact us to discuss your event.



“A timely and necessary guide to this age of the Franken-city.”

The New York Times Book Review

“A relentlessly creative and deeply thought-through analysis of the future of transportation.”

Inside Higher Ed

Based on the hit BBC podcast, a guide to our global ‘reset moment’, examining life after the pandemic, with contributions by Pope Francis, HRH Prince Charles, The Dalai Lama, Lady Hale, Tara Westover, Steven Pinker, Caleb Femi, Carlo Rovelli, Anthony Townsend, and many more.