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.
Why Cities are Missing the Infrastructure Technology and Innovation Opportunity
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA, better known as the “Bipartisan Infrastructure Law”) launched the biggest 5-year push to repair, expand, and most importantly—improve—the nation’s civil infrastructure. This act authorizes more than $550 billion in spending on transportation, broadband, water systems and more. As cities scramble to take advantage of this historic federal investment, spanning multiple infrastructure sectors, they are missing opportunities to: How We Can Help Working through Cornell Tech, in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Local Infrastructure Hub, and US Digital Response, we have spent the last six months identifying technology and innovation opportunities across more than…
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.
The Future of Urban Tech
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.…
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.
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.