urban data

oday many cities think they can’t develop their own solutions. But a growing array of projects all over the world show that some of the most compelling use cases, resilient designs, and robust engineering comes from bottom-up smart city initiatives.

Our work spans two decades of activism, experimentation, and civic hacking in unlicensed wireless networks, open sensing and citizen science, and open transport data.

recent work


Big Data Guide for Cities. For a major development bank, we developed models and best practices for how city governments can leverage big data more effectively.

Image: Stae (https://medium.com/city-as-a-service/whose-lane-is-it-fb9e86affdec)

Mapping Mobility Conflicts. Working with Stae, a municipal data platform provider, we used NYC’s 311 data and Twitter posts to uncover how a surge in double-parked delivery vans is creating headaches for the Big Apple’s bikers.


Transit Advocacy App. Working with the Riverview Neighborhood Association and Code for Jersey City, we developed BusWatcher an open source bus performance reportcard app that allows concerned citizens to view detailed reports on frequency, reliability, and bunching.


Image: Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London

Cities of Data. At the newly founded Data & Society Research Institute, we led a yearlong investigation into the emerging global interdisciplinary domain of urban science.


Prototyping Mobile Coworking. Drawing inspiration from the shared office spaces of the coworking movement, Breakout! created alternative venues for collaborative work outside of traditional office buildings by injecting lightweight versions of essential office infrastructure into urban public spaces.


Community Wireless Organizing. Since co-founding NYCwireless in 2001, we have worked with activists, NGOs, and municipalities all over the world to promote free and open wireless networks, cooperatives, and public spaces. We are supporter of the NYC Mesh initiative.

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