What is New Urban Mechanics?
New Urban Mechanics is a network of civic innovation offices. Across the network, we explore how new technology, designs and policies can strengthen the partnership between residents and government and significantly improve opportunity and experiences for all.
While the language may sound new, the principles of New Urban Mechanics – collaborating with constituents, focusing on the basics of government, and pushing for bolder ideas – are not.
Currently, there are three offices that are part of the New Urban Mechanics network. There are Mayor’s Offices of New Urban Mechanics in Boston and Philadelphia. These City-funded offices serve as the in-house research & development group for Mayor Walsh and Mayor Nutter, respectively. There is also an Office of New Urban Mechanics housed at Utah Valley University, supporting innovation efforts across a range of municipalities in the Provo-Orem metropolitan area.
Individually, each office builds partnerships between internal agencies and outside entrepreneurs to pilot projects that address the needs of residents. As a network, we share lessons learned from this work so that good practice can scale more quickly.
The focal areas cover a broad range of work from increasing civic participation, to improving city streets, to boosting educational outcomes. The specific projects are diverse as well – from better park benches to high tech apps to new methods of supporting local entrepreneurs.
Here are some pieces that have been written about New Urban Mechanics and our way of working:
- Politico: “Boston, There’s an App for That“
- Boston Globe: “New Urban Mechanics, keep tinkering“
- Fast Company: “Boston Does Digital”
- MIT Review: “Cities Find Rewards in Cheap Technologies”
- Governing: “Will Urban Innovation Teams Outlast Political Change?”
- Susan Crawford, Dana Walters: “Citizen-Centered Governance”
- Living Cities: “Guide for Embedding Innovation in Local Government“
Have an idea on how to make your city better? Want to know more about what we are doing? Interested in joining the network?