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Open Source Urbanism


Open Source Urbanism

Tuesday, June 3, 2014, 6:30 pm at BSA Space

Advances in place-based technologies promise to allow people to talk back to cities. We are collecting ever more data on our movements, our interests, our likes and dislikes. How can this be used to improve our cities? How is it changing the profession of urban design and the nature of public space? Does it enable more direct citizen participation in planning and design, or is it a mechanism for public surveillance? What does this mean for the relationship between our citizenry and our government, or the public and the profession? This panel discussion brings together experts from the public sector, the private sector, and academia to talk about these pressing issues.



Nigel Jacob, Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics

Dietmar Offenhuber, Northeastern University

Alicia Rouault, LocalData


Moderated by Elizabeth Christoforetti



  • Nigel Jacob is the co-founder of the Boston Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics. Nigel is also the Urban Technologist in Residence at the philanthropic collaboration, Living Cities and is a board member at CodeforAmerica. He has been on the cutting edge of civic technology and innovation for years and in his various roles works to create a network of civic innovation laboratories that spans the globe and enables cities to collaborate around the development of new kinds of civic technologies.
  • Dietmar Offenhuber is Assistant Professor at Northeastern University in the departments of Art + Design and Public Policy. His research focuses on the role of visualization and representation in urban governance and civic discourse; he has recently published three books on this subject. He completed his PhD at the MIT Senseable City Lab.
  • Alicia Rouault is an urban planner and co-founder of LocalData, an online mapping platform helping city leaders make data-driven decisions by capturing and visualizing street-level information. Alicia works at the intersection of urban planning and technology by building interactive tools designed to address social issues.. Alicia was a 2012 Code for America fellow, a winner of the Knight News Challenge for Innovation in Data, and a researcher at MIT’s Civic Data Design Lab at the Center for Advanced Urbanism.
  • Elizabeth Christoforetti is a lecturer in architecture at Northeastern University, a consultant to a place-based technology start-up, and a senior designer at Utile, Inc.

Hosted by the BSA Urban Design Committee