Connecting the public sector with communities through technology.

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Photo by Alex Andrews from Pexels

Cities must consider how to become resilient to the strains and stresses of the 21st century. It is not enough to simply manage these problems. A city must effectively face these challenges head-on and learn new methods along the way. In particular, the public sector can leverage emergent technologies to meet these problems and connect with the communities they serve.

With the rise of smartphones worldwide, cities have an opportunity to engage with communities at every level in policymaking and legislative action. Community input joined with technology in the municipal process can create a collective intelligence in city governance. Enabling…


Public Sector Ideas in The Private Sector

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“Public sector innovation” is not a phrase you hear too often; Perhaps this is because innovation is traditionally not part of the public sector’s role, but rather a derivative from the talented individuals working as public servants. That is not to say the public sector is not capable of generating innovative solutions. However, due to resource limitations, restrictive local and federal regulations, and just like the DMV — things move slowly in the public sector.

Nevertheless, this is for a reason; the public sector must uphold a high level of aptitude when implementing any solution that will affect hundreds if…


How To Frame the Question to better solve public problems

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Photo by Tatiana Fet from Pexels

When addressing a problem in the public sphere, a data scientist must be aware that every problem they touch is a wicked one. Wicked problems are not easily definable compared to an engineering or optimization problem. The wickedness starts at the beginning: defining the problem. A problem can be explained differently depending on whom you ask. Therefore, who is involved in round table discussions, or perhaps better stated who is not involved, becomes especially important. Since equity and fairness questions are essential when solving any public problem. …


A creative story about the destruction of Penn Station.

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photograph by Peter Moore

Pip: Hurry, Pop, we must run.
Pop: Where do we run, Pip?
Pip: We run towards the light Pop.
Pop: The Fox is close Pip.
Pip: Yes, but we must continue to run.

I view time as a pure example of human construction. Any attempt to change the view of time will be met with wavering eyes and gasps of disbelief. Projects you work on throughout life will continuously change metaphysically. The fears of negativity or neglect will fade with time and be replaced with acceptance.

A tangible object is sitting in a white room that will never change. Weathering…


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Baths of Caracalla [3]

The bathhouse has a 150-foot tall ceiling — Kahn noted that we are capable of taking a bath in an eight-foot ceiling, yet “there is something about a 150-foot ceiling that makes a man a different kind of man”. This idea is not only about the scale of space, it points to that we are capable of living in these metaphorical eight-foot spaces, but why not push the limits and live in a 150-foot space — and could we design for this condition? Architectural design can be more than an eight-foot ceiling. Design can be the magnificent Baths of Caracalla…


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Photo by Efdal YILDIZ from Pexels

If someone on the street told you they had a method to save a city 19 million dollars annually — would you believe them? US Forest Service Researcher David Nowak says, “If you can only plant one tree, plant it in a city.” Nowak’s research investigates how green infrastructure impacts cities and the relationship between trees and cold hard cost savings — exploring how trees can remove carbon dioxide, filter air pollution, and even absorb rainwater and noise. …


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Av Pachacutec, Villa EL Salvador 15816, Peru, Villa EL Salvador

We continue to coin the term smart city accepted amongst academics, public and private sector agencies as the method we use to craft the city of tomorrow. Professor Fuchs of International and Public Affairs and Political Science at Columbia University defined a smart city as “a smart city makes data and technology usable and accessible to solve urban problems with the promise of efficiency and effectiveness in delivering public services.”

Fuchs had the opportunity to put this idea into practice when she partnered with NYC’s Department of Environmental Protection on a project called “Stopping Trash Where It Starts.” This project…


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Architecture students use a non-functioning bus stop on Albuquerque’s Central Avenue to sketch a building (Steven St. John / For the Times)

“It’s a nightmare with nothing to show for it.”

Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) has been in development for nearly 20 years since the initial idea of a light rail system along Albuquerque New Mexico’s Central corridor. The rapid bus system that emerged from this idea is still not fully operational. The project has been under constant scrutiny from the community. The community has witnessed their historic Route 66 corridor go under massive redesign in hopes to create a new transportation core for the city.

The Albuquerque Transit Department funded a feasibility study by InfraConsult who made recommendations based on their…


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The interior of Soft Surplus. Photo courtesy of Dan Taeyoung.

We become more reliant on smart devices every day, from thermostats that remember our ideal thermal comfort to doorbells that alert us when someone is outside. Smart home technologies are expected to grow by over 25% in 2019, with shipments of smart home selling more than 830 million as of August 2019.

A co-op space named Soft Surplus encountered an issue when upgrading their traditional “dumb” doorbell to a new smart device. This device was intended to decrease overall noise in the space and enabled everyone in the co-op space that a visitor was outside via an online chat room…


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The architectural practice has often been at the forefront of technology, but when computer programmers began parameterizing design, the architects fled to the opposite side of the spectrum, stating that these cold machines could never design the same way a human hand could. Instead of viewing this historically polarized divide between computation design and traditional architectural design as unfavorable, architects can allow these technologies to inform their design practice — not overrule it.

Most architecture firms today create a digital model of their building, allowing architects to draft iterative models to analyze wall thickness, square footage, or building envelope information…

Brandon Pachuca

I am pursuing my master’s degree in Urban Data Science and Informatics at New York University and working as an urban designer + web developer at KPF Architects

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