How can a city government help create the ‘human-centered city? From “transcending data” to “rethinking public infrastructure,” Nigel Jacobs, Co-Founder of New Urban Mechanics – a civic innovation incubator – describes the challenges to building a culture of government innovation. Can government even in principle innovate for the public good?

Nigel explores the efforts of New Urban Mechanics to drive public sector innovation from within government, drawing upon the resources, skills and talents of the city at large to press forward and solve perplexing public issues.

(New) Public Goods: Labs, Practices and Public, organized by Parsons DESIS Lab in May of 2014, was a remarkable convening of lab practitioners, designers, social scientists, researchers and policy officials to discuss the various projects and practices of public innovation, sketching out the details of the emerging field of labs.

Faced with a growing set of complex and interrelated challenges that are public in nature, institutions are developing new approaches to enabling social change. Among the most effective approaches have been labs, dedicated and experimental places for interdisciplinary teams to innovate in the public realm. This event explored in-depth how these approaches play out in reality, offering a chance for critical reflection and next steps.