Nigel Jacob and Kris Carter, Co-Chairs of MONUM
What is the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics (MONUM)?
As the City’s civic research and development team, we pilot experiments that aim to improve the quality of life for Boston’s residents.
Tell us about the MONUM team.
The Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics was formed in 2010 as one of the first municipal innovation offices in the world. Our research and design projects tackle a range of topics — from civic engagement to city infrastructure to education. Our team comes from a diverse array of backgrounds and our work comes in many different flavors.
What sets you apart from other offices at City Hall?
We believe that civic innovation is more than just increasing government efficiency. It is also about improving the experience and well-being of our residents and visitors. A democracy is sometimes messy, unpredictable, and playful — all for good reason. So we ask:
How can we make civic life more meaningful for more people?
We work across departments and with the community to ask and unpack that question.
Can you describe a few of the projects you’re currently working on?
The New Urban Mechanic’s work spans departments and across topic areas from Streetscape to Third Space to Education, etc. Here is a sampling of our current projects:
Boston Saves: the City’s Children’s Savings Account (CSA) program. The program is designed to give families and the city the opportunity to co-create a long-term savings plan for college, post-secondary education and training, for their children.
Engagement Center on Melnea Cass + Mass Ave: low threshold day shelter that rethinks how physical space can help with the recovery capital necessary for the population on Melnea Cass + Mass Ave achieve housing stability and long term recovery.
Community Crowdsourcing Third Space Investments: collaborating with ioby, the team will prototype a grassroots crowdsource campaign to help communities create spaces in their community based on their needs.
Senior Home Share: With the help of nesterly the Housing Innovation Lab is connecting seniors with housing capacity to graduate students in need of housing to help with raising housing cost while adding financial capacity to the senior.
Autonomous Car Testing: Partnering up with Nutonomy and 2 other autonomous vehicle companies to test in parts of South Boston to understand how the future of autonomous vehicles intersect with the lives of our residents and visitors.
Summer Meals @ City Hall: testing the intersections of Civic Engagement and Summer Meals
To learn more about the mechanics and their work around Boston, check out the MONUM website here.