New Urban Mechanics: How Peer-Produced Government Can Help Fill Potholes, Save Cities, and Maybe Even Rescue Democracy

September 23, 2010

Thursday, September 23 at 5:30 p.m.
Allison Dining Room, 5thfloor, Taubman Building, 15 Eliot Street

Mitchell Weiss, Chief of Staff, Office of Mayor Thomas M. Menino, City of Boston

Commentary byRobert Behn, Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

"We are all urban mechanics" Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said in January 2010, ushering in his fifth term and heralding a new era of "peer-produced" city government. A combination of new technologies, a resurgent spirit of civic engagement, and the latest social science on cooperation is leading cities to re-think the way they deliver services. New Urban Mechanics is Boston’s path-breaking approach. Smartphone apps that crowd-source participation, strategies that stress experimentation, and a philosophy that invites neighbors to play a larger role are already having an impact in Boston. The new Chief of Staff to Mayor Menino, Mitch Weiss, will share his perspective on these trends and whether they represent the next big wave in municipal innovation.

Cosponsored by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the Taubman Center for State and Local Government