“Creating a context in which risks can be taken to enable and sustain a culture of innovation.”
Nigel Jacob, Co-chair, MONUM
“The Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics is Boston’s civic innovation group. We partner with entrepreneurs inside and outside of City Hall to explore better ways to serve and collaborate with people. We do this by running discrete experiments, understanding their impact, scaling what works and learning from what doesn’t.”
£0.5m (£0.3m from government and £0.2m from external sources)1
MONUM’s Citizen Connect mobile app is used by residents to report problems such as graffiti to City Hall, with 2.5 million issues being reported. (or around 300 cases across Boston reported each week).2 The app has been replicated by other cities across the nation.
The Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics has been described as the ‘Office of Research and Development’ for the City of Boston. Its team of five staff focuses exclusively on new experimental approaches to delivering services with and for residents. Its work is divided across four ‘labs’:
Since its creation, MONUM has run around 50 experiments across its four 'labs' and focuses on using technology as a means of engaging the public and improving residents’ experience.
One MONUM project is Street Bump an app that detects and maps rough patches of roadway. Street Bump is providing Boston City Hall with new intelligence on the state of the roads, with over 1,250 problems identified and fixed through a new partnership with utility companies. Early results show that Street Bump could lower the cost of road inspection.3