Reactivating public space using co-created tech solutions in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
“Technology is definitely a viable vehicle that can transform public safety issues: whether it is around lighting or creation of projection spaces, our community is safer now.” –
Jasmine Bowie, Executive Director of Brownsville Community Justice Center
In Spring 2017 NYCx Co-Labs, formerly known as Neighborhood Innovation Labs, inaugurated the Brownsville Community Technology Board with the participation of 25 community members representing 18 organizations. Throughout the spring and summer the board gathered to identify community needs. After eight community workshops and three public forums, two issues were selected as the priority challenges: Waste Management and Safety at Night.
In October 2017, The NYC Department of Transportation, The NYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), and NYC Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (MOCTO) launched the NYCx Co-Labs Safe and Thriving Nighttime Corridors Challenge. The team received 35 applications, including from startups in the Urban Tech NYC network, large corporations (AT&T, Intel, G&E), teams at leading academic institutions (MIT, Harvard, Columbia), and local orgs/technologists, and foreign companies.
The goal of the challenge was to address the following outcomes:
- Enhance the experience and use of public spaces at night
- Increase nighttime activity in neighborhood corridors
- Help to unlock Brownsville’s nighttime activity and cultural life
The Brownsville Community Justice Center (the Justice Center) in partnership with Peoples Culturepresented the project Ville-luminate the Block, and Anyways Here’s the Thing presented Nightlight. Both initiatives were selected as the two winners of the competition to increase safety in public spaces at night through education, multimedia design, projection mapping, XR storytelling, pedestrian sensor technology to culturally activate the built environment through smart lighting.
In December 2019 the Justice Center installed the equipment of the two winners of the Safe and Thriving Night Time Corridors Challenge in Osborne Plaza and along Belmont Avenue in Brownsville, Brooklyn. This included a premier LM3X 3D projection mapping system installed on a light pole in Osborne Plaza and Belmont Avenue, and seven GFCI receptacles with LED light strips installed on five poles along Belmont Avenue. The Justice Center inaugurated the safe and thriving nighttime corridor pilots at their Open House. As of 2022, the projection mapping system and the light strips continue to be utilized in the Brownsville community.
“Such an approach meant to change the script regarding the role of technology and safety, by moving away from surveillance, crime predictability and policy enforcement towards community ownership and youth education.”
Oscar J. Romero Jr, Director of Inclusive Innovation & International Cooperation, NYC Office of Technology and Innovation.
NYC Mayor's Office of the CTO; NYC Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, NYC Economic Development Corporation, NYC Department of Transportation.
Open Innovation Challenge