Circular City Data Program for New Lab and NYC EDC

Challenge / Opportunity

Though we talk of an overabundance of data, it is often still not visible or tactically wielded at the local level in a way that benefits people. Moreover, while data abounds and is so crucial to address urban challenges data markets are highly inefficient and far from considering both the public and private good. 


Data abounds but resources to make sense out of it are scarce, people’s needs are not being met, urban challenges are getting more complex, urban inequality is widening, and the world is in deep need of smarter ways of collaboration capable of establishing the local, regional, and global partnerships needed to build new and sustainable social, economic, and environmental models. For this to happen, conditions for safe and iterative experimentation need to be created and consortium of supporters who can help scale promising concepts built. The new concept ARCx created - circular city data – emphasizes how ‘sandboxes’ for collaboration are necessary to meaningfully explore the complicated and pressing issues surrounding urban data.

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Click here for more information, videos and testimonials and here to access our Circular City Research Journal Vol. 1.
Intervention / Solution / Approach

Circular city data is the topic being explored in the first iteration of New Lab’s The Circular City program, which looks at data and knowledge as the energy, flow, and medium of collaboration. Circular data refers to the collection, production, exchange, use, reuse and sharing of data, and business insights, between a series of collaborators around a shared set of inquiries. In some scenarios, data may be produced by start-ups and of high value to the city; in other cases, data may be produced by the city and of potential value to the public, start-ups, or enterprise companies. The conditions that need to be in place to safely, ethically, and efficiently extrapolate the highest potential value from data are what this program aims to uncover (through transaction mechanisms that do not necessarily require currency, i.e., through reciprocity).


This new program aims to reimagine the public-private partnership as an agile collaboration where entrepreneurs, scholars, city leaders, private companies and forward-looking investors prototype, iterate and deploy technology-based solutions to the most pressing challenges facing cities today. The Circular City was conceived to enable urban tech companies to bring their work beyond the walls of New Lab and out into the city. The focus in year one was mobility and congestion, diversified economic development and urban resilience and sustainability.

In addition to the Research Journal for the dissemination of lessons learned and encouragement of more research in the circular city field, the outcomes and results for New York City after year #1 of the program are summarized in the figure below.