Greta Byrum

Director, Resilient Communities Program

As director of the Resilient Communities program at New America, Greta Byrum reimagines the way we design, build, and manage local systems to support local residents as leaders, organizers, and preparedness experts. Her collaborative projects build from the urban planning, design, emergency preparedness, tech, policy, organizing, and media fields to create and support flexible, resilient communications infrastructure.

Byrum currently leads Resilient Networks for RISE : NYCa project funded by New York City's Economic Development Corporation. Resilient Networks provides training, tools, and equipment to community organizations in six Sandy-impacted New York City neighborhoods so they can build storm-hardened local WiFi. The project is based on Byrum's earlier field research in New York, the Gulf Coast, and the Silicon Valley region showing that in disaster and emergency situations, local residents and community media organizations are often the most critical first responders.

Previously, Byrum provided leadership for the field team at New America’s Open Technology Institute, co-developing and co-piloting the “Digital Stewardship” approach to community technology with partners in Detroit and Brooklyn. While at OTI, Byrum also produced a suite of recommendations for community-led broadband planning, developed an impact evaluation plan for the nationwide public-private partnership EveryoneOn, and contributed to evaluations of other broadband programs including Federal stimulus projects in Detroit and Philadelphia.

Byrum's public speaking includes a keynote for the 2013 American Planning Association annual conference and talks at Moogfest 2016, the Meeting of the Minds Detroit 2014, SXSW 2015 and 2016, Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, World Town Planning, Columbia University, the Personal Democracy Forum, and the long-running online urban planning course “Technicity.” Her writing on resilience and community technology has been featured in the Atlantic, Slate, and Real Clear Policy.

Byrum’s other activities include micro-radio broadcasting, poetry, and art. As co-creator of the curatorial team dBfoundation, she has exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, and around the world. She holds an MS in urban planning from Columbia University and an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Greta is also a 2017 Loeb fellow with the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where she will focus on democratizing communication systems for communities negatively affected by climate change and systemic inequity.

All Work

RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
Marketplace Tech: Communicating in Disasters

Greta Byrum was featured in Marketplace Tech to discuss what happens to communications networks during natural disasters.


RESILIENT COMMUNITIES and NEW AMERICA NYC
What’s the Greatest Risk Cities Face?

Greta Byrum writes for POLITICO about America's poorer urban areas and how they are suffering from inferior broadband access.


RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
Resilient Communities in Detroit: #AMC2017

RESILIENT COMMUNITIES and NEW AMERICA NYC
Building Towards Resiliency with Healthy Digital Ecosystems

RESILIENT COMMUNITIES and NEW AMERICA NYC
Resilient Communities represents New America at National Planning Convention

RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
Connecting Communities for Regional Resilience

A report on the discovery and pre-planning process for networked resilient communications infrastructure in the Silicon Valley region.


RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
Announcing our New Report: "Connecting Communities for Regional Resilience: A Case Study of the Silicon Valley Region"

The Battle for Broadcast Sovereignty

The standoff at Standing Rock and the AT&T merger jointly point to another emerging conflict, the struggle for control of public airwaves.


RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
How New York's Businesses Are Preparing For The Next Sandy-Sized Storm

Greta Byrum was featured in a Fastcoexist article.


RESILIENT COMMUNITIES and NEW AMERICA NYC
Digital and Environmental Justice in the Era of Climate Change

Access to inclusive technology is critical to participation in all areas of community-building, including the fight against climate change.


RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
Yesterday’s Internet Isn’t Good Enough for Tomorrow’s Cities

The Resilient Communities program was profiled in a Next City article.


The Time to Build Our Social Infrastructure? Right Now.

This hurricane season, resilience should mean including and learning from all community members, argues Greta Byrum.