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

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.


RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
New America’s Resilient Communities Program Announces Community Partners for RISE : NYC

New America’s Resilient Communities is thrilled to announce its partnership with six community anchor organizations.


RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
Resilient Networks for RISE : NYC Takes Off

The Resilient Communities program and New York City Economic Development Corporation kicked off their “Resilient Networks” partnership.


RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
Resilient Communities Supports Future-Proofed, Resilient Communications in Recent Comments to HUD and FCC

RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
Principles of the Resilient Communities Program

The Mission of New America's Resilient Communities goes beyond assisting in times of disaster or crisis.


OPEN TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE, RESILIENT COMMUNITIES and NEW AMERICA NYC
Fast and Free

Wi-Fi is essential to New York City's strategy to give every resident and business access to affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband.


OPEN TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE, RESILIENT COMMUNITIES and NEW AMERICA NYC
Fast and Free

Currently Wi-Fi carries 60% to 80% of all broadband data traffic, but a new technology is threatening it's effectiveness.


RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
Learning from Brussels: Rethinking Airport Security

Greta Byrum explores how we can help airport staff keep passengers and patrons safe in an emergency


OPEN TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE
New America at SxSW, 2016

New America drove the conversation around policy and technology at the 2016 SxSW conference.


OPEN TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE
OTI and EveryoneOn

This toolkit is designed to provide a resource for any organization offering digital services.


Three Years Since Sandy, Are We Ready?

Pamela Puchalski and Greta Byrum ask whether, for all of the federal billions spent, we’ve gotten any better at helping communities help the


RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
What are Community Wireless Networks For?

Various claims have been made about community networks as hybrid technological-social systems, but the data presents several challenges.