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 and NEW AMERICA
Flooding the System: Climate Change Could Knock the Internet Offline

The goal isn't just to build more durable machines, according to Greta Byrum, director of the Resilient Communities Program.


RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
Every Community is Resilient

Learning from how communities share information every day to plan for community-based emergency communications.


OPEN TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE and RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
OTI and EveryoneOn Release Adoption Metrics Rubric and Instruments

OTI has examined the factors that influence participants’ choices to engage (or not engage) with Internet service offers.


ASSET BUILDING, BETTER LIFE LAB and FAMILY-CENTERED SOCIAL POLICY
Strengthening Ties

The first report from New America's Family-Centered Social Policy Initiative examines how policies are working against families.


OPEN TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE and RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
Building Broadband Commons

What roles should government, private industry, and civil society play in ensuring that all citizens have access to sufficient broadband?


OPEN TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE and RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
It Takes a Village: The Rise of Community-Driven Infrastructure

Thinking local—and integrating social engagement into systems planning—means reimagining infrastructure as we know it.


OPEN TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE and RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
Building Cohesive Neighborhoods by Sharing Broadband

A guide to cooperative broadband infrastructure sharing for catalytic, equitable, place-based development


OPEN TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE and RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
Audio Slide Show: Wireless Infrastructure

Communities without easy or affordable access to the internet are setting up their own wireless networks. In this audio slide show, Greta By


OPEN TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE and RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
"Getting Connected: On Digital Stewards and community networking"

“The goal,” Byrum says, “is to design projects so they’re addressing multiple interlocking needs of the community,” from improving communica


OPEN TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE
New Digital Stewards Program Developing Community Networks in Chicago

The Open Technology Institute is pleased to support the efforts of the Woodlawn Broadband Expansion Partnership to bring gigabit connectivit


RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
Building Resilience From the Community Up

Greta Byrum discusses community resilience in RealClearPolicy.


OPEN TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE
Scaling Community Technology

The failure of many well-intentioned technology projects may in the end be a failure to plan for scale in an intentional way. Here’s how to