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

ASSET BUILDING
In The Tank: Player One Has Escaped Poverty

New America's Jamie Zimmerman and Greta Byrum discuss the potential for social cause gaming and mobile games to raise awareness.


OPEN TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE
Special Section in the International Journal of Communications on Meaningful Broadband Adoption

OPEN TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE and RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
Defining and Measuring Meaningful Broadband Adoption

Greta Byrum and Seeta Peña Gangadharan published an article in the International Journalism of Communication on broadband adoption.


OPEN TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE
Defining and Measuring Meaningful Broadband Adoption

In many communities, major swaths of the population remain off the digital grid and unable to partake in broadband’s many benefits.


OPEN TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE
Development as Freedom: The World Bank’s how-to series “Amplifying Citizen Voices through Technology” (PART 2 OF 2)

OPEN TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE
Development as Freedom: An Alternative Framework for ICT Program Evaluation (Part 1 of 2)

OPEN TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE
OTI Releases Philadelphia BTOP Evaluation Instruments

OPEN TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE
Universities as Hubs for Next-Generation Networks

In our view universities can play a critical role in spurring next generation networks into their communities.


OPEN TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE
Researchers Ask: What is Meaningful Broadband Adoption?

OPEN TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE
Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) Evaluation: Is a story worth a thousand numbers?

OPEN TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE
Broadband Build-Out from a Planner's Perspective: Why Local Communities Should Continue to Manage Local Rights-of-Way