Stephen Walter researches and designs civic technology. He is a special assistant to the mayor and program director in the Boston Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, where he leads efforts around experimental civic engagement, design research, and sensor technologies. Formed in 2010, the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics is one of the world’s first municipal civic innovation teams, focusing on human-centered design that is both functional and delightful.
Previously, Stephen was the founding managing director of the Engagement Lab, an applied research lab that designs civic technology and playful tools for urban planning, international development, and social resilience. He has also worked with the United Nations Development Program, the US Department of State, the International Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre, and the PBS television shows Frontline and Nova. He helped lead the design, development, and implementation of civic technology projects in Detroit, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Sweden, Moldova, Zambia, Egypt, and Bhutan, and his research has appeared in the books Civic Media: Technology, Design, Practice (MIT Press) and The Playful Citizen (University of Amsterdam Press). He is a founding member of the Civic Media Consortium and the Local Sense Lab.