Living Lab

Make It in Brooklyn

Living Lab

DBP is partnering with tech groups to solve operational and quality of life challenges facing cities. Using DBP-operated public spaces as testing grounds for their smart city technologies, participating groups and startups will share their data and findings with DBP for future planning purposes.

Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP) has announced the latest cohort to join its Living Lab program – an initiative aimed at implementing smart cities technologies to solve urban challenges. The new partners include urban tech startups Walkspan and Aclima, as well as the NYU Tandon School of Engineering’s Center for Urban Science and Progress (NYU CUSP).

The three groups that are launching pilot studies work across a variety of fields, including air pollution monitoring, digital mapping, and spatial analysis. NYU CUSP will study traffic along Downtown Brooklyn’s Shared Street with light pole-mounted sensors to measure how the program affects traffic, pedestrians, and other users. Walkspan surveys the walkability of Downtown Brooklyn using their sidewalk microscale assessment and mapping system with a focus on several transit hubs. Aclima will measure the air quality of Downtown Brooklyn with its hybrid vehicle.

The data gathered through the Living Lab program is then used to solve operational challenges and quality of life issues in Downtown Brooklyn. Through this type of collaboration, DBP can serve as a catalyst for smart cities entrepreneurs and technologists to create scalable solutions to urban challenges.

“These smart cities projects represent a means of improving the safety, efficiency, and beauty of our neighborhood,” said Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Regina Myer. “The use of technology to improve the quality of life in Downtown Brooklyn also serves to support emerging creators at a time when many businesses are struggling. We’re excited to see what the partnership between organizations like ours and tech companies and institutions can produce and for our living lab to help cultivate new ideas and thriving companies.”

“Collaboration is a key to any successful community, and we are extremely pleased to have a partner at DBP who sees the value of enhancing society through innovation and promotes ideas that create smarter cities,” said Sayar Lonial, Associate Dean for Communications & Public Affairs, NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

“DBP’s Living Lab initiative is a valuable resource for startups looking to partner with local neighborhoods to apply their technologies to serve real community needs,” said Shaina Horowitz, VP of Product and Programs at Newlab. “We’ve seen this firsthand in our partnership with DBP. They are essential partners for startups like Aclima who are participating in Newlab’s Circular City Studio to deliver on NYC’s sustainability agenda.”

  • Explore the Pilots

    Meet the groups that are launching pilots studies in Downtown Brooklyn.


    The three groups that are piloting studies work across a variety of fields in urban planning, including noise pollution monitoring, digital mapping, and public data analysis. Their findings will be valuable to public space operators such as DBP – which manages three Business Improvement Districts across Downtown Brooklyn – enabling efficient management and strategic programming of the public realm.


    Aclima will measure air quality throughout Downtown Brooklyn using hybrid vehicles outfitted with air and particulate sensors. Over the course of three months, Aclima hopes to establish a baseline of air quality with the goal of providing this data to community group and governments. Aclima is a participant in Newlab’s Circular City Studio, which enables companies to pilot transformative technology throughout New York City, including in Downtown Brooklyn, to solve pressing challenges.


    NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress (NYU CUSP) is an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to the application of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in the service of urban communities across the globe. They are developing sensors to install on Downtown Brooklyn’s Shared Street to analyze the movement patterns of the Shared Street’s users such as vehicle and intersection approach speeds, as well as pedestrian and traffic counts.


    Walkspan is a data-driven and location intelligence technology firm dedicated to finding solutions to enhance the experience of walking. Sidewalk conditions are analyzed through a series of “walkability constructs” including access, amenities, comfort, interest, legibility, safety, social equity, and vibrancy. Walkspan’s findings and recommendations from the study area around several transit hubs in Downtown Brooklyn will be used to support DBP’s planning and operations.


    Citiesense assembles map-based features to help community organizations like BIDs advance the neighborhood improvement process, by designing a knowledge management platform to store local real estate information and information about street conditions, as well as offering location data analysis, and tracking change over time.

    Citiesense will digitize the Downtown Brooklyn Real Estate Development Matrix. Citiesense will digitize DBP’s real estate development pipeline. The platform will link properties to relevant city data, including assessed values from the Department of Finance and construction permit information from the Department of Buildings.

    DBP is also working with Citiesense to create a platform that allows for images to be added to our inventory of office and retail space, and will map, warehouse, and analyze streetscape assets to expedite repairs and upgrades.


    Qucit is using AI to sort through hundreds of data sets, such as weather data, open street maps, calendars and any sensors available, and produce results that help cities better understand their public spaces. This information helps urban service providers, private operators and public institutions to improve their quality of service and make the most of their public spaces.

    Qucit is working to help Downtown Brooklyn to understand its public spaces from a number of different angles through public data analysis and on-the-ground surveys.

    Sounds of New York City

    Sounds of New York City (SONYC) is an NYU research initiative focused on developing an acoustic sensor network for the monitoring, analysis and mitigation of urban noise pollution.

    Noise pollution is one of the most pernicious quality of life issues, yet most cities lack the resources for continuously monitoring noise and understanding the contribution of individual sources, the tools to analyze patterns of noise pollution at city-scale, and the means to empower city agencies to take effective, data-driven action for noise mitigation.

    SONYC is deploying sensors to monitor noise along the Fulton Mall. This data will help inform long-term planning for the busy corridor and assist DBP’s operations team in reporting noise pollution issues to the city.


    Numina measures what, where, when, and how things move in streets and open space.

    In partnership with New Lab City, DBP is working with Numina to understand the volume and path of pedestrians, bicycles, and vehicles along the Fulton Mall. Through the pilot, Numina is also testing its ability to provide insight on trash-related issues and streetscape fixture usage. DBP plans to leverage the data to advocate for safer streets and more informed deployment of resources to improve the quality of life in the district.

Get involved with Living Lab

Are you interested in launching a pilot with Living Lab? Apply now and we’ll be in touch.


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