Three new partners will use Downtown Brooklyn as a testing ground for technology that has the potential to make cities more livable.

Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP) today 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.”


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.