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Our Approach

The future of cities is no longer held in one big plan but in a thousand measured little strokes.


It's Easy!

We first work with local partners to run data-driven experiments in the field. We then pick the most promising ones and set to demonstrate how that experiment can become a useful innovation for a specific community. Finally, we make as much as we can accessible to anyone who is interested in replicating or adapting that experiment for their community.


Smarter Cities for Everyone!

Data has increasingly become destiny for cities by helping infrastructures and urban systems become more responsive to their human clients. Most data-driven innovation is sponsored by and designed for cities where most things already work. We, at the Urban Launchpad, are committed to working with local partners to innovate in the most challenging places, starting with Dhaka, the vibrant capital of Bangladesh.


We’re Busy Demonstrating that Open, Urban Infostructures can be Built Anywhere at an Affordable Cost.

Recent technological breakthroughs available everywhere -- smartphones, mobile data networks, and clouds -- combined with organized groups of humans, which we affectionately call flocks, are enabling the construction of world-class, low-cost, and open infostructures to make the best of even the most dated infrastructures.


We’re in Non-Stealth Mode

The potential of open, urban infostructures to transform how cities across the globe are built, managed, and enjoyed is much greater than any work that we can do ourselves. Instead of keeping our work secret, we believe that through open data, open curricula, and an open invitation for anyone to work with us, we can collectively and rapidly address the most pressing urban challenges before it’s too late.

Where We Work

We’re dedicated to partnering with local organizations in some of the world’s least livable cities, where even a few small gestures can make a huge improvement.

UL x Dhaka

Over the past several months, a flock of Dhaka bus riders organized by the Urban Launchpad and local partner Kewkradong Bangladesh have been working hard to collect and map information about the city's complex bus network. With the help of dedicated volunteers and supporters from Bangladesh and abroad, we were excited to distribute an alpha print of the bus map in May 2013!

We'll be updating soon with more information about our initiatives in Dhaka, but until then you can find out more about the First Bus Map of Dhaka here.

Check out the map!

UL x Mexico City

Starting in the summer of 2013, the Urban Launchpad worked with a team of students in Mexico City to create an invaluable database cataloging over 650 hours of geo-tagged and time-stamped bus monitoring data. This data’s potential, leveraged through early GIS and Google Fusion Tables analysis, has yielded a rich source of data analysis, capable of providing insight, previously unavailable, on Peseros, VW, and van operations at key transit hubs in the city.

More coming soon!

The Urban Launchpad Team

Our projects are realized through the (often global) collaboration of technologists, urban planners, designers, local advocates, and researchers.

Albert Ching

San Francisco

Albert is a former researcher in sustainable transport at MIT and a former Googler who helped Google Maps become number one in the world.

Stephen Kennedy

San Francisco

Stephen is an award-winning designer and urban planner who has worked on projects helping communities from Israel to Indonesia.

Muntasir Mamun


Muntasir is a Dhaka-based change-maker and founder of Kewkradong, a social advocacy group which organizes an annual thousand person Coastal Cleanup.

Masuk Ahmed


Masuk is an innovative change-maker with a passion for adventures and has worked in various projects around Bangladesh & globally with the motive of bringing social change in various communities.

Kuan Butts


Kuan is a graduate student currently studying City Planning at MIT. He has worked prior as an urban designer in St. Louis, MO and is interested in the use of technology in fostering municipal and regional contexts within local communities.

Daniel Palencia

Mexico City

Daniel is a civil engineer currently spending most of his time programming and riding his bike around Mexico City. He worked with UL in 2013 flocksourcing Mexico City busses.

Arturo Cadena

Mexico City

Arturo is an urban planning student at UNAM who has worked with local government and research projects focusing on "Urban Social Production." He worked with UL in 2013 flocksourcing Mexico City busses.

Imagine living in a rapidly-growing city of 18 million residents and trying to get around using an overcrowded bus system that has no map or clearly marked stops.

via navigation.com

Read the navigation.com interview with Albert Ching