Author Archives: urbandemos

Visualizing Tenant Activism: A Report from Our March 10 Event

nyc-apartmentsThe issues of tenants’ rights and affordable housing in New York City have become more visible in the past few years as rents have skyrocketed and long-term renters have been displaced. Chris Hendrick, an MFA candidate at Parsons, The New School for Design, and Claudia Prat, an M.A. candidate at the Studio 20 Journalism program at NYU, have taken that visibility to a new level. Continue reading

Volunteer for Democracy 2.1

Former UDL staffer and overall guru of civic engagement, Asher Novek, is now working for this great project.  Reach out to him if you’re interested in volunteering.

Democracy 2.1 ( is seeking volunteers with a strong interest in public policy to help run the first US based experiment alongside New York City Councilmember staff, including Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Councilmember Benjamin Kallos, and Councilmember Brad Lander.  D21 is an innovative anti-corruption voting model, designed by activist Karel Janecek and tested in cities around the world including London, Cambridge, Paris, and Vienna.  D21 is testing the voting system in New York City with the help of the New York City Council and the Participatory Budgeting Project to test an experiment during the coming Participatory Budgeting cycle.

We are seeking volunteers to help run the experiment in council districts around New York City.  Volunteers will work closely with the D21 team to implement the testing software and work with constituents coming out to vote.  Apply now for volunteer opportunities available in the week of April 11th-19th in districts around New York City.

A stipend to cover transportation and food will be provided, as well as a free t-shirt and invitation to our “wrap” party, once Participatory Budgeting ends.
Please email if you are interested.

Introducing UDL Blogger Melissa Bean

Earlier this fall, the Urban Democracy Lab welcomed writer Melissa Bean as our chief blogger. Born in Rochester, New York, Melissa earned her B.A. at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study in May 2014. Her concentration, entitled Deviance and Social Control: Realities and Representations, combined an in-depth study of sociology, literature, and psychology, allowing her to take an interdisciplinary approach to questions of social regulation. Melissa is also a creative writer whose fiction has appeared in Scissors and Spackle, Literary Orphans, and The Gallatin Review. She is currently pursuing an M.F.A in Fiction at New York University.

Over the next several months, Melissa will be speaking with activists, scholars, artists, filmmakers, community organizers, and other changemakers who are helping us all think more creatively and sustainably about what urban democracy looks like. She will uncover the motivations and challenges that have helped shape her subjects. And, crucially, she will ask these important leaders to tell us what tools are necessary to advance our shared goal of a just and thriving urban future.

Please join us in welcoming Melissa Bean to the Urban Democracy Lab!