Boston Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics

Carry Forward or Leave Behind:
The Role of a Civic Designer

Wednesday, June 16
10-11am EST

During this session three designers from the Boston Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics reflect on their 10-year practice in city government. Coworkers and collaborators Sabrina Dorsainvil, Wandy Pascoal and Nigel Jacob define 2020 as a tipping point, bringing fresh reflection and interrogation to their practice as civic designers.
    During their live and unscripted discussion, they’ll explore the tension that arises when designers focus on problem-based thinking versus looking at root causes. They hope to unpack the role of local government in not just being a service provider, but rather a systems-level change agent. Beyond local government, this invitation to dialogue aims to explore the responsibility we each have to humanity and to one another.
    Join this innovative and reflective trio as they discuss their insights, including the need and determination to carry forward:

  • humanity, justice and equity as central values

  • our power and the possibilities of our actions and the roles we play

  • the recognition that seemingly small details can have great impact

  • the realization that inaction is an action

  • the ability to always be critical of whose imagination we exist in today

  • the knowledge that our work is built upon histories

  • the recognition that we can choose to care and act—and make space for each other to thrive

Nigel Jacob

Nigel Jacob (he/him) is the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, a civic innovation incubator and R&D Lab within Boston’s City Hall. Nigel’s work is about making urban life better via innovative, people-oriented applications of technology and design. Prior to joining the City of Boston in 2006, Nigel worked in a series of technology startups in the Boston area.
    He was also previously the Urban Technologist in Residence at Living Cities, a philanthropic collaboration of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions. Nigel is currently a board member at many social impact organizations, including the Engagement Lab at Emerson College and Cities of Service, and is an Executive-in-Residence at Boston University.
    Nigel’s work has been written about extensively in magazines such as Wired, MIT Technology Review, Fast Company and books including The Responsive City, by Stephen Goldsmith and Susan Crawford and Smart Cities by Anthony Townsend.
    This ground breaking work has earned Nigel a number of awards including being named a Public Official of the Year by Governing Magazine, a White House Champion of Change, the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation award, and most recently, the MassTLC Distinguished Leadership award.

Sabrina Dorsainvil

Sabrina Dorsainvil (she/they) is Boston-based artist, designer and illustrator. She is also the Director of Civic Design for the City of Boston’s Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics. In that role she uses creative approaches to navigate issues around public health, engagement and the built environment. She co-created the inaugural exhibition of "Undesign the Redline" with Designing the We, a social impact design studio. That exhibit begins to expose policies, practices and investments that perpetuate inequality in American cities. Over the years she has collaborated with organizations on projects centered on social, spatial, and environmental justice. Her practice as a public artist and illustrator explores facets of identity, difference, deep reflection, storytelling and the celebration of our shared humanity.
    Sabrina was a Neighborhood Salon Luminary and Polly Thayer Starr Visiting Artist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum as well as a featured designer and exhibition advisor for Design Museum Everywhere’s “We Design: People. Practice. Progress.” She continues to serve as a visiting artist, panelist, educator and lecturer in a variety of spaces. Sabrina is a national board director for Creative Reaction Lab and co-chair of the MassArt Alumni Leadership Council. She has also joined the board of directors for local organizations Now + There and CultureHouse. Sabrina is a member of the Guild of Future Architects and collaborator for Musings from the Margins of a Polychrome Future. She has a BFA in Industrial Design from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and an MS in Design and Urban Ecologies from Parsons the New School of Design.

Wandy Pascoal

Wandy Pascoal (she/ela) is interested in the ways housing design and policy come together, as she seeks to exist in the liminal space between the two. This inquiry led to her current role as the Housing Innovation Design Fellow, a position co-hosted by the City of Boston’s Housing Innovation Lab and the Boston Society for Architecture. In this work she strives to center the many voices of Boston’s residents and their complex experiences in order to drive the design and implementation of the city’s current and future housing models.

Wandy holds a BFA in Architecture from UMass Amherst and a Master of Architecture from MassArt where she focused on the urban and housing design of a self-sustaining eco-village in her home country of Angola. Previously, she worked as an architectural designer at Stull & Lee, Inc focused on affordable housing projects in the New England area. She has also worked with the Madison Park Development Corporation, where she first gained a deeper understanding of the complexities of local services and housing creation. Wandy is currently a resident of Brighton, MA and an active member of BOSNOMA. She also identifies as an artist with a focus on music, watercolor painting and photography.