Chris Osgood at MONUM discusses civic collaboration


Chris Osgood, co-chair of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics (MONUM) in Boston, is pictured here with co-chair Nigel Jacobs.

Chris Osgood is the Co-Chair for the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics in Boston, Massachusetts, and was profiled in our case study, “Providing Public School Bus GPS Information to Parents in Boston.” His experience in city government has always focused on creating new programs and policies that increase and improve collaboration across sectors.

We spoke to Chris about the innovative ways MONUM works across sectors. “I can’t think of a single one of our projects that isn’t cross-sector,” Chris said. MONUM designs and implements “experiments that offer the potential to improve radically the quality of City services.” Each of their programs relies on partnerships between Boston residents, academics, entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, and municipal staff and leaders.

Chris’ efforts show the impact working across sectors can have for city residents:

The Mayor’s Office for New Urban Mechanics is experimenting with a new mode of civic collaboration, one that isn’t simply about government itself or residents by themselves, but what government and residents can actually do together. It’s about empowering residents with civic opportunities and really enabling them to change the city around them.
Partnership building requires a lot of stewardship. The public, private, and non-profit sectors all run in different ways, at different speeds, and with different interests. A lot of what we try to do at MONUM keep these sectors complementary and ensure there is overlap of interests and attention to resources. Together we can achieve things that are of common interest but often take an uncommon amount of effort in order to get done.