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Mayor Walsh Announces New Co-Chair of the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics

August 21, 2015

Mayor's Office

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Mayor's Office

BOSTON - Friday, August 21, 2015 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced Kris Carter as the new co-chair in the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics - the City's civic innovation team. Carter joins current co-chair Nigel Jacob, and replaces outgoing co-chair and the city's new Chief of Streets, Chris Osgood. 

"Kris has shown extraordinary leadership and creativity during his time as a New Urban Mechanic," said Mayor Walsh. "I am honored to name Kris the new co-chair of New Urban Mechanics and know that his innovative talent will only continue to grow and improve City services."

Carter started in New Urban Mechanics in 2011 as a fellow. During his time, he has led Office's focus on creative transportation solutions in the City of Boston, supported the development of the Innovation District and created a new visual storytelling outfit for City's digital outreach strategy. 

"I am honored to take on this role and keep collaborating with civic entrepreneurs focused on improving the quality of life for the people of Boston, " said Carter. "Our team is excited to continue testing solutions for a broad range of complex urban problems and being bold in our experimentation."

Carter has led a vast amount of work out of the New Urban Mechanics' Streetscape Lab, which is focused on making streets that are great public spaces, support sustainable transportation and are easier to use. Some of those innovations include the roll-out of the ParkBoston and TicketZen smartphone apps that focus on making the parking experience more user friendly. Carter also led the City's pilot program to install side guards on City vehicles to increase cyclist safety. The sideguard pilot was the largest in the nation, and led to the adoption of a City ordinance requiring all City vendors and City trucks to have side guards and blindspot mirrors installed. Carter also oversaw the expansion of the Boston Bike Program and Hubway system in 2012. 

Last year, Carter co-led the Public Space Invitational, which engaged architects, engineers and artists to creatively improve our civic spaces. The Invitational resulted in over 70 entries and the installation of projects like the Stairs of Fabulousness, a multi-colored stairway located on the 3rd floor mezzanine of City Hall, and the Portable Reading Room, a rolling library along the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Carter also led the collaboration between the City and the MIT's Media Lab spinoff, Changing Environments, on installing the country's first solar-powered benches with recharging stations for smartphones, also known as Soofas.

As part of his work in New Urban Mechanics, Carter has filmed and produced over 40 videos for the City's YouTube channel, which highlights everything from the hokey program in charge of cleaning Boston's streets, to those getting married in City Hall. Since it's launch by the City's digital team 16 months ago, the channel has garnered over 85,000 views.

Prior to his work in the New Urban Mechanics, Carter served as the City's Interim Bike Czar, managed youth development programs in Boston and served with AmeriCorps. He is a graduate of Villanova University, and received his Master's Degree from Tufts University's Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning program. Carter currently resides in Jamaica Plain with his partner and two children. 

"I've worked with Kris at City Hall for several years now and in that time he has always impressed me with his deep creativity, intelligence and commitment to the work of serving the public," said Jacob. "I am both excited and proud to have Kris join me as Co-chair of the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics."

The Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics serves as Mayor Walsh's civic innovation group. A City agency that was formed in 2010, New Urban Mechanics pilots experiments that offer the potential to significantly improve the quality of City services. To learn more about their work follow the office on Twitter.