NYCEDC and New Lab Launch 2020 Edition of Circular City to Accelerate New York’s Sustainability Vision

By New Lab / January 9, 2020

In this expanded edition of the program, startups will apply technologies to reuse and recycle resources, eliminate waste, and improve energy efficiency through pilots across New York City

BROOKLYN, NY – New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and New Lab announced the launch of the 2020 edition of the Circular City program to test and pilot solutions designed to address the increasingly complex and urgent challenges facing cities. New Lab and NYCEDC partnered to create the Urban Tech Hub in 2017 and the Circular City represents a key part of the vision to make New York City a global leader in urban innovation.

This year, the focus is on New York City’s transition to a circular economy and the future of energy efficiency in the built environment. The call to action for startups is to apply for the opportunity to pilot their products or technologies in real urban environments to help New York City work toward a more sustainable, equitable, and accessible future.

“New Lab’s unique model for bringing together frontier tech startups, local government stakeholders, academic institutions, and private sector investors is a powerful platform for addressing critical real-world urban challenges,” said New Lab CEO Shaun Stewart. “The 2020 edition of Circular City will build on the success of our initial program, exploring new solutions for meeting New York City’s broader sustainability goals.”

Innovation and the growing tech sector are key not only to New York City’s economy, but also to our efforts to stop climate change and safeguard the environment,” said NYCEDC President and CEO, James Patchett. “The Circular City program shows what can happen when the private and public sector team up with civic groups and academic experts to tackle the biggest challenges facing New York City. We are excited to see how the new solutions emerging from the 2020 Circular City Program can benefit all New Yorkers.”

Interested startups with a relevant technology or product are encouraged to apply through the open call at newlab.com/circularcity. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis with input from the 2020 program collaborators, including returning partner Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, as well as new partners, Governors Island and the Flatbush Junction BID, which will serve as potential sites for this year’s technology deployments.

The 2020 edition of Circular City will focus on advancing New York City’s sustainability vision through technology, supporting the transition to a circular economy, a closed-loop system in which waste or pollution is eliminated and resources are kept in circulation through reuse, regeneration, and recycling, and improving the energy efficiency of buildings — the city’s leading source of greenhouse gas emissions. Circular City participants will also contribute to the development of an urban data collaborative that facilitates the public-private exchange of data for the public good. Academic researchers, policy experts, and city stakeholders will leverage the collaborative to put into practice the concepts of urban data exchange developed in the first edition of the program.  

Since launching in May of 2018, the Circular City program has served as a unique platform to study how deploying and scaling emerging technologies can address the complex challenges of modern urban life. In the first edition, the program partners came together to focus on mobility, economic development, and resilience issues in Downtown Brooklyn. New Lab-based startups Numina, CARMERA, and Citiesense launched on-the-ground pilots to collect and analyze neighborhood-level data and insights. Research teams from Columbia University, NYU’s GovLab, and Cornell Tech worked alongside the startups, city stakeholders, and corporate partner Citi Ventures to produce the Circular City Research Journal.

“Downtown Brooklyn is committed to a more sustainable New York City, and we are excited to return as a partner for the second year of Circular City,” said Regina Myer, President of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. “The Circular City program offers us a unique opportunity to both support and benefit from cutting-edge, data-driven solutions to challenges facing Downtown Brooklyn. We look forward to seeing how the program will help us improve the quality of life for Downtown Brooklyn residents, businesses, and visitors.” 

“The Navy Yard’s 300 acres, more than 70 buildings, and street and transportation network function as a city within a city where urban innovators can test new ideas in a collaborative community among a diverse range of companies,” said David Ehrenberg, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. “The Circular City program advances our mission by bringing new partners together to explore and develop groundbreaking concepts to solve real-world problems at the Yard.”

“Governors Island is committed to a more sustainable future and is an ideal testbed for piloting and showcasing solutions in response to our changing climate,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of The Trust for Governors Island. “We are thrilled to join the 2020 Circular City program as a partner and host site and are eager to work with technology startups, leading academics, and our fellow civic institutions to find innovative ways for reducing our carbon footprint and minimizing waste.”

“Flatbush Junction BID is excited to be part of the Circular City program to support Brooklyn’s core asset, its diverse community, by promoting a more sustainable and healthy future for New York City,” said Kenneth Mbonu, Executive Director of the Flatbush Junction BID. “We believe this program will help create equitable and inclusive communities, creating shared benefits for the residents of Brooklyn.”

“This public-private collaboration promises to harness the innovation of local startups that develop groundbreaking new methods for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reusing more products and materials, eliminating waste and building a more sustainable economy,” said U.S. Representative Nydia M. Velؘؘázquez (D-NY). “Projects like these can help position New York as an environmental leader. I applaud NYCEDC and its  partners for this initiative and look forward to its results.”

“Increasing cooperation between the tech sector and government is critical to ensuring that technology continues to impact the day-to-day life of city residents,” said Council Member Robert Holden, Chair of the New York City Council’s Committee on Technology. “New York City would not be a global leader in technological innovation if not for programs like Circular City, and partnerships between NYCEDC and New Lab, and I am pleased to see the relaunch of this important program.”

“The 2020 Circular City program will offer a venue for public and private partners to collaborate on critical solutions that will reduce urban pollution and promote environmental sustainability for generations to come,” said Council Member Paul Vallone, Chair of the Economic Development Committee. “I encourage our local startups to apply for this opportunity and be a part of creating a sustainable and equitable future for New York City.”

About New Lab:

New Lab’s flagship location in the Brooklyn Navy Yard dates back to 1902 and served as the primary machine shop for every major ship launched during World Wars I and II. Inspired by the building’s rich history of innovation, the New Lab Co-Founders envisioned a way to return the building to relevance, launching New Lab in 2016 with to champion entrepreneurship and innovation.

Our ecosystem includes over 150 member companies, partnerships with forward-thinking corporate and civic entities, investors, and the support of domain experts – all working together to scale frontier technologies. To date, New Lab has supported its member companies achieving more than $400M of successful exits, and a collective valuation of over $3B.

About NYCEDC:

New York City Economic Development Corporation is a mission-driven, non-profit organization that creates shared prosperity across New York City by strengthening neighborhoods and growing good jobs. NYCEDC works with and for communities to provide them with the resources they need to thrive, and invests in projects that increase sustainability, support job growth, develop talent, and spark innovation to strengthen the City’s competitive advantage. To learn more about our work and initiatives, please visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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