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Anthony Townsend

Dr. Anthony Townsend is a senior research scientist at New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management, where he is investigating the impacts of mobile information services and communications on travel behavior and long-term shifts in mobility demands in megacities, and the impacts of both trends on transportation planning and policy analysis.

Dr. Townsend’s return to NYU resumes his earlier collaboration with the Taub Urban Research Center, where from 2000-2005 he directed research sponsored by the National Science Foundation on urban technology and the Department of Homeland Security on crisis communications.

Dr. Townsend is also a fellow at the Data & Society Research Institute, a newly launched think/do tank located in New York City. His research focuses on the emerging field of urban informatics and its impact on local government and citizen engagement.

From 2005 to 2014, Dr. Townsend was research director at the Institute for the Future, an independent research organization located in Silicon Valley. There, he led the development of strategic forecasts on smart cities and the Internet of Things, big data and inclusive urban development, a national innovation strategy framework for a major emerging economy, cloud computing and the restructuring of a major state court administrative agency, and the evolving role of science and technology parks in economic development.

Dr. Townsend is actively involved in policy-making and economic development organizations around the world. In 2004, he was a Fulbright Exchange Scholar at the Seoul Development Institute in South Korea, studying the social impacts of broadband on the Seoul metropolitan region. He was one of the original founders of NYCwireless, a pioneer in the municipal wireless movement that promotes the use of public-access Wi-Fi in the development of local communities.

He testified at a United States Senate hearing on “Research Parks and Job Creation” on December 9, 2009, and serves on the advisory board of the International Association of Science Parks. He has served on mayoral municipal broadband advisory boards in both New York City and San Francisco, and advises technology and economic development agencies in several global cities.

He was recently named one of Planetizen’s Leading Thinkers in Urban Planning & Technology and one of the Top 100 Thinkers tracking the Internet of Things by Postscapes.

His first book, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, was published by W.W. Norton & Co. in 2013.

Dr. Townsend holds a PhD in urban and regional planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a master’s in urban planning from New York University, and a BA in urban studies with a minor in physics from Rutgers University.

Updated: Wednesday, June 13, 2018