Greta Byrum is the Co-Director of the new Digital Equity Laboratory at The New School, a university center advancing digital equity through organizing, applied research, and policy strategy. One of the Lab's major focuses is supporting community wireless networking solutions. Following the repeal of net neutrality in the US, many communities are turning to grassroots tech solutions.
Previously, Greta was the director of the Resilient Communities program at New America. Byrum led Resilient Networks for RISE : NYC, a project supported by New York City's Economic Development Corporation. Resilient Networks provides training, tools, and equipment to community organizations in five Hurricane Sandy-impacted New York City neighborhoods so they can build storm-hardened local WiFi. The project is based on Byrum's earlier field research in New York, the Gulf Coast, and the Silicon Valley region showing that in disaster and emergency situations, local residents and community media organizations are often the most critical first responders.
Previously, Byrum provided leadership for the field team at New America’s Open Technology Institute, co-developing and co-piloting the “Digital Stewardship” approach to community technology with partners in Detroit and Brooklyn. While at OTI, Byrum also produced a suite of recommendations for community-led broadband planning, developed an impact evaluation plan for the nationwide public-private partnership EveryoneOn, and contributed to evaluations of other broadband programs including Federal stimulus projects in Detroit and Philadelphia.
Byrum's public speaking includes keynotes for the Meeting of the Minds summit and the American Planning Association's annual conference, featured talks for Futureshocks 2018 at the Museum of London, Bloomberg Live, MozFest 2017, Moogfest 2016, SXSW 2015, 2016, and 2018, Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, MIT's Urban Risk Lab, the Net Inclusion Summit, the Lincoln Land Institute's Journalism Forum, and the Personal Democracy Forum. Her writing on resilience and community technology has been featured in Politico, The Atlantic, Slate, and Real Clear Policy.
Byrum’s other activities include micro-radio broadcasting, poetry, and art. As co-creator of the curatorial team dBfoundation, she has exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, and around the world. She holds an MS in urban planning from Columbia University and an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Greta was also a 2017 Loeb fellow with the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where she focused on democratizing communication systems for communities negatively affected by climate change and systemic inequity.