NYC's Chief Digital Officer, Rachel Haot on the work of Jane Jacobs

The Verge interviewed Rachel Haot, New York City's first Chief Digital Officer.

Her favorite book she's read lately?

The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. It’s about urban development but is equally applicable, in a metaphorical way, to digital user experience design. For example, Jacobs writes about how successful urban design means that the same city street is versatile and multifaceted enough to engage, support, serve, and sell to different kinds of people at different times of the day – and this makes the street safer and more attractive, because there are always people around.

The same thing applies in the design of social media strategy and crowdsourcing initiatives: attracting a diverse range of participants to a Facebook page or hackathon has a similar self-regulating effect, ensuring a more constructive, respectful dialogue and caliber of engagement – and better results.

I really like how Haot connects these dots between urban design and digital experiences in social media. The same connections can be made with all the topics we cover here at TreeHugger. Whether you're talking about sustainable design or fashion or housing or technology or whatever, there's so much overlap between the principles that are needed for success.

It is also just nice to see Jacobs' work getting more attention. TreeHugger readers will likely be familiar with Jacobs. Her work is hugely influential in guiding today's thinking on sustainable urbanism. We spoke with Mary Rowe about the work of Jane Jacobs in our BookHugger series in 2011.

More on Jacobs below:
Walking Home: Ken Greenberg On How Jane Jacobs Was Right (Book Review)
Jane Jacobs "Ideas That Matter" - Even More So Today (Book Review)
Great Urban Mashup: See Cities As Jane Jacobs Did
Cities Need More Jane Jacobs, Less Marc Jacobs

Tags: New York City | Social Media | Social Networking

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