Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 12:00 pm
Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University
The citizen response to 2012's Hurricane Sandy was in many important ways more effective than the response from established disaster response institutions like FEMA. New York-based response efforts like Occupy Sandy leveraged existing community networks and digital tools to find missing people; provide food, shelter, and medical assistance; and offer a hub for volunteers and donors.
In this talk Willow Brugh -- Berkman fellow and Professor of Practice at Brown University -- demonstrates examples ranging from Oklahoma to Tanzania where such distributed and digital disaster response have proved successful, and empowered citizens to respond in ways traditional institutions cannot.
Willow Brugh, known as willowbl00 works with Aspiration Technology, and as a Professor of Practice at Brown University. She’s also affiliated with the Center for Civic Media at MIT’s Media Lab, the New England Complex Systems Institute, and a fellow at Harvard Law’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
She facilitates hackathons from Berlin to Chicago to Nairobi to the first hackathon ever IN Port-au-Prince, embedding technology with local communities through open source and codesign. Since founding both makerspaces and ways to link those community workshops to one another, she’s started working on long-term water sanitation projects in Tanzania with local innovation spaces, the World Bank, Red Cross, and Little Devices out of MIT.
In brief, Willow looks at connections, systems, empowerment, and powerlessness and strives to both understand and improve whatever she finds. Sometimes that’s with the Occupy Sandy Movement, sometimes it’s with the Naval Defense University.
She has transcendance tattoos that are impressive enough to be photographed for a National Geographic blog, and has keynoted the IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference. Willow has successfully worked with FEMA Field Innovation Team for Hurricane Sandy, and was awarded a ceremony at the White House for her contribution.