At the start of 2015, Davey Gibian and I officially opened up Office:MG, a strategy and project-design firm focused on development and growth challenges in complex urban and conflict-affected areas.
Office:MG is (Not) New...
In late 2014, Special Project Office refocused its fairly diverse project portfolio, and Office:MG has spun off to continue the work Davey and I brought into and developed at SPO. Among the many things learned, the interdisciplinary and collaborative methodologies we explored have revealed the incredible potential for meaningful intervention when the most consistently segregated ways of thinking are brought to bear on hard questions with the common goal of addressing them. Together, Davey and I are combining over 20 years of addressing uniquely 21st-century problems with 21st-century strategies.
If I've learned one thing through my career in research and practice thus far, it's that
linear and siloed approaches just don't work in nonlinear and complex environments.
This is true for not only cities -- existing cities, rebuilding cities, or cities under (armed or economic) siege -- but also our real and imagined spaces of any density, our uneven landscapes of economic opportunity, our globally competing political structures and priorities, our localized pluralistic and conflicting cultural identities, our fundamental wants for agency and self-determination, and even (or especially) our data and its meaning. We've opened Office:MG to build on this lesson and continue learning. Our goal, we like to say, is not to simplify this complexity; the goal is to make it uncomplicated in order to design and act within it.