Cornell Tech’s Urban Tech Hub Releases Pilot: New York City

In December 2022, Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams released the “New” New York Plan—an ambitious set of forty initiatives to revive New York City following the COVID-19 pandemic. That plan included the goal “Make New York the Global Hub of Urban Innovation” (Initiative 31).

Cara Eckholm, a Fellow at the Jacobs Urban Tech Hub, served on the “New” New York advisory panel. Since the plan’s release, she has worked with the New York City Economic Development Corporation on a nine-month research collaboration to put Initiative 31 into action. Research involved over 120 stakeholders, including government agencies, tech companies, nonprofit program operators, academics, and financiers. The result is Pilot: New York City, a roadmap to make New York City the global hub of urban innovation.


The roadmap includes three overall themes which lay the foundation for implementing Pilot: New York City.

  1. First, the City should enhance its own innovation capacity through supporting innovation personnel at agencies and initiating more direct collaboration with local universities, to ensure that promising pilots transition to procurement orders and policy changes.
  2. Second, the City should pursue procurement modernization by codifying a “challenge-based” procurement method, allowing agencies to define the problem they are trying to solve and test different technology solutions in the real world, on the path to making a final purchase decision.
  3. Third, the City should enhance its support infrastructure for urban innovation startups through the convening of a pilot network—a group of accelerators and dedicated pilot sites—that together offer a streamlined point-of-entry for startups launching and growing in New York City.

The Urban Tech Hub looks forward to continuing to collaborate with the New York City Economic Development Corporation on this important initiative. Want to learn more about the research and methodology behind Pilot: New York City? Email Interested in piloting your product in New York City? Email NYCEDC at


Want to participate in Pilot:NYC Policy Lab’s soft launch? See call for applications here

Download Full Report