Gabriella Gómez-Mont is neither an urban planner nor an engineer nor a politician. She’s an artist. But as creative director of Mexico City’s Laboratorio para la Ciudad (Laboratory for the City), she has tackled some of the thorniest problems confronting the modern metropolis—with astonishing success. She and her team launched one of the biggest open data projects ever seen, drawing numbers from institutions and individuals, building map upon map of their city, to better understand challenges as varied as traffic deaths and social isolation.
Today, cities as far flung as Seoul and Manila seek Gómez-Mont’s expertise. As host Sarmishta Subramanian puts it: “Her power of one is in a sense the power of millions—a faith in the talents and wisdom and energy of ordinary citizens, in ordinary neighbourhoods. A belief that change can be made thoughtfully, and for the better.”