NNEKA
SOBERS

Civic Technology

Design Research

Urbanism

About Nneka

Nneka is an urban designer working to catalyze equitable urban futures by designing transformations that restructure the relationship between vulnerable communities and the built environment. Working at the intersection of urban planning, UX research, and civic technology, Nneka takes a systems-level and empathetic approach to developing equitable digital tools that lead to positive transformations in cities. Nneka's process includes conducting and translating urbanism and ux research into into data-driven product design and development pipelines. Examples of her work includes helping communities of color develop ownership and management of self-supporting communal systems (e.g. community-run urban infrastructure, local circular economies).

Currently, Nneka is a Product Manager at NYC Planning Labs. Prior to her time at NYC Planning Labs, Nneka co-founded a civic tech startup that helped low-income communities manage self-organized infrastructure systems (e.g. waste management) powered by a barter-based digital economy. Nneka also worked as a Design Research Lead at WeWork.

Nneka holds a Master of City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a concentration in City Design (‘18) and Bachelor of Arts in Urban Planning, with a minor in Landscape Architecture from Virginia Tech (‘14).

Selected Work

/ Ghana 2018 / ghana 2018 / ghana 2018 / ghana 2018 / ghana 2018
/ Ghana 2018 / ghana 2018 / ghana 2018 / ghana 2018 / ghana 2018
/ Autonomous community systems
/ GUYANA 2018 / GUYANA 2018 / GUYANA 2018 / GUYANA 2018 / GUYANA 2018 / Guyana 2018
/ GUYANA 2018 / GUYANA 2018 / GUYANA 2018 / GUYANA 2018 / GUYANA 2018 / Guyana 2018
/ CIRCULAR WASTE ECONOMY
/ NEW YORK 2021 / NEW YORK  2021 / NEW YORK 2021 / NEW YORK 2021 / NEW YORK 2021
/ NEW YORK 2021 / NEW YORK 2021 / NEW YORK 2021 / NEW YORK 2021 / NEW YORK 2021
/ POPULATION FACTFINDER
Experience
Product Manager
NYC Planning Labs
2020
-
Present
Design Research Lead
WeWork
2019
-
2020
Co-Founder + CEO
Swappl
2017
-
2019
Research Assistant
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
2016
-
2018
Visiting Cities Consultant
Buro Happold
2017
Program Manager
University of Virginia
2015
-
2016
RECOGNITION
Imagineer Fellow
Afrotechtopia
2020
Speaker
The Design Museum's Design Research for Change Symposium
2019
Goss Fellow
MIT Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship
2018
Recipient
MIT's School of Architecture + Planning Outstanding Thesis Award
2018
Recipient
MIT FinTech Startup Award for Social Impact
2017
Recipient
Architect Magazine Studio Prize
2017
EDUCATION
Master's in City Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
2018
Bachelor of Arts in Urban Planning
Virginia Tech
2014
SKILLS
Research + Strategy
UX Research • Workshop Facilitation • Scenario Planning •
Product Management
Agile Methods •
Sprint Planning •
KPI Analysis •
Product Design
Rapid Prototyping •
Wireframing •
Service Blueprinting •

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