David Colby Reed

Research Assistant
  • Space Enabled

I work to build equity into the architectures of sociotechnical systems

I'm a systems designer, educator, and technologist. 

I'm currently a PhD student at the Media Lab, where I'm a member of the Space Enabled research group and a cofounder of the Space Governance Collaborative.  My research focuses on designing participation, voice, and equity into the architectures of complex systems like law, economies, and technologies. The Big Idea is to design systems that create patterns of social relations that are compatible with democracy. 

Prior to coming to MIT, I founded, with Lee-Sean Huang, Foossa, a service design, strategy, and futuring practice based in NYC. My Foossa projects have ranged from one-day design thinking and problem-framing workshops, to years-long service innovation projects in partnership with clients and other stakeholders. I've worked to design public services for the City of New York, storytelling experiences for the Kigali Genocide Memorial, technology tools for multilateral organizations, and financial instruments to advance economic security, among other projects. 

I've also worked on projects to advance the ethical governance of artificially intelligent systems, and I'm a past Fellow of the Assembly program at the Berkman-Klein Center at Harvard and the MIT Media Lab

I'm a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), and a former trustee of the NYC chapter of the Awesome Foundation. I've served on my local community board in Manhattan for several years, and been a lecturer in design and management at the Parsons School of Design at The New School as well.  

I studied cognitive science at Harvard (BA), public policy and economics at NYU (MPA), and, at the Media Lab (MSc '20, PhD in progress), I'm taking courses from across the Institute that help me think through how to balance democratic engagement with technical expertise in complex systems.