Christina Franken

My bio:

Throughout my eclectic career, I've questioned how technology can and should influence urban space, what role open and closed systems play in cities and how "users" can impact complex systems and in cities especially their environment.
I’m an architect, a generalist - instead of buildings, I prefer to create better systems based on true need. This could take the shape of product, teams, or more conceptual constructs. I have a track record for navigating interventions across physical and digital space, and a special talent for balancing between the interests of tech enthusiasts and more traditional stakeholders in today’s urban landscape.

Currently I support Mapbox's public and private sector partners globally to build better data-driven solutions addressing local and global challenges in cities. These could vary, ranging from traffic safety to behavior change and disaster response. With a background in architecture, the original generalist profession - now working in a Silicon Valley technology startup, I've gained plenty of experience managing multi-stakeholder, cross-sectoral projects, and building products and services that for new customer groups. I have developed a special talent for balancing between the interests of tech enthusiasts and more traditional stakeholders. Full disclosure: it's about ignoring the hype and staying results oriented.
Prior to Mapbox, as Head of Growth at, I was exploring how data can be utilized to improve the urban environment for more people to choose active modes of transport, motivating users worldwide to be more active. With, the Human team analyzed and visualized data on human activity in 900 cities worldwide in real-time.
I speak on a multitude of topics at events, and am interested in educational / academic opportunities preparing more individuals for an environment that constantly connects the digital and offline worlds. Let's talk!

Examples of previous talks / appearances:

  • SCEWC 2018: Solutions to Enhance Urban Mobility

    I spoke about our Data Analysis on the topic of Traffic Safety in Washington, DC at Smart Cities Expo World Congress 2017 in Barcelona:
    Advancements in connectivity, eco-efficiency and self-driving functionalities coupled with citizens’ behavioral changes are giving rise to new proposals enabling customizable mobility packages while different stakeholders compete for a share of customers’ mobility spends. This practical session will showcase innovative solutions and successful experiences in dealing with traffic management and public transport to enhance urban mobility.

    This talk is in: English
  • Keynote on "smarter data-driven mobility services" at Impact CEE, Krakow, PL

    I was speaking on the topic of "Smart about location: how AR, deep learning and data analytics can future proof mobility services" on this outing for the Eastern European Startup scene in Krakow, Poland.

    This talk is in: English
  • Moderated local government panel @ State of the Map US 2017, Boulder, CO

    I organized and moderated a panel on the benefits of open data and OpenStreetMap in cities. Excerpt of the description:
    "In cities across the globe, local OpenStreetMap communities work diligently to improve and maintain the map of their city freely available to a wider non-technical audience. Simultaneously, local governments publish technical geospatial files to their open data portals, in many cases inaccessible to the average constituent. How can OpenStreetMap and local government work closer together to make open data widely accessible? How could the value of OpenStreetMap for public sector projects be communicated?

    More info

    This talk is in: English
  • Was interviewed as an expert for Accenture's "Perfect City", 2017

    Next to other experts on the subject, I was interviewed by Accenture NL on the topic of what the perfect city of the future will look like.

    This talk is in: English
  • Presenting Vision Zero model | Smart Cities Week DC 2017

    Mapbox Cities partnered with Washington D.C. to help the city reach its Vision Zero goal of zero traffic fatalities by the year 2024. Using open data on traffic incidents from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) combined with anonymous sensor data, we’ve identified the highest risk areas to focus interventions — the results surprised us. I've shared the full story of this project at Smart Cities Week.

    You can see the slides here.

    This talk is in: English
  • Roundtable guest | CityLab Paris 2017

    I was part of an invite-only roundtable discussion on Smart Cities and necessary technical infrastructure facilitated by AWS during CityLab Paris.

    This talk is in: English
  • Cities: No more guessing, lots more knowing

    Massive real-time datasets are transforming how cities are designed, planned and managed. I moderated a panel discussion at Locate 2018 in San Francisco with
    * Mike Migurski of Remix
    * Nick Chim of Sidewalk Labs
    * Carrie Bishop, Chief Digital Services Officer of City of San Francisco
    to discuss how data is changing civic decision-making.

    This talk is in: English
  • De Mobiele Stad 1 Drukte in kaart | De Zwijger Amsterdam

    As part of my previous startup, I spoke about huge amounts of human activity data and how that could be beneficial for smart city planning.

    This talk is in: English
  • Open Mapping presentation | IDRG Conference | The Hague, 2017

    I presented on open mapping in the 2016 refugee crisis at the International Data Responsibility Group meeting in The Hague.

    This talk is in: English
  • RightsCon Brussels 2017

    I was a panelist in a panel on data responsibility by the International Data Responsibility Group (IDRG) in Brussels, 2017.
    We also organized a mapathon on mapping Palestinian villages in OpenStreetMap during the lunch break.

    This talk is in: English
  • Panelist | OGP Summit 2016, Paris

    I was a panelist in two panels during OGP Summit 2017 in Paris.
    1. Benefits of open mapping as disaster response.
    2. Satellite imagery

    This talk is in: English