Mayor Michelle Wu and the Office of New Urban Mechanics Innovate Transparency with Social Annotation

By Julie Schochet | 21 July, 2023

BOSTON, MA, March 23, 2023 – Mayor Michelle Wu and the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics (MONUM) are pioneering a new approach to public communication with the recent deployment of Hypothesis, a social annotation tool, during the Mayor’s first State of the City address.

In a bid to enhance transparency and clarity, Mayor Wu sought to provide the public with context-rich understanding of her speech. The solution: annotate her State of the City remarks to give Boston residents a backstage pass to the City’s operations.

“We wanted to give the public a clearer and more complete picture of plans and resources discussed,” explained Michael Evans, Program Director at MONUM. This called for a tool that enabled direct annotations alongside the Mayor’s remarks, a feat achieved by Hypothesis.

Hypothesis, known for its user-friendly interface, allows for easy interaction with the speech text. “We wanted our audience to focus on the speech, not the tool itself,” emphasized Michael, “Hypothesis overlays discussion right onto the text of the speech, which was exactly what we were looking for.

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About The Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics
The Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics in Boston serves as the City’s civic research and design team. As an in-house R&D group, MONUM explores and shapes projects ranging from the future of civic engagement to City infrastructure to public services.

About Hypothesis
Hypothesis is an advanced web annotation software solution that implements a real-time conversation layer over the entire web. It enables sentence-level note-taking or critique on top of a diverse array of texts, such as blogs, legislation, articles, and news — with users creating over 50 million annotations thus far. 

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