Scott Burnham

“Social entrepreneurs are cultivating, absorbing and transforming urban spaces into viable models for generating creative capital. Scott Burnham is one of those entrepreneurs. Burnham’s approach is aimed at advancing issues of urbanism and public engagement, transforming existing infrastructures into sites where a diverse public can experiment with new technologies, experience new ways of imaging the city and generate new social relations that alter the urban lexicon.”

- David Bruce, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London

"Even if Scott Burnham has a couple of hard drives full of ideas, as soon as you let him out into the city he comes back with new ideas about how the city can be better for you as a citizen."

- Kerstin Brunet, Director, Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design, Stockholm

Scott Burnham is an urban strategist and design director who has created and directed initiatives in over a dozen cities worldwide, specializing in leveraging existing assets for additional use, to meet the increasing needs of urban residents, and to increase social capital.

He is the creator of Reprogramming the City, a global initiative showing how existing urban structures and systems can be re-imagined, re-purposed and re-invented to do more in the city. Following its launch at Boston’s BSA Space gallery in 2013, Burnham has created versions of the project for the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design in Stockholm, Sweden, the Danish Architecture Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark, and the Virginia Center for Architecture, Richmond, VA, with related Reprogramming the City workshops taking place in numerous other cities. The latest version of Reprogramming the City is currently being developed for the Norwegion Centre for Architecture and Design in Oslo, Norway.

Burnham is the former creative director of the $32 million cultural regeneration Urbis project in Manchester, UK and the Trust Design initiative for the Netherlands Institute for Design in Amsterdam. His urban projects include Urban Play, created for Droog Design and the city of Amsterdam, Bairro Criativo created for Porto, Portugal, and the Made of Jesolo design initiative for Jesolo, Greater Venice, Italy, where he pioneered a city-wide design strategy to reuse and repurpose existing and discarded urban materials to revive areas throughout the city.

He is the author of “Finding the Truth in Systems: In Praise of Design Hacking” an exploration of how hacking, grass roots initiatives and open source approaches are transforming design and cities around the world.  He has addressed The World Bank, the global MIPIM Mayor’s Think Tank, the World Urban Development Congress and the International Conference on European Policy on creative strategy and design in urban contexts and contributes to a number of publications on resourceful urban design strategies.

In recognition of his work, Burnham was made a Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce in London in 2010. More information can be found at

What does Scott Burnham teach?