• Smash the Box

United Nations Global Goals Jam Seattle

(United Nations Global Goals Jam Seattle 2018 video, Mary Gómez Camba of The Think Visual Project & Rene Vivo from Vivo Media)

On Saturday November 3, 2018 community members from the Puget Sound Region came together to participate in the 1st Global Goals Jam event in Seattle. The sold out event took place at Impact Hub Seattle in the historic Pioneer Square neighborhood. If you aren't familiar with the Global Goals Jam, it's part of the United Nations 2015 initiative, which created a movement of globally coming together  to help solve the world's most challenging problems. After identifying the world's 17 most challenging problems, they were turned into goals. For this session StBox focused on Sustainable Development Goal #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities. 


I was honored to present at this UN event and talk about how we can help plan and design our cities/communities to be sustainable, inclusive, and innovative with the integration of self-driving cars. With each year till 2030, the UN selects challenges that are needed to be tackled. For the year 2018 the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include:

#1 No Poverty

#3 Good Health & Well-Being

#5 Gender Equality

#7 Affordable & Clean Energy

#11 Sustainable Cities & Communities 

I of course wasn't the only one to present. There were local presenters from the Puget Sound Region who are all working towards tackling the SDGs within their work. Each presenter had about 10 mins. to talk about what they do, their journey, and how their work is related to the SDGs. 

For SDG 11, I spoke on "Envisioning Seattle with Self-Driving Cars". 

Smash the Box (StBox)

My journey as an AV Transportation Planner + 1 year of Seattle Uber driving

AVs 101

Seattle's public perception of AVs

Status of AVs

SDG 11 challenge


After the presentation  the crowd quickly formed into groups and from there would be tasked with short design sprints throughout the day eventually ending with a product to help tackle one of the SDGs. Typically this event runs for 2-days, but for this Global Goals Jam it was a 1-day event. 


Meet the SDG 11 Seattle team! Not only did folks travel from Olympia, West Seattle, but we had recent transplants coming from Italy. Our team was led by Pablo Gaztelu (He's the guy standing in the picture wearing the grey sweater), a student at the International University Madragon  & former Co-Founder of AboraWorld.


Pablo was kind enough to sit down with me

and speak about the event, so here are some of the takeaways from it:

The process started in Spain, when Abora World was given the okay to organize the Global Goals Jam Seattle event. Abora World, is a team of 10, with one mission and that is to help change the world. The team of 10 has members from different parts of the world including: Egypt, Spain, China, Armenia, and Costa Rica. This team helps put together events as well as helping entrepreneurs in all sorts of ways. It's a little hard to describe them with one sentence, but put it this way they work on helping making this world a better place.

After getting the okay to organize this event with the United Nations Development Program they would partner with the Digital Society School, and Impact Hub Seattle to put on the event in Seattle,WA. "The most difficult part of organizing the event was not knowing anyone - Pablo" Not only was Pablo and his team from Abora World able to plan this, they were able to sell every ticket! Pablo mentions that although it was difficult to put together it was great to see the whole process develop.  


Without a doubt the SDG 11 Seattle team was diverse in experience and professional backgrounds. What comes next are the unique experiences from this diverse team who live, work, and play in Seattle, coupled with the SDG 11 challenge and you get magic, or what I like to call a bottom up approach. A bottom up approach that is sustainable, inclusive, and innovative in design solutions.  

Team Members 

  • Brandy Deutsch (Accountant)

  • Jose Bonilla (Accountant)

  • Emma Thordsen (Seattle-based creative Biomimetics - She thinks about sustainable cities in her sleep)

  • Alessia Pizzoccheri (Front End Developer)

  • Mike Richardson

  • Pascha Scott (Brand Communications & Retail Design)

  • David Prindle (Coach)

  • Seemi Hasan (UW Graduate Architecture student)

  • Benjamin Donan (Graphic Designer)

  • Helene Costa De Beauregard  - Co-Founder  of


The design sprints were an important part of this day. The sprints helped format the day  through understanding the challenges at hand and providing an end result to build from. What is shown below are the major points coming from each SDG 11 Seattle sprint.  

Sprint 1. What the problem was to solve

Brainstormed the problems + Identified stakeholders with post-its attached to a large easel pad sheet

Improve transportation system

Traffic & black carbon 

City has been designed for cars reverse that and design cities for people

Sprint 2. Finding the solution

  • Used a general consensus model

  • Bubble AV pod (see image in Sprint 4), uses renewable sustainable resources, and will transport people securely to spaces that are active with people and mixed-uses of land + amenities

  • Create a space for no cars. Section off a highly pedestrian trafficked area in downtown Seattle off to cars.  

  • Look at similar street designs in Spain. Use Google Earth virtual reality & Oculus Rift to experience different street types. Thanks to Jonnie Wilder, from Zip!Bang!Wow! & Bruce Wolcott, teaching faculty at Bellevue College for your Virtual Reality hardware! 

Sprint 3. Prototyping the solution and gathering feedback  

  • This is a prototype that would expand on the current 3rd Ave. arterial sectioned off to cars during peak hours. 

  • Uses similar Uberpool algorithm for efficient flow of traffic + help break social isolation and build on a friendlier/safer social environment 

  • Builds social cohesion + social fabric of neighborhood + works on creating a social environment that is viable and brings positive change with good character to the neighborhood

  • Carpool stations to help reduce use of cars in city and introduce the community to a new mode that is sustainable, innovative, and inclusive. 

Sprint 4.  Testing and pitching the solution

Gabriel-Bello Diaz, from Makerologist provided the SDG 11 Seattle team with a fun  AI robot that was placed under the dinosaur pod that learned the black track line and moved in a forward motion along the track line. 


(Pictures and videos can be found on the Global Goals Jam Seattle Facebook page.)

After the 4 design sprints would come the final pitch. The pitch would be presented to the audience and the mentors who drilled each team with questions. Our team put together a futuristic story that placed you in the near future of Seattle with AVs. The story can be viewed here via our team's Google Drive Document.


After the pitch SDG 11 Seattle team members brought up issues and concerns about the future state of AVs in our cities. 

  • Jobs: What will happen to the jobs of the current drivers who make a living off of driving (e.g. Uber, Lyft, Truck drivers, Bus drivers)? 

  • Racial & Social Justice Environmental Issues: Will this new technology only be for the rich? Will it disproportionately impact historically marginalized communities, similar to the design of the Eisenhower highway system? 

  • Inclusivity: Making sure that this new transportation technology will be for all (genders, sexualities, religions/ethnicities, abilities, and ages)


Ah yes, what exactly is the point of a Global Goals Jam if nothing is to come from it? Well, StBox is excited to announce a teen tine preview of the future and let's just say that includes sustainable self-driving pods. Stay tuned! 

Recent Posts

See All

Autonomous Vehicle & Urban Planning Presentation

Yesterday I had a the opportunity to present on why Urban Planners should start planning for Autonomous Vehicles. I gave the hour long presentation to Crystal Taylor's, Visiting Urban Studies Assistan