What gets measured gets changed. Make Public works with local government, nonprofits and other urban partners to both guide and research the social impact of their work and help inform changes to policy, programs and design. Social impact measurements help our partners advance their work towards equitable and sustainable outcomes as well as hold decision-makers accountable.

We work closely with our partners to identify values and demonstrate how they can be reflected in their public realm planning strategies alongside economic and environmental concerns. We create resources, facilitate training, and develop tools to measure and highlight those values. We support local leaders to build capacity within their own organizations and strategize with partners to transform the public realm while centering the communities who inhabit it. 

We see the public realm as all aspects of cities which have an impact on public life, this can be spatial or organizational. It includes public spaces, plazas, parks, transportation networks, community based organizations, engagement processes, public programs and more. Our vision is that spatial or organizational equity can only be achieved when there is local representation and agency, our work is centered on developing metrics for social impacts in the strategy, processes, design, and operations of the urban ecosystem.

Do you want to build equity and sustainability into your public realm strategies? Do you need help establishing the right goals to do this and measuring progress toward those goals? Do you need custom tools to support community advocacy with social impact data?  Make Public can help.


Our co-founders have been working together since 2016, when they met at Gehl Institute, a non-profit dedicated to putting public life on the agenda of cities. Our varied backgrounds—in urban design, planning, political science, architecture, geography, and policy—have come together to bring diverse perspectives on the critical questions of developing deeper understanding of urban issues.

Larissa Begault, Co-Founder and Principal

Larissa is an urbanist whose experience in design and applied research supports inclusion in public spaces. Larissa has worked at the intersection of public space development and broad issues such as health equity, climate justice and safety. She is an expert in developing frameworks to guide goal setting, support the process, and assess outcomes of projects that would center them on social impacts towards equity. Larissa deeply understands the fine relationship between urban space, social structures, policies, and historic legacy. Her practice reconciles these through multi-method research, local engagement, on-the-ground data collection, and policy recommendation in order to make the urban process and resultant spaces more just. Larissa worked as a researcher at Gehl Institute and the Healthy Materials Lab. Prior to moving to New York in 2013, she practiced in London as an architect and led urban research projects in Cuba and Chile focused on community development and emergency housing, respectively. Larissa developed and taught the course Visualizing Urban Change at Parsons School of Design at the New School and received a bachelor of architecture from the Architectural Association and a master of arts in Theories of Urban Practice from Parsons School of Design.

Email Larissa

Shin-pei Tsay, Co-Founder and Advisor

Shin-pei's experience in practice and policy converges on transforming the built environment so that it centers people. Her expertise in transportation, climate change, urban policy, design, and governance provides a unique perspective on the systems shaping the public realm and subsequently the solutions to change them. She is currently director of policy for cities and transportation at Uber, where she was honored by AdWeek as an inaugural Sustainability Star, and has held executive leadership roles at many types of organizations, including Gehl Institute, TransitCenter, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Transportation Alternatives, and Project for Public Spaces. Her work has resulted in fresh approaches in advocacy, design, and implementation for a people-first public realm, with an orientation on maximizing public benefit and inclusion. The impact of her work can be experienced in cities around the world, from parklets, play streets, plazas, and bike lanes in New York City and Rio de Janeiro to the sustainable mobility plans for cities in the European Union. She is on the Board of ioby and SPUR and taught urban design at Columbia University’ and Parsons School of Design. Her work was part of the 2012 Venice Biennale of Architecture and has appeared in the New York Times, Open Spaces, the magazine of SFMoma, and the Urban Design Forum, among other publications. Shin-pei received her bachelor of arts in government with distinction from Cornell University and a master of science in Cities, Space, and Society from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Email Shin-pei


Build evidence for social impacts through research, framework design, and data analysis

  • Goals and values definition
  • Frameworks and indicators for assessment
  • Outcome metrics definition
  • Multi-method research

Catalyze action through shared learning experiences

  • Facilitation and training
  • Capacity building
  • Practicums

Engage communities through tools and resources that inform design and program development

  • Tools and resource development
  • Pilot program planning

Scale by seeking changes in policy and practice

  • Theory of change creation
  • Policy analysis and recommendations
  • Program design
  • Implementation planning

Strategize on design solutions

  • Design advisory services


Social Impact of Community Based Organizations

Make Public collaborated with Hester Street to research the social impact of Community Based Organizations (CBO). This research formed a key part of an advocacy document 'Essential and at risk, the power of CBOs and the danger of displacement' that demonstrated the need for supporting CBOs' pathway to own their premises avoiding their displacement and protecting communities dependent on services they provide.

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Community Engagement and Social Resilience Framework

In partnership with Rebuild by Design and Centre for Liveable Cities in Singapore, we have developed a framework to support local engagement processes and track its success towards building social resilience and preparedness to cope with the impacts of climate change at the neighborhood level.

Participatory Research Assessments

We are collaborating with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the Center for Court Innovation Neighborhood Safety Initiatives to create a participatory research framework that will allow the program staff and their community partners to draw insights from their public space projects that would support their case for continued public funding. Our impact analysis approach trains their community managers to train residents and youth in data collection and analysis.

Public Space Evaluation in the Bronx

In partnership with Bronx Documentary Center (BDC), we have created an evaluation framework to evaluate an ambitious public space project documenting the stories of residents in Claremont Village in the Bronx. We provided training, tools, analysis, and insights so that BDC can advocate policy changes with robust data at hand, that would enliven the public spaces around Claremont Houses to enrich the lives of residents through documentary arts and placemaking.

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Information Architecture/Toolkit Development

We have partnered with NUMO, a global alliance that channels tech-based disruptions in urban transport to create joyful cities where sustainable and just mobility is the new normal, to create a toolkit to support pilot project implementation of new mobility in cities. The toolkit will be a long-lasting resource for NUMO’s proof-of-concepts into the future.

Projects completed while at Gehl Institute

Inclusive Healthy Places

A partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Gehl Institute, we sought to transform the practices of creating public spaces through a foundational research framework bridging health equity and urban design. This groundbreaking work is currently in the process of being implemented in various forms by national and local organizations seeking to improve project design that create greater inclusion and well-being.

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Public Life Data Protocol

We contributed to the creation of the Public Life Data Protocol, an open data standard for the public realm. The Protocol standardizes the data collection, and thereby allows users to learn from each other’s experiences and insights. As a result of our work, technology start-ups, city agencies, community-based organizations, practitioners, and large development organizations like Sidewalk Lab, have applied the open data standard to innovate around people-first data, such as with the CommonSpace application.

Access Protocol on Github

A Public Life Approach to Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design

CPTED is a multi-disciplinary approach for reducing crime through urban and environmental design and the management and use of built environments. The methodology outlined in this report adapts standard CPTED strategies to offer a human-centered design framework, which can both enhance public life and tackle issues of public safety when used as a comprehensive tool to address real and perceived safety.

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Climate Adaptation

Climate adaptation planning initiatives can be more fully embraced by their users, have longer lasting impact and build resilience more strongly when public life is integrated in the process and outcomes. Public life thrives when physical and social dimensions are considered hand in hand in space planning, development processes and urban governance. The Public Life For Climate Adaptation Framework is designed to help cities to develop evidence on social resilience benefits that could eventually translate into a cost benefit analysis.


January 15, 2021

Hello world! We are back and running. We have also expanded our territory to London, UK and are very excited to dive back into exciting projects. Watch this space...

August 14, 2020

Larissa's twins are born! Welcome Idris and Laila! Make Public will take a break for the next few months!

July 10, 2020

Unequivocally, Black Lives Matter.

When we started Make Public, our vision was to measure the immeasurable and support community-based organizations and changemakers with data about public spaces that might otherwise be difficult to get. It had become frustratingly obvious that equity was something that would not become part of mainstream policy or decision-making if we couldn’t get the numbers to back it.

However, more public space alone will never make up for core essential needs necessary to achieve equity such as equal access to education, job opportunities, transportation, and affordable housing. And most importantly, none of these things make an ounce of difference if a Black person cannot walk down the street without the threat of being harmed. 

And yet, we continue to believe that people need spaces to share and feel safe in, that people, especially those who might be the target of violence and harm, deserve spaces where they can be fully themselves. Public expressions of joy and belonging can be an anti-racist action. The capacity to speak out, protest, and demonstrate - all actions usually taken in public space - are essential to be represented and accounted for by broader society. For too long these needs have been separated from the need to be safe from violence due to racism. We will not tolerate that separation any longer.

Because what we’re doing is partial and imperfect, we commit to listening, learning, correcting, and above all acting anti-racist. We will not be passive observers, we will not keep secrets that powers that be may ask us to keep. To that end, we commit to:

  • Making our work more intentional to address safety and fear from racist acts and violence.
  • Acknowledging and addressing the power imbalance that plays out in how urban spaces are funded, designed, and operated.
  • Educating people about the history of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design and never using it as substitute for anti-racist urban design approaches. Specifically, we will not obscure understanding with the vague use of the word “crime” and will include threats from the state where relevant. Much gratitude to Bryan Lee at Colloqate for this lesson.
  • Including the histories of communities and ceasing erasure of people that may not be physically present but whose prior lives contributed to the places we know.
  • Finding ways to augment the availability of race data.

Finally, we recognize that we are non-Black people (one white, one Asian) attempting to do something that directly impacts BIPOC communities. As such, we recognize that our role is sometimes to get out of the way and let others lead and that the best thing we can do is listen. 

May 8, 2020

Final report of our social impact assessment of Claremont Illuminated, a placemaking initiative by the Bronx Documentary Center is issued.

March 12, 2020

Larissa presents final user profile research and recommendations to NUMO team!

December 19, 2019

Our framework for Center for Livable Cities on maximizing and tracking social impacts in community engagement processes towards building social resilience is complete!

December 12, 2019

Visualizing Urban Change final presentations!

November 19, 2019

Our community based organizations social impact research in partnership with Hester Street Collaborative is complete!

November 13, 2019

Larissa participates in the panel discussion "Urban Spaces, Healthy Places" hosted as part of the National Clinician Scholars Program 2019 annual conference.

October 24, 2019

Kick off meeting with Rebuild by Design and Center for Livable Cities in Singapore on their interagency initiative Building Community Resilience by Design.

October 10, 2019

Shin-pei moderates Vision Zero Conference panel!

October 8, 2019

Kick off meeting with Hester Street Collaborative on community based organizations social impact research paper.

October 7, 2019

Collected data debrief workshop with Bronx Documentary Center.

August 27, 2019

Larissa kicks off teaching her first class of the semester Visualizing Urban Change at Parsons, The New School of Design.

August 5, 2019

Website launched!

June 21, 2019

First NUMO alliance workshop working on developing common definitions to kick start the toolkit architecture.

June 20, 2019

Shin-pei, a finalist for the Knight Foundation’s inaugural Public Space Fellowship, moderates a panel discussion on Why We Measure at the Foundation’s first Public Space Conference.

June 13, 2019

Shin-pei participated in two panel discussions at the Congress for New Urbanism’s Annual Meeting in Louisville, KY, one of the Inclusive Healthy Places framework and another on equitable development.

June 11, 2019

Shin-pei was honored to participate in the annual On Cue conference, a meeting of the minds organized by a purpose-driven and people-first venture capital firm, Cue Ball. This year’s theme about Being Human was particularly meaningful to our work.

May 16, 2019

Kick-off with Bronx Documentary Center on measuring the impact of their Claremont Illuminated initiative.

May 3, 2019

Hosting our first framework and tool training with Center for Court Innovation!

April 3, 2019

Make Public incorporated!