We’re on a mission to make planning more open, more efficient, and more fun. We do this by creating online tools to gather public input and share information, working with progressive cities and forward-thinking planners.
Are you using Shareabouts for your local projects? Need some help getting started? Come to our community Shareabouts clinic. The next Shareabouts evening will be Wednesday March 5th, at the BetaNYC hacknight. See you there!
The Our Miami Public Space Challenge launches, using Shareabouts to collect great ideas for creating and improving public spaces.
In Denver, PlaceMatters and local pedestrian advocacy group WalkDenver are using OpenPlans’ Shareabouts to power WALKscope, a crowdsourcing tool to gather data about walkability. They want to engage Denver residents in a dialogue about walkability, as well as create an inventory of street infrastructure — sidewalk conditions, intersections, pedestrian counts — to help make the case for improvements.
Since launching the alpha version of Plan In A Box at the end of January, we’ve been taking your feedback and comments. We’ve learned a lot about the kinds of information planners want to be sharing, including some of the big questions — why is this project happening? why should I be involved? — right Read more…
Frank will be talking about new public involvement and decision making tools, at NYU’s Energy Wise City on February 24th. The conference will examine the innovations and technologies transforming the world’s urban environments—from grid modernization and commercial and residential efficiency, to transportation and urban renewables—and the critical issues confronting these sectors in the face of climate Read more…
One of the projects lined up for the weekend originated at OpenPlans. The Community Board Tools website is a listing of existing tools and suggestions for new ones, to solve common challenges of NYC’s Community Boards. We produced a first version of the website following a series of conversations with board staff and members during the summer of 2012.
This weekend, the content will get a much-needed update and expansion, under new leadership from betaNYC. We’re excited to see the site become an even more useful resource for community engagement. Check it out at communityboardtools.org, and come to #CodeAcross to make it better.
Are you interested in using data to create better communities? Or enabling more people to know what’s going on with their local planning projects? Come be a Planning Fellow at OpenPlans! We’re looking for fellows to work alongside us on two fascinating challenges this spring and summer: turning community input from Shareabouts into valuable information, Read more…
Put timely, engaging information about your projects online in a matter of minutes.
Plan In A Box is one part town-hall one part project archive. It’s a place where people can come to find out what’s already happened, what’s happening now, stay engaged, and be more informed participants.
Plan In A Box is ready for you to use. Create a project page today, share, and print it. We’re eager to hear your feedback: we’re reading every email and tweet, and using them to guide which features we build next.
The City of Philadelphia’s Office of Innovation and Technology has released a great video showing how the myPhillyRising app works. An open source project started with OpenPlans, and launched for public use last fall, the myPhillyRising app connects Philadelphia residents to events, resources, and neighbors in their communities. The video is part of the city Read more…
We had a great time at PlanningCamp Philly last weekend. The Philly planning and civic tech community is awesome–we had 130 people for 33 sessions, ranging from Making Infrastructure Sexy, to How to Keep Philly Millennials Here and Engaged, to a demo of OpenPlans’ alpha version of our Plan In A Box software. →
In November 2013, after Lucian Merryweather was killed by a motor vehicle driver on a Fort Greene sidewalk, Hilda Cohen wanted to act. A long-time street safety advocate, Hilda lived in the neighborhood where the crash happened. She organized her neighbors, under the name Make Brooklyn Safer, to go to the next 88th precinct community council meeting to demand action from local law enforcement.
OpenPlans set up a Shareabouts map for Make Brooklyn Safer, for area residents to mark hazardous traffic conditions. Residents can choose categories for their input such as “dangerous crossing” and “traffic does not yield”, as well as leave more detailed comments. For the initial meeting between Make Brooklyn Safer and the 88th Precinct, OpenPlans used the data gathered to create printed maps of hotspots and priorities. These summaries are valuable for community meetings where people aren’t hooked up to the internet. →
Saturday was the third PlanningCamp, the perfect venue to show Plan In A Box and hear feedback.
We’ve been heads-down for the past few weeks, working on an alpha version. At past PlanningCamps in NYC and Oakland, we learned more about the tools that planners need. This weekend in Philly was our first opportunity to show the work to a wider audience so far, and hear a ton of really great feedback. →
Pedestrian deaths are heartbreaking — and avoidable. Last week, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer made safer streets a priority issue, asking community boards to identify the worst locations for pedestrians in each district. We want to see residents given a greater voice in this process, through their community board.
Online crowdsourcing maps with Shareabouts are the best tool to engage residents in identifying problematic locations. Each board can have its own map, open for anyone to identify intersections where they feel unsafe or see others at risk. Residents can explore locations added by their neighbors, and use the site to leave comments and additional information. →
2014 is going to be a busy year for OpenPlans, as we turn Plan In A Box from a good idea into a great tool. To keep us producing high-quality software, we’re taking the important step of making someone responsible for thinking through our tech choices and improving how we do projects. I’m delighted to announce that Aaron is stepping up to become OpenPlans’ CTO. →
Heading to APA New Jersey? Be sure to catch Frank talking about Shareabouts, Plan In A Box and other public input tools, Friday 1/24 at 9:30am.
Excited about Hatch? Want to know if Hatch is the right public input tool for your project? Wondering about the history and motivations of the Hatch project? Join us for Google Hangouts on Tuesday 1/21 and Wednesday 1/22.
OpenPlans and friends are convening the third annual TransportationCamp DC on January 11, 2014, at George Mason University’s Arlington campus. If you haven’t already signed up, you are very welcome. We’re reaching out to leaders and thinkers in the transportation and technology field, and asking them about what is interesting and important in the field right now. I spoke with Read more…
Meet Hatch, a civic engagement tool we’ve been working on with Living Cities. Hatch helps Twitter users come together and exchange ideas, and for others to follow and engage with the conversations.
“Technology has huge impacts on the ability for people to walk, and I think it’s also become a huge motivation. There’s a great number of people who are using technology to track their physical activity, to track their walking steps. A lot of times, that’s related to just getting out and going for a pleasure walk, but that’s also completely compatible with transportation walking.”
“We’re interested in it in a very specific case, which is modeling of transportation outcomes, but there’s lots of other ways in which the data is being used. We’re starting to see examples where governments‑‑like, for example in Brazil‑‑recently passed laws that actually require these data products to be created as part of service delivery by private operators that are operating franchise service. That allows them to have an oversight mechanism into what’s going on, in terms of performance review and keeping track of things; it’s leveraging a standard.”