Community engagement that works.

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.

Check out our tools: Shareabouts, the widely-used crowdsourcing map. Plan In A Box, putting timely, engaging information about your projects online in a matter of minutes.

Our team are based in NYC and Philly. Our code is open, and we are too: stop by or give us a call, let’s find a way to work together.

Heart Plan In A Box

Another week, another slew of updates to Plan In A Box… First, a security note: we want your Plans to be Open, but not your passwords. Like most of the web this week, the Heartbleed security vulnerability affected the certificates that keep Plan In A Box accounts safe. We changed the certs on Wednesday, and Read more…

How Open Are Your Plans?

Our latest newsletter is packed with great updates, in case you missed it in your inbox. Read on to learn about new Plan In A Box features, new Shareabouts deployments, our APA National Conference plans, and more.

New in Plan In A Box: logos, images, rich text

We just added two of the most requested features to Plan In A Box – images and text formatting. Use images! You asked for logos and header images, so we made it easy to drag and drop them straight into your page. Use formatted text! Want to add a link, go bold or italic? Add Read more…

We placed 3rd at Mini Metro Madness…

We spent our lunchtime designing transit systems — competitively. Thanks to Transit Center for hosting the first (annual?) Mini Metro challenge. In the face of a highly competitive field, Andy and Aaron both played two high scoring, transit savvy games to grab us third place. We secured a solid third (mostly by showing up with Read more…

Friday: Livable Streets and the Future of NYC Transportation

Hear from NYC Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, on a panel alongside activists from Make Brooklyn Safer, Transportation Alternatives, Right of Way, Pratt Center for Community Development and StreetsPAC. Hilda Cohen will be talking about Make Brooklyn Safer, and their use of community Shareabouts maps (like this). They are gathering info on dangerous intersections and making Read more…

New in Shareabouts: helping everyone get their input on the map

Shareabouts and Plan In A Box are constantly getting better, with large and small changes rolling out each week. Here’s a small but important improvement we just made to Shareabouts: helping users get their input on the map, even if they’re unfamiliar with online maps.

Meet some innovative open planning tools

The winner of OPTG’s Innovation Awards are a forest management visualization tool and a community engagement framework for housing and economic development.

WALKscope uses Shareabouts to map and measure Denver’s walkability

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.

Coming soon to Plan In A Box

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…

Transportation and community involvement in the Energy Wise City, 2/24

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…

Work on Community Board Tools this weekend

illustration-dataThis weekend, betaNYC is hosting #CodeAcrossNYC 2014, a two-day “prototype-athon” creating tools for New York City Council, their staff, and Community Boards.

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.

We’re looking for Planning Fellows

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…

Start promoting your projects with Plan In A Box

Plan In A Box demo

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.

Watch the myPhillyRising app in action

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…

Looking back at PlanningCamp Philly

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.

Making Brooklyn Safer with Shareabouts

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.