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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.

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PlanningCampers got an early peek at Plan In A Box

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.

Getting to Vision Zero with Shareabouts

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.

Meet our new CTO

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.

Hangout with Hatch

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.

TransportationCamp Chat with Chris Pangilinan

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…

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Meet Hatch

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.

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