Do It Yourself (DYI) Urbanism
There are many ways people can ACT to improve transport:
- Independent groups acting to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians have formed in many cities including San Francisco’s SFMTrA, and Portland’s PDX Transformation. Here’s my up-to-date post on DIY transport groups.
- Better Block is an organisation providing resources (e.g., How to Build a Better Block) to help communities create healthy and vibrant neighborhoods.
- Street Plans Collaborative’s Tactical Urbanist’s Guide to Materials and Design is a great resource for residents.
- Project for Public Spaces has developed The Place Game – a process for developing improvement ideas (with links to resources).
- 101 small ways you can improve your city from Curbed is an excellent source of inspiration and resources.
- DYI Urbanism – examples from Atlantic CityLab’s The Best DIY Urbanism of 2015: Guerilla wayfinding – residents print and post their own direction signs (Walk [Your City]); DIY Bikelanes (for example: New York bikelanes); and, Boston Bikeway Snow Tunnel (YouTube).
- Organise people to help clean-up neighborhoods or shovel snow. SeeClickFix has a snow shoveling volunteer app called Snowcrew. These apps need to consider issues such as liability, but are an interesting idea.
Uber homepage - note the red button asking if you'd like to become a driver.
Transportation was one of the first industries to use peer-to-peer services at a large scale including such applications as bike sharing, car pooling, car sharing, and taxi services.
The many organisations and companies now operating in this field are all often called part of the “sharing economy” but it’s important to distinguish between actual “sharing” business models (where people provide services to each other via an intermediary, often community based, website) versus companies that act as brokers connecting independent contractors to passengers (e.g., Uber). These companies will significantly change the transport market.
An exellent source of information on these new mobility trends is the September 2016 report by the Transit Center Public Interest, Private Mobility outlining how cities and transit agencies can best work with new mobility services like peer-to-peer operators.
Crowdfunding is collecting money over the Internet to do something. Most examples are products, but a growing number of civic events, projects and infrastructure are being crowdfunded. Successful crowdfunding depends on building a community, not simply obtaining funding for a project. Here’s a list of crowdfunding apps:
- Kickstarter – Mission: bring creative projects to life.
- Indiegogo – World’s largest crowdfunding site.
- IOBY – In our backyards – Brings neighbourhood projects to life.
- Space Hive – Crowdfunding civic projects in your community.
- Citizinvestor – Civic project crowdfunding site.
- Patronicity – Civic project crowdfunding AND Crowdgranting.
Patronicity’s Crowdgranting is a new idea that matches community members’ support for civic and social projects with matching grants from Sponsoring Partners.
Public Support and Advocacy
Crowdsourced support is using applications to encourage people to express their support for a cause either virtually or in the real world. There are a huge number of applications in this field ranging from generic social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to specialised applications (e.g., local neighbourhood action applications).
The important point for planners is to choose applications carefully – they all have specific markets, uses and requirements – and, once chosen, to commit the resources needed to keep them updated and relevant.
Peer-to-Peer Advice and Recommendations
There are many applications available for people to provide advice, information and recommendations to other people. Examples include:
- Using a Twitter hashtag to communicate problems with public transport service;
- Using Yelp to provide recommendations on public transport service;
- Using Tiramisu to report real time conditions on public transport;
- Answering questions from websites like Travel Advisor about local transport services.
Many reporting applications allow users to provide information on current service conditions that are then communicated through the app to other users (e.g., WAZE, Moovit, etc.).
Blog Posts: Act!
MIT’s Mobility Futures Collaborative and Media Lab’s Changing Places have been developing tools to enable more meaningful citizen engagement in the transportation planning process. The project is supported by the Barr Foundation and makes use of open data. Like this website, the project is designed to help address the difficulties people have in understanding transport […]
The study “Who benefits from civic technology? (PDF) – Demographic and public attitudes research into the users of civic technologies” prepared by mySociety research director Rebecca Rumbul is a very interesting analysis on the state of civic technology today. The study attempted to assess the impact of civic technology – defined as technologies “that enable citizens to hold governments to […]
Beth Simone Noveck from NYU’s Governance Lab has written a new book titled “Smart Citizens, Smarter State: The Technologies of Expertise and the Future of Governance”. The book describes methods for sharing knowledge that have helped improve government with examples and presents ideas for improving their implementation and effectiveness. Noveck’s earlier book “Wiki Government” (2009) […]
Richard Moss has written an excellent history of city planning (building) games in Ars Technica. It’s great to see how city planning games have evolved and some of the ideas developers have implemented over the years. Lots of lessons for taking city games further. Full article: “From SimCity to, Well, SimCity: The History of […]