[DIY New York City is a group for people in the NYC boroughs. Sign up for the group to post NYC-related content, and to be notified of details on local meetups as they arise.]
If you have questions, contact John at geraci at g mail dot com
Hello DIYcity people, time for a quick update.
The big news with me this week is that I'm joining forces with innovation agency faberNovel, to head up their New York Operations. faberNovel is a group based in Paris, SF and Moscow (and now NYC) that does fantastic innovation work - conception, design and development of new ideas - for clients of all kinds. Much of their work is in city-oriented products and services: they build the apps for RATP, the company that runs the Paris subway and bus systems, they spearheaded one of the main responses to the RFP for Autolib, the Parisian car-sharing system, they open co-working spaces like pariSoma in SF. And much much more - there is a very long list of things they've done, which I wont go into here.
You can see my blog post about faberNovel and my new role here: http://bit.ly/mkRfDs
And you can see video of some of faberNovel's work at http://www.fabernovel.tv/ .
So what does this mean for me, what does it mean for you, and what does this mean for DIYcity?
For me it means that I'm going to get to focus on a lot of city challenges that I love to focus on, but with a lot more resources behind me than I've had in the past. This is going to be great. faberNovel seems like the perfect partner for me to continue to push ideas about cities and tech forward and make an impact, and I'm really excited to dig in.
For you it means... well, that depends on who you are exactly. But if you work in any kind of city organization (anywhere - not just in NYC) that is looking for innovative solutions to challenges (or even if you work in a non-city organization) then we should talk - there may be opportunities for us to work together on a different level than we have in the past with DIYcity. And that would be super.
And for DIYcity? Well, the interesting thing is that starting to work with faberNovel may actually allow me to push DIYcity forward more than I have in the past year. The two things feel very well aligned in such a way that putting a bit of energy into DIYcity may benefit my work with faberNovel, and vice versa. That's the kind of synergy that has been missing from DIYcity for me for a long time. So I'm interested to see where that goes.
And I'm interested in maximizing the synergy, for me and for you.
So - me, you, faberNovel and DIYcity. Should be interesting. Let's see just how interesting we can make it.
More to come, as always. If you're interested in hearing more about faberNovel, I'd love to talk - write me at john at johngeraci.com.
p.s. we came in second place for the FutureEverything award this year. That's not bad considering we were up against a project funded by the Knight Foundation and now part of Zynga (Macon Money, the project that won - kudos to them). I think with a tiny bit of focus and intent, we could win prizes like that in the future. It was a great opportunity regardless and I'm happy to have gotten as far as we did...
This week the FutureEverything Festival is being held in Manchester, UK. DIYcity has been selected as one of three finalists in the competition for the 2011 FutureEverything Award. The award is given every year for "outstanding achievement for innovation in art, society & technology" and for projects that "help to bring the future into the present."
While the festival's organizers have made me promise to keep quiet about whether or not DIYcity won the £10,000 first place prize until Thursday, they didn't say anything about not posting the video we made for the festival here before then. So here it is.
I think it shows the essence of DIYcity very well.
Tell me what you think.
p.s. I don't know how the video will format on this build of Drupal, so here's a youtube link, just in case it botches it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZY9BQhaqKlI
We are organizing two workshops at Eyebeam this Saturday and next. Here is a bit of info and for more info (and to buy tickets to cover our costs...) go to http://eyebeam.org/events/march-workshops-with-the-counter-kitchen
Two “Buttery Smooth” Workshops in The Counter Kitchen in March!
Brooke Singer and Stefani Bardin of the The Counter Kitchen welcome two special guests on March 12 and 19. Join them in the kitchen and learn how to reverse-engineer your favorite food and personal care products. Become a translator, detective, chemist, and cook as you help them decode and remake Johnson & Johnson® Baby Lotion and Breyers® Ice Cream. Mmm, buttery and smooth. Each workshop costs $10 per person, which includes admission, tastes, take-aways, and recipes.
TCK’s "Devotion to Lotion" Workshop
Rachel Winard, creator and chef of Soapwalla Kitchen, turns Johnson and Johnson® Baby Lotion upside-down and inside-out on March 12, 2-4PM. She will tell us about the 22+ ingredients listed on the bottle and reveal fun facts (like the sources of the "fresh baby bottom" smell and the signature pink color). Then she will lead us through a step-by-step recreation, shedding more than a few ingredients along the way.
TCK’s "I Scream" Workshop
Mike Lee, founder of the New York underground supper club Studiofeast, will turn our attention to commercially produced ice cream and continue the "Buttery and Smooth" theme on March 19, 12-2PM. Using his culinary skills and scientific prowess with cryogenic fluids, Mike will help us uncover questionable ingredients in Breyers® Ice Cream and then show us a spectrum of possibilities for creating our own ice creams.
You can now check on subway updates by sending "txtnyc" (space) "subup" to 368-638. There is no need for any kind of registration or fancy-phone.
They are the most recent updates I'm aware of (test it yourself, I have) and the fastest/most convenient way to access it.
Hi everyone on the DIYNYC list. Just a quick note to say that tomorrow and Sunday is the Great Urban Hack at Eyebeam. I imagine many of you have already seen Noel Hidalgo's posts to various google groups, but if not, here is a snippet:
Design, report on, code and create projects to help New Yorkers get the information they need while strengthening a sense of community. It's all welcome: news, government information, arts, culture, education, politics or any journalism or technology project that helps residents connect to their communities.
You can come even if you don't have an idea, are not a coder. Come find a team to work with. Scholarships are available for talented people or folks with ideas that must happen.
I love that last part, "ideas that must happen".
Anyway, I'll be stopping by to check it out and add my two cents tomorrow around noon. Hope some of you are going as well, and hope to see you there.
Signup is here: http://meetupnyc.hackshackers.com/calendar/14969218/
Hello DIY friends!
I’m excited to tell you about this year’s Conflux festival! Conflux is the annual New York festival for contemporary psychogeography: the investigation of everyday urban life through emerging artistic, technological and social practice. At Conflux, visual and sound artists, writers, urban adventurers and the public gather for four days to explore their urban environment.
We are now accepting project submissions via our website http://www.confluxfestival.org
Now in its 7th year, Conflux 2010 is based on themes of INVESTIGATION, ACTION and TRANSMISSION. Conflux proposals must be submitted by August 15 ($10 administrative fee). Check the FAQ for guidelines and details.
If you aren’t interested in submitting but would still like to be involved we always need volunteers so let me know if you can help with the festival in any way--also a good way to get into Conflux for free : )
For more info check out the conflux blog and follow @confluxfestival on twitter.
Please pass this info along to anyone who might be interested.
See you at Conflux!
Assistant Director / Conflux Festival
heyadele[dot]com / [at]gmail
I don't mean to spam the list but I got my links wrong in my first post.
The Open Call for World Maker Faire is real, and here are the real links:
refer here to my original post for details
thanks to Dave for pointing out my mistake, and I really look forward to seeing your Maker projects!
cheers, Nick Normal
greeting DIYcity users!
my name is Nick Normal and I'm an artist, maker and educator based in Long Island City, Queens, NY.
I wanted to let everyone on this list know that Maker Faire is coming to New York City - and by extension the East Coast! - for the first time later this year, on September 25th and 26th. There's currently an open call for Makers to submit proposals - the deadline is August 15th.
Maker Faire is the world's largest DIY festival - a blend of Art, Technology and Science, combined with family-fun, participation, robots, craft and do-it-yourself ethics.
I'm helping recruit Makers and we're looking for projects involving open-source code, robots, DIY makers, engine-hacks, solder fiends, hobbyists and enthusiasts, fixer-uppers, food makers, etc.
if you DIY we want you involved!
Here's the link to the open call:
World Maker Faire NYC Open Call
or if you have any questions, comments or conerns you can contact me. My email and phone are below. I look forward to hearing from all you Do It Yourselfers!
artist, maker, librarian, diplomat
firstname.lastname@example.org (email, gchat, etc.)
Hi DIY NYC - this email came in this morning from a list I'm on, thought I'd pass it along since it so directly relates to DIYcity topics.
It's great to see NYC's city departments really throwing themselves into this sort of thing, nearly two years after we started talking about it here.
If anyone is interested, pls get in touch with nfreeman - at- dot.nyc.gov.
The New York City Department of Transportation needs your help! We want to provide more and more useful information to the traveling public about traffic and transportation. We know we’ve got a lot of the raw data, we need you to help us separate the wheat from the chaff.
Here at the DOT we’re plugged into all of the comings and goings of the city - we’re constantly monitoring highways, ferries, traffic cameras, bridges and road work. This means that we create a ton of data, some of which we share publically on our data feeds page. However, most of our data isn’t currently public.
There are many reasons why you (outside of the walls of government bureaucracy) will be able to build better apps, at ten times the speed and efficiency than we will ever be able to. We see our role as opening up and cleaning up our data to make it easier for you. Together we can provide the public with the information they hunger for, to make better decisions about how to move around the City.
To get started on this, we need your help to identify where the hot spots of demand are, so we can prioritize where direct our efforts to format and open up data. We also need you to help us start assessing where the gaps are between the data we have and the data we’d need to create truly useful “real-time traffic” apps. We’re at the beginning of this process, and the first step is to have an informal brainstorming meetup with developers. We’ll talk about some of the data feeds that we have, and hopefully you’ll come with some questions we haven’t asked yet.
We’ll be hosting the Brainstorming Meetup at DOT on July 21, 2010 from 9:30 – 11 am.
Invitation is open to anyone who wants to help improve the way DOT shares information, so pass it on. Space is limited, so please RSVP by July 15 to nfreeman - at- dot.nyc.gov.
Long time no talk!
This email came to me this morning via the ITP Alumni List and I found it interesting so I thought I'd pass it along. I don't want to paste the author's email live to the site, so if you're interested get in touch with me and I'll put you in touch.
Hello current (and past) ITP students:
I'm looking for some beta testers for my iPhone data logger application. I'm specifically soliciting bicycle riders to record their rides around New York City in support of my thesis research involving visualizing the cyclist experience. This is a proof-of-concept exploration in what a ubiquitous mobile sensor network could possibly look like, using existing technology that we already carry to learn about ourselves and our world.
I've chosen to focus on cycling in the city, but the concept is far-reaching (and I'm certainly not the first to approach this). Recently, The New York Times published an article revealing findings from a year of GPS logged taxi cab data, summarizing average traffic speeds in Manhattan by day. Similarly, Cabspotting visualized the taxi routes in San Francisco. Flight Patterns reveals the air traffic over the United States throughout a typical day.
Similarly, projects involving using the bicycle as a sensing platform have emerged as well. The Copenhagen Wheel is a dense array of motion and environmental sensors packed into an electric-assist rear hub. While not cycling-specific, the Personal Environmental Impact Report uses GPS-enabled mobile phones to infer mode of travel from speed and calculate your carbon footprint and exposure to air pollution.
I'm specifically looking to see correlations in rider travel patterns. Are there commonalities in routes, sound levels, bumps? How are riders navigating to similar locations? What are typical trip durations and speeds? Do different types of riders (commuter, enthusiast, courier, racer, delivery rider) behave differently? When are riders on the roads? For all of this, what could it look like as visualization?
This application is the data collection mechanism I've chosen to employ for this exploration. It records location, heading, speed, altitude, accelerometer, sound level, trip duration and distance to storage on the device. Each log can be viewed on a map and individual samples inspected. Export logs via e-mail in CSV, JSON or Golden Cheetah format. Data can be automatically uploaded while recording as well.
This application will be released as open source software under the GPLv3. Source code will be available at: http://github.com/rcarlsen/Mobile-Logger
If you'd like to participate in this beta test, please e-mail me the UUID for your iPhone (3G or 3GS, OS 3.1+) device. This can be retrieved in iTunes by connecting the iPhone via USB cable, and clicking on the Serial Number field in the device summary. After displaying the UUID, go to Edit > Copy to copy it to the clipboard.
From Open Government to Open Communities
Join us for an open conversation on local online civic engagement as we share our ideas for building on open government toward more participatory and open communities.
* Who: You. Join Steven Clift, with E-Democracy.org who is leading the Ford Foundation-funded Participation 3.0 effort.
* What: Participation 3.0 - http://e-democracy.org/p3
* When: 10-11:30 a.m., Monday, March 29, 2010
* Where: Idealist.org, 302 Fifth Ave, 11th Floor
RSVP Not Required, but appreciated:
I look forward to connecting with old friends and meeting new people interested in open government, transparency, participation, community building, and more.
Since my work in the "e-democracy" space goes back 15+ years, those new to these issues might find these articles to be of interest - http://stevenclift.com - and this network - http://dowire.org - to be of value.
Work with us to take our Placemaking processes and tools online. After the imminent re-launch of our website, we are looking at developing web 2.0 and 3.0 applications to support community-driven, place-based planning efforts.
The Job Description:
Project for Public Spaces
700 Broadway New York, NY 10003
T (212) 620-5660 x 318 F (212) 620-3821
Dear DIY NYC:
When: Friday, November 13th, 12:30 - 5:30pm (followed by a happy hour on our roof).
Where: The Open Planning Project, 148 Lafayette St, NY, NY
What: An afternoon of discussion, brainstorming, and collaborative product designing.
RSVP: http://planningtechworkshop.eventbrite.com/ (please RSVP soon, attendance is limited)
Everyday social computing, mobile technology, and the adoption of "web 2.0" approaches by governments have laid the groundwork for far wider citizen involvement in civic life. Citizens can now be involved earlier on, more frequently, and in more meaningful ways than was ever possible before. How can these opportunities be leveraged for use in the city planning space? What are the technologies that will make this possible? What are the bureaucratic, logistical, or social issues that need to be addressed in considering these ideas? What tools could we build -- today -- that would be the most impactful?
The Open Planning Project is interested in developing free, open source tools to support citizen engagement in planning. To that end, we are reaching out to the planning, government, nonprofit, citizen and tech communities to help us explore opportunities and share ideas. This event should be the first of many, and will be a hands-on workshop aiming to bring together many diverse perspectives.
The workshop will follow the "unconference," or "BarCamp," format, where sessions and talks are proposed and led by the participants of the workshop. Please visit the workshop wiki at http://etherpad.com/GfjsHfnoGi to see the agenda, an overview of the format, and a list of proposed talks & sessions. Please feel free to add your ideas directly to the wiki -- we'll also be reaching out to attendees in advance to prepare some talks & sessions.
Pass it along:
Lastly, if you know of someone who should be invited to this event, please pass on this invitation. Attendance will be capped at 70 people, on a first-come, first-served basis, and we're hoping for a mix of sectors and perspectives. Please RSVP at http://planningtechworkshop.eventbrite.com/ We realize this is short notice, so we hope you are able to make it.
Thanks, and we're looking forward to seeing you on the 13th.
Director, TOPP Labs
The Open Planning Project - http://openplans.org
ISPs may not act for years on local complaints about slow Internet—but when a town rolls out its own solution, it's amazing how fast the incumbents can deploy fiber, cut prices, and run to the legislature.
By Nate Anderson | Last updated October 27, 2009
Open311 intends to be a standard specification to create an open
platform for municipal service requests. More information at
Announcing Open311 DevCamp
On October 24th, The Open Planning Project will host Open311 DevCamp at
their NYC office. Please register to attend via Eventbrite (it’s free).
This is a DevCamp style un-conference to coordinate a standard
specification for 311 services. Washington D.C’s 311 API will be a
major case-study for developing a more universal 311 API. In general,
this DevCamp will be an opportunity to discuss and develop what’s
needed to make 311 services more accessible and for cities to share
knowledge for mutual benefit. The event is intended for developers,
project managers, and policy makers involved with 311 services. We
encourage those involved with 311 services from all cities to take
part. If you cannot attend in person, please sign up as a remote
attendee and we’ll provide you with information about how to connect to
the DevCamp remotely.
If you have feedback or questions, please add them to the comments on
http://open311.org/2009/09/announcing-open311-devcamp/ or reply to this
I hope to see you there!
(apologies if you received this multiple times, it was cross posted to
Wanted to make sure everyone sees today's NY Times article on the MTA slowly starting to open up access to data:
It's very good. Compare this quote from the MTA:
“It’s clearly an emerging area, and we’re going to keep trying to evolve to keep up with it,” said Jeremy Soffin, a spokesman for the authority.
to this quote from Portland:
“I look at it as a huge value for us,” said Carolyn Young, who oversees technology at TriMet. “We don’t have the resources in a small city compared to New York to have a bunch of developers making all this stuff. With the third-party applications, we’re getting work that we don’t have staff to do.”
The difference in attitude is striking. However, things are moving in the right direction! I'm sure that Nicholas' MTA summit was a big help in moving this process forward. Was this reporter there?
It's been two years since this release from Transit Wireless about installing wireless technology into subway stations
Anyone aware of the status of the wireless access points in the subway stations? I was at 23rd & 8th Ave today and I was able to send a txt message from underground.
NYC Primary Election - Tuesday, September 15th 6am - 9pm
link to this info via http://ideas.topplabs.org/wiki/2009_NYC_Primary_Election
To look up your candidates for the general election:
http://pvoter.thor.openplans.org (this website will
soon be renamed and moved to whoismygov.org. It's a TOPP project that
was used for http://tacandidatesurvey.org)
To locate your polling site:
To look up your voter registration info:
You can also call the board of elections at 1-866-VOTE-NYC
The Open Planning Project - http://www.openplans.org
We (the The Open Planning Project) are planning a summit on the future of=
York City public transportation schedule data, with beer. Please see our =
post for more details:
WHERE: 148 Lafayette St, NY, New York, 12th floor
WHEN: Tuesday, August 25 at 6pm
WHAT: Meetup to discuss how the MTA and the developer community can best =
Please come join us for pizza, beer, and a friendly discussion. There's a=
stunning view of the city we all love.
P.S. I've cross-posted this to a few relevant mailing lists. My apologize=
you receive this message twice.
The Open Planning Project
I had to do it, after all the work I put into helping them understand the value of an open ecosystem, and now they are strong-arming developers.
"NY MTA The Latest Public Transportation Group To Declare It Owns Facts"
Cyclists, buses, cars and even pedestrians will become mobile
pollution detectors in an initiative launched on Tuesday.
Led by Imperial College London, the project will trial three types of
mobile, wireless pollution sensor.
These will measure traffic pollutants throughout the UK, and transmit
their data via the mobile phone network.
+ ----------------------------------------------------------------- +
| Jason Liszkiewicz |
| Executive Director (NYC): |
| Earth Intelligence Network 501(c)3 |
| Public Intelligence in the Public Interest |
| http://www.earth-intelligence.net |
| http://twitter.com/earthintelnet |
| http://www.youtube.com/earthintelnet |
| Exploring.Collecting.Connecting. |
Free Resources Updated Monthly:
CyberScout/Mobile Citizen Intel Link-Tables = http://tr.im/irCi
Innovative Concepts for Now or Never:
Come join us for a meetup to solicit ideas, interest, participants and planners in the upcoming Breakout! Festival on July 1 at 6:45pm at New Work City (200 Varick Street, Suite 507b).
This summer the BREAKOUT! Festival will return creative work to the
streets of New York. Using coworking as a model, and injecting
lightweight versions of essential office infrastructure into urban
public spaces, BREAKOUT! will explore new and productive niches for
working outside of traditional office buildings. BREAKOUT! seeks to
create a new architecture for the creative city by appropriating
public spaces for the collaborative knowledge work that drives the
This meetup gathers together fans, volunteers, and planners interested
in helping make outdoor coworking and the BREAKOUT! Festival a
The Agenda? Discuss:
* the upcoming New York Festival (September 18th - October 30th)
* ideas for facilitating breakout sessions
* cool things needed for breakouts
* how to participate in a breakout
* how to do more
Please RSVP here:
Hope to see you there!
Hey DIY New Yorkers, if you're in the city and you have a free hour at lunchtime today, think about swinging by the discussion on "open data standards" being held by the New York City Council Committee on Technology in Government. Here are the details:
This bill will come before the Technology in Government Committee on Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 1:00pm at 250 Broadway, 14th Floor Hearing Room, NY NY 10007.
Meeting should go for 2 hours, or until 3 PM.
Unfortunately I'm way up at Columbus Circle at the Personal Democracy Forum all day, don't think I'm going to be able to make it all the way down there for the meeting. But it sounds like a pretty important one - if you're interested in open data in NYC, please drop by and give them some input.
And if you go, *please* post notes to DIY NYC afterwards.
I've been watching the discussion trying to figure out the DIY City's wavelength.
I think part of what we see emerging on the local (neighborhood) Issues Forums hosted by E-Democracy.Org fit your model of citizen problem-solving. My experience is that at the very very very local level people will pick shovels and do stuff, while up the chain people prefer their tax dollars to do the work so they don't have to be bothered.
On my local neighborhood Issues Forum - http://e-democracy.org/se - we've had people start community garden efforts, ask if people want to do a blood drive and then promote it, suggest and then organize a volunteer lake clean-up (only to run into trouble getting connected to the right person in the parks department for permission), buy flower bulbs in bulk for their homes with some left over for public space, etc. Recently, a mugging at a new local light rail stop generated a flurry of activity: http://blog.e-democracy.org/posts/355
Anyway, since a number of you will be at Participation Camp, I thought I should say hello. If any of you would like to talk neighborhoods online to gather tips from 15 years on the front lines of e-participation, check out the two sessions I'll be leading or virtually note - http://e-democracy.org/if - for an existing Webinar and some links here: http://pages.e-democracy.org/Social_media_in_local_public_life
Hi DIY City,
You can skip the first paragraph I'm sure, but check out what's happening at PCamp with open data.
Dear Fans of Transparency and Participation,
In recent weeks, several organizations in New York have taken big steps towards making New York City's public data accessible and useful to software developers. There's still a lot of work to be done, but the end of the story could be a wealth of new ways that citizens will be able to effectively and efficiently participate in the governance of their city. Several of those groups will be getting the ball rolling at this weekend's Participation Camp, an open and free unconference on citizen participation in government.
Register now to reserve your spot and stay up-to-date: http://participationcamp.org
Here's what's happening:
GALE A. BREWER, NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL
As Chair of the Committee on Technology in Government, Councilmember Brewer recently proposed comprehensive legislation for making New York City’s public data accessible and machine readable. She will host a discussion at Participation Camp on Saturday at 2:30 pm to discuss this legislation and get feedback from the open government community and interested citizens.
The bill, Introduction No. 991, can be read in full here.
OPEN 311 CODE SPRINT
Throughout PCamp, ITP’s workshop space will be open to collaboration on open government Internet applications. On Saturday, we’ll hold a sprint focused on Open 311: an initiative to make municipal data more readily available to programmers who want to make useful applications. Philip Ashlock from The Open Planning Project will help coordinate development of Open 311 related projects in conjunction with Open311.org. Peter Corbett, organizer of Washington D.C.’s ongoing Apps for Democracy Contest, will provide direction and best practices based on D.C.’s Open 311 API. We also encourage contestants of Apps for Democracy to work together at PCamp, as their July 1st deadline approaches. On Sunday, the workshop will remain open for any projects that grow out of Saturday’s efforts and the camp in general.
MARK BELINSKY, OPENMYCITY
Mark serves as director of Digital Democracy, but at PCamp he will lead a session on the OpenMyCity project. The goal of OpenMyCity is to find the best ideas about how to make use of municipal open data by asking citizens and organizations to answer a simple fill-in-the-blank question: “If I knew ___, I could do ___.”
OpenMyCity is backed by a coalition that formed around the Pioneers conference that took place recently in New York and Amsterdam. At PCamp, Mark will lead a workshop to build a plan for capturing as many stories as possible. This effort provides a human component to the technological and legislative efforts already happening around municipal data.
Cityleft has worked together with Travelsharing.netsons.org to develop an open source website for car pooling.
Carpooling (also known as car-sharing, ride-sharing, lift-sharing and covoiturage), is the shared use of a car by the driver and one or more passengers, usually for commuting (Wikipedia).
However Travelsharing.netsons.org extended this approach to other forms of mobility such as biking, hiking, and so on.
The website is still at its beta version. Users should join to the community in order to translate contents in local languages.
To take part to this Travelsharing.netsons.org project visit:
From the Open Gov google group:
from Sam Wong
date Mon, Jun 22, 2009 at 3:02 PM
subject [open-gov] Open Data Standards - New York Council
The New York City Council Committee on Technology in Government will be holding an important hearing on open data standards for all city agencies on June 29th at 250 Broadway (across the street from City Hall). This bill, Introduction 991 (available here: http://webdocs.nyccouncil.info/textfiles/Int%200991-2009.htm?CFID=251408...), is an effort to increase government transparency and access to public data.
The bill will require the City to create a centralized online repository of all publicly available information that is either produced or retained by the City. Furthermore, data published under this legislation will be done so in a format that will be readable by any computer device, whether that is a laptop or a phone. Not only will this collection of information be invaluable to elected officials, other government agencies and public advocates, but it can also be used by private citizens who could use the information in ingenious and unforeseen ways. Together, we believe these aspects will create a level of openness and accountability in Government unmatched by any city or State in the country.
This effort is inspired in part by both as an enhancement to processes already taking place within New York, and to parallel President Obama’s initiatives to incorporate open access to data normally not available in centralized databases, such as www.data.gov and www.recovery.gov. Introduction 991 could create a nycdata.gov, creating a new model for access, mobility and interactivity to a wide range of “data” on the local level. Data can be geolinked to already existing CityMap 2.0, a project started by New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) that provides a one-stop shop and user-friendly map to provide a vast array of information for New Yorkers. Just imagine looking a restaurant’s ratings (and violations) on your computer or mobile device based on your search or GPS location. Furthermore, one could access a building’s permits or violations with mobile applications built off of existing Dept. of Buildings data. On the academic side, student researchers can research various legislation and statistics instantly. Open access to information ensures government accountability to provide the most detailed and user-friendly data format, while maintaining user privacy. Furthermore, we are seeking comments from web developers and webmasters on this bill, as they can provide some insight on the process and difficulties we might experience.
This bill will come before the Technology in Government Committee on Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 1:00pm at 250 Broadway, 14th Floor Hearing Room, NY NY 10007. Unfortunately, this hearing falls on the same day as Micah Sifry and Andrew Rasiej’s Personal Democracy Forum conference due to some unforeseen scheduling delays during the Council’s budget season. However, we are looking for members of the digital community to join us for 1-2 hours next Monday and help demonstrate support for the benefits of this legislation (The hearing occurs during the PdF Networking Lunch and should not last beyond 3 PM).
Please contact Kunal Malhotra [email@example.com], Director of Legislation and Budget, or Samuel Wong [firstname.lastname@example.org], Legislative Aide on Technology, if you want to attend the hearing and/or testify at this hearing. Our City Hall office number is (212)
We look forward to your participation.
"The .nyc TLD brings the potential for a "civic media" that will allow residents to identify problems and opportunities while providing the tools to create stronger neighborhoods and a more livable city.
Here we consider the development of that civic media and how it can help neighborhoods better communicate in the coming years. "
I think they are coordinated with persons from ResistorNYC in some way, at least space-wise, occasionally - http://www.makenyc.org
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, May 29, 2009 6:22 PM
Subject: DIY New York City: 'Announcing Participation Camp - June 27th and
28th - New York City' at DIYcity #post-527.
> Post 'Announcing Participation Camp - June 27th and 28th - New York City'
> by mattcoop
> Today we announce a new un-conference focused on creating a truly
> participatory democracy.
> Participation Camp
> June 27th and 28th - New York City
> Learn more and register now at ParticipationCamp.org
> About Participation Camp
> Participatory government is a powerful ideal, but changing the system
> will not be easy. In the spirit of Transparency Camp, we're calling on
> open government advocates from all walks - including government
> officials - to come together and share their knowledge and strategies.
> PCamp09 will include featured speakers, participant-driven workshops,
> and hands-on projects.
> Get Involved Now
> We're all about participation, and we'd love to have your help making
> PCamp09 even better. We need organizers, volunteers, sponsors, and just
> good ideas. Learn more at ParticipationCamp.org or email us directly at
> email@example.com .
> To continue to receive PCamp09 updates, be sure to subscribe on our
> site, or reply to this email and include the word SUBSCRIBE.
> More Open Gov Events
> Wednesday, June 3rd - Summer of Gov Mixer: Join us for wine and cheese,
> followed by a series of presentations on new open gov projects. A good
> way to meet people in the movement and get involved. www.summerofgov.com
> Friday, June 5th - Capitol Camp: Albany throws open its doors for an
> open gov unconference, and invites you to help them improve your state
> goverment. www.capitolcamp.org 
> Participation Camp is Sponsored by
> Mudball - Collaboration Media, Community Building - mudball.net
> New Work City - Coworking New York Style - nwcny.com
>  mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
>  http://www.summerofgov.com
>  http://www.capitolcamp.org
> Read more: http://diycity.org/node/527
> Post reply: http://diycity.org/comment/reply/527#comment-form, or you can
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> You are subscribed from the group 'DIY New York City' at DIYcity.
> To manage your subscription, visit http://diycity.org/og/manage/17.
Today we announce a new un-conference focused on creating a truly participatory democracy.
June 27th and 28th - New York City
Learn more and register now at ParticipationCamp.org
About Participation Camp
Participatory government is a powerful ideal, but changing the system will not be easy. In the spirit of Transparency Camp, we're calling on open government advocates from all walks - including government officials - to come together and share their knowledge and strategies. PCamp09 will include featured speakers, participant-driven workshops, and hands-on projects.
Get Involved Now
We're all about participation, and we'd love to have your help making PCamp09 even better. We need organizers, volunteers, sponsors, and just good ideas. Learn more at ParticipationCamp.org or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To continue to receive PCamp09 updates, be sure to subscribe on our site, or reply to this email and include the word SUBSCRIBE.
More Open Gov Events
Wednesday, June 3rd - Summer of Gov Mixer: Join us for wine and cheese, followed by a series of presentations on new open gov projects. A good way to meet people in the movement and get involved. www.summerofgov.com
Friday, June 5th - Capitol Camp: Albany throws open its doors for an open gov unconference, and invites you to help them improve your state goverment. www.capitolcamp.org
Participation Camp is Sponsored by
Mudball - Collaboration Media, Community Building - mudball.net
New Work City - Coworking New York Style - nwcny.com
A few weeks ago we had a discussion about creating an Open 311 System for New York City. Based on that conversation, I wrote up a short letter to Mayor Bloomberg, which I just faxed to him this morning. The letter is also being delivered via a few other channels, to ensure a better chance of reception.
Here is the letter I sent him, the result of everyone's conversation here on the site.
The second section, "What Can Be Built on an Open 311 System" is a bit brief due to space limitations. If anyone wants to add ideas in the comments below as to other things that could be done with an Open 311, that would be a great addition to the document.
20 Jay St, Ste 1019
Brooklyn, NY 11201
May 28, 2009
Re: An Open 311 System for the City of New York
The Honorable Michael R. Bloomberg
Mayor of New York City
New York, NY 10007
Dear Mayor Bloomberg:
Under your leadership, the City's 311 System has grown into an invaluable civic service that has accumulated vast amounts of actionable data about all kinds of topics residents of New York City care deeply about. Now is the time to transform 311 into a tool of even greater value, for use by elected officials, policy makers, local leaders, and everyday New Yorkers by allowing any and all software developers to freely access, work with and build web applications based on the data contained in the system. Such a transformation can be realized by implementing a simple Open 311 System for the City of New York.
The vision for Open 311 is a system which would allow the public to build applications that will transform the City's 311 data into all kinds of useful tools and information flows that can be used by government officials and citizens alike. We see Open 311 as the next frontier of transparency, accountability and civic engagement between local government and citizens. With a new political attitude toward openness at the federal level and a large creative class of technologically savvy City residents, your administration is poised to lead the country in this effort at the local level. Below is a brief description of Open 311, examples of what could be created and a description of some of the benefits of Open 311.
What is Open 311
“Open 311” is the term given to providing open, free API access to the City’s existing 311 System.
An API, or Application Programming Interface, is a web protocol that gives programmers anywhere access to data on a web server in order to build custom applications using that data. Businesses that operate on the web commonly use APIs to facilitate and encourage interaction with their core data. By allowing anyone to build applications that make use of their data, they increase the number of ways in which the public can access that data. By doing this, they increase the number of people who actually use that data, as well as the variety of situations in which they will do so. And by encouraging more people to use their data, in more situations, they make that data more valuable – both to themselves and to the public at large.
Open 311 applies this same principle to the City’s non-emergency interface for municipal services. In essence, an Open 311 API will allow third party users to write web applications that do two things remotely and programmatically: 1) get all service requests from the 311 system, or some specified subset of service requests and 2) submit new service requests to the 311 system.
Such an API will have the effect of opening the current 311 service to all who wish to build on top of it, turning 311 from a closed system to an open platform, able to be extended and improved upon by others in whatever way they see fit. This extension and improvement, and the increase in public interaction with the 311 data that will result from it, are core to the vision of an Open 311 System and the value it could provide for the City of New York.
What Can Be Built on an Open 311 System - Some Examples
The number of useful, innovative applications that could be built with an Open 311 System in New York City is practically endless, limited only by the imagination of the public and the online tools they have to work with. Some examples of possible tools built on top of an Open 311 API include:
These applications would be developed entirely by third parties working independently from the city, for their own purposes. As such, they would not require oversight or input from the city to develop or maintain.
Benefits of an Open 311 System to the City of New York
The benefits of such an open platform are several:
Meeting with DIYcity
DIYcity is a community of technologically adept urbanists focused on improving cities around the world. The group has over 600 members globally, with 150 in New York City. I speak on behalf of the members of DIYcity when I say we have teams of people ready, willing and able to assist the City with this effort--and to ensure its success once Open 311 is launched. With this in mind, I am asking for the opportunity to have a small group of DIYCity representatives meet with key members of your staff to discuss the possibilities and practical applications that Open 311 would generate. By adopting and promoting an Open 311 system now, the City can bring 311 into a new and exponentially more productive era, continuing to offer its residents leading-edge service at little additional cost above the current system.
Please have your staff contact me to discuss this further.
Founder of DIYcity
Brooklyn, New York
This document is the result of an ongoing discussion held on DIYcity.org about creating an Open 311 for New York City. For more details on Open 311 and the possibilities and benefits it offers, refer to the discussion, here: http://diycity.org/discussions/calling-open-311-nyc.
Contributors to this document include: John Geraci, Anthony Townsend, Paul Watson, Marissa Gregory, Geddes Munson, Antti Poikola, Liz Barry, Jason Liszkiewicz, Dmitry Kachaev and Nick Grossman.
Sometimes, being virtually connected isn't enough. Sometimes you have to show up in meatspace. Digital democracy fans, your presence is invited/welcomed/needed tomorrow Thursday May 7, 11:15am, downtown Manhattan at 250 Broadway, 14th Floor Hearing Room or up in Albany at The Capitol Building, Room 328, for the launch of the new New York State Senate website, nysenate.gov.
Here's the announcement, from their communications folks:
Welcome to YOUR New York SENATE web site.
Though we live in the 21st century, most government bodies remain stuck in the technological dark ages.
Under the leadership and vision of Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, the New York State Senate is undertaking a series of reforms that will change the way New York State government operates. The goal of these reforms is to return government to the people of New York--Democrats and Republicans, Upstaters and Downstaters alike. Rules reform was the first step of many reform measures we are taking.
As a key milestone in this process, the new New York State Senate website, NYSENATE.GOV, will provide the technological underpinning of a new Senate dedicated to serving New Yorkers more effectively and openly.
We invite you to a special press conference to learn about the new website and the many other innovations the New York State Senate is undertaking by leveraging the latest communications technology. The presentation will include a walk-through of the website followed by a hands-on Q&A session.
The New York State Senate's new Twitter and Facebook accounts will also formally launch that same day. Follow @NYSenate for updates.
A live stream of the press conference will also be available on
http://www.nysenate.gov. Questions sent to @NYSenate via Twitter will be included in the live Q&A session.
Full disclosure: Along with Andrew Rasiej, I've been consulting with the NY Senate staff on this project.
Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures has a good piece on his blog today about creating an open 311 by using what he calls "the public channel". Fred's idea for an open 311 is pretty much inline with the central premise of DIYcity (and Fred gives a nice shout-out to us in the post), and I think it mirrors the way we on this site would do it, if it was up to us.
I've been meaning to write up a 1-pager on the idea of an open 311, which a friend to DIYcity has offered to give to Bloomberg's staff (he thinks Bloomberg would be very friendly to the idea). I just haven't had time, if you can believe it. And I feel like it's an opportunity that is slipping away. So, in best crowdsourcing fashion, I'm turning it over to the crowd here on DIYcity. Can people collectively come up with ideas on an open 311 for NYC? What would it look like? What would be the advantages of it? How would it make the city better? How would it make life easier/cheaper/better for the government?
Let's have an open discussion on this today, then boil it down and present that as a 1-pager. Names will be named, so if you contribute your ideas, they'll go into any final document that gets presented.
Open Gov NYC is running a workshop on collaborative policy building:
It's process-focused for now, but will hopefully lead to application development in the future.
For those of you in NYC this weekend, there's an exciting unconference
on Saturday covering Everything Open - http://nyc.openeverything.us/
Currently it looks like the best place to suggest topics to
organize around is on the wiki at:
For example, I suggested a few of the ideas/projects I'm interested in
that have been coming out of TOPP and related NYC groups lately:
i came across this event scheduled for Saturday the 18th of April.
I haven't met the people involved, but here's an except from their main site http://openeverything.net :
Open Everything is a global conversation about the art, science and spirit of 'open'. It gathers people using openness to create and improve software, education, media, philanthropy, architecture, neighbourhoods, workplaces and the society we live in: everything. It's about thinking, doing and being open.
Open Everything was started by a few people back in the beginning of 2008, and it has grown to include events in cities around the world. New York is going to be the next and we'd be delighted if you would participate.
I'll probably stop by to check it out.
Got this in my inbox the other day in response to a proposal on an open 311 system sent to Speaker Quinn. What are the chances they'll do something really open here?
Dear Mr. Geraci,
Thanks so much for your interest in our newly proposed 311 mobile application.
Right now, we're still working out the details for this new tool with the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT).
We're very excited about this new opportunity, and I'll be sure to keep your contact information on file as our discussions with DoITT move forward.
Thanks again for writing.
Christine C. Quinn
Hey there DIY New York - wanted to post a link to SickCity in NYC for those of you who aren't tuned in to the Discussions Group or Main Group.
See SickCityNYC here: http://sickcity.org/USA/New%20York
Looks like flu mentions have been steadily on the decline for a couple weeks now. Phew.
SickCity is in rapid evolution right now, getting better day by day. If you have suggestions for how to improve it, post them to the site.
More apps coming for NYC!
From the Daily News:
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn wants to "eliminate the middleman" of the city's 311 phone system and let callers access city information directly from their hand-held devices.
"You look around New York on the subway, on the ferry, you see almost everybody with some kind of hand-held device, an iPhone, a BlackBerry," Quinn said Sunday.
While any of these people could dial 311 to get an address for the nearest firehouse or library, Quinn said the city should devise a way to let them download that information from the database the 311 operators use.
Bloomberg calls it "a brilliant idea".
Article here: http://bit.ly/HkSv7
Last year a few of us here at The Open Planning Project built BlockPartyNYC.org. This project was done for Transportation Alternatives, mainly to promote their party sponsorship program. A sponsored block party received consulting on solutions to community problems like traffic, speeding, and noise and air pollution.
For this year of block parties in NYC, we have plans to make BlockPartyNYC the main hub for all 3000 NYC parties. We plan on receiving data feeds from Community Boards as they approve block parties and, in turn, advertising relevant parties on Community Board sites. We plan on having more advanced mapping, facebook integration, and other features. See the full specification.
If you're a developer out there and would like to help out please get in touch by emailing email@example.com. It's a fully open source project built in pylons and can be reused for other events. For example, last year we also used the software for ParkingDayNYC.org. Thanks and stay tuned.
Well, its official. The NYC Transit has abandoned its effort to do real-time bus tracking for the second time.
Can we come up with a DIY solution that tries to address this?
Hey NYers - I want to compile a list of projects using NYC MTA data out there.
There are Twittered service alerts, there's the Metro-North iPhone app. Is there anything else out there? Big or small? Betas? Student projects? Hacks?
If you know of something, please send it in. Can send on-list or off. (if off, send to "geraci" at "g" "mail" "dot" "com").
Been following the DIYCity conversations for a while and am psyched to see where this is going. Very bummed that I was out of town for the meetup.
Wanted to send something along that might be of interest to DIY folks, the Times (my employer) is putting together a day to talk about what we're doing with APIs and search, called Times Open. I hope to see some of you there and talk more about what we're hoping to do in the local space, particularly around crime and transportation issues. (Also note two key words in the description "free" and "cocktails.")
Hit me back with any questions or thoughts about the event or just what we're up to in general and look forward to meeting some of you at the next meetup.
Something like what the Crime group was talking about last night:
"Lethal (click opens iTunes) from Elany Arts takes a location from
either the iPhone's built-in location services or a list of 300 cities
or parks throughout the USA, then provides you with a "lethal index"
number. This number ranges between 0 and 400, with 400 being an
extremely dangerous location."
There's been a last-minute venue change for this Wednesday's meetup. No longer at the TOPP offices, it is now at the offices of Project for Public Spaces, which is at 700 Broadway, 4th floor. That's just north of 4th St.
Time is 7 PM.
Thanks Nick at TOPP and Ethan at PPS for helping make this happen.
What shall we discuss at the first DIYcity meetup in NYC?
Ideas that come to my mind include:
- what is the field of possibilities for DIY-type "collaborative infrastructure" in cities? in other words, what should be possible to accomplish by applying web tools to city infrastructure?
- what would the ideal DIY city look like? how would it operate?
- what is a DIY city, anyway?
- what are some of the most pressing issues for NYC, and how can we address them with a DIY approach?
- hey, what's your name?
- what are the next steps?
just some suggestions. if anyone else wants to throw anything out, I'm all ears...
The first DIYcity meetup in New York is next Wednesday at 6 PM. The room we're having it in, at TOPP, has a max of 45 people. If you want to come, be sure to RSVP early to guarantee a spot.
We've finally nailed down a time and a location for the first DIYcity meetup in New York City:
The event is set for Wednesday, January 14th.
The Open Planning Project has kindly made their offices available for the meeting. They're located at 349 West 12th Street #3, between Greenwich and Washington streets (map here). Event starts at 6 PM.
Please come - we hope to make it a city-altering, paradigm-changing, mind-expanding, fun experience.
If you do plan on attending, please sign up at http://upcoming.yahoo.com/event/1444518/ to give us an idea of how many will be in attendance.
This is a free event of course, and everyone is welcome. Please help spread the word and tell anyone who might be interested.