In early 2013, San Francisco’s Department of Public Works convened members of the Second Street Improvement Project to brainstorm ways to improve the corridor. Like so many urban planning and transit meetings before it, the group used paper cutouts to visualize their ideas.
The problem with the approach was that members had to wait until the next meeting to present their ideas. It was then that 2013 Code for America Fellows Lou Huang, Marcin Wichary, Ezra Spier and Katie Lewis began work on a 24-7 solution.
With an interest in soliciting greater feedback and citizen engagement, the group built Streetmix – a web-based application where citizens and planners can mockup city street designs. Rather than forcing planners to offer their feedback using paper cutouts at meetings, this app lets you drag and drop sidewalks, cars and bus stops into an online and sharable interface.
Within the first week of its official launch, the app has been used by Sioux Center Iowa residents to protest the widening of highways, has been forked into Spanish for Mexico City planners and is currently being used by Bike Cleveland to advocate for bike lanes.