Oakland Local

The Nature of Urban Design 

Interested in making government more open and transparent? How about applying mobile and mapping technology to solve problems and make Oakland a better place to live? Then you should go to City Camp.

The 2nd annual Oakland City Camp will take place at Oakland City Hall, like the first one last year. It will be an un-conference for community activists, policy wonks, and Open Government hackers. It’s a free event for all, aiming to raise ideas at the intersection of policy and technology, and to begin projects that can continue after the event.

An un-conference is a lightly-structured event where most breakout sessions are suggested and voted on by the participants. In this way, the un-conference agenda represents the immediate concerns and needs of those actually in attendance.

As of this week, over 150 people have signed up. The planned keynote speakers are Michal Migurski of Code for America,  who is the creator of CrimeSpotting, and Tim Volmer of Creative Commons, who is also an Oaklander.

Council member Libby Schaaf was upbeat about the upcoming City Camp. “It’s so exciting to have City Camp coming on the heels of Oakland adopting its Open Data Policy and the launch of our Code for America app, RecordTrac. City Hall is buzzing with interest in harnessing the power of our innovative citizens and our talented City staff to better serve the residents of Oakland.”

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Steve Spiker and Eddie Tejeda, founders of OpenOakland, at the 2012 City Camp.

“This year will be bigger and will feature more mature projects and ways for people to get involved and collaborate on new efforts growing out of this year’s successes,” said Steve Spiker, who is the co-founder of OpenOakland, an organization of activists and hacktivisits  interested in Open Government and Open Data, the free access to government databases to allow groups and individuals to build applications for civic participation. Open Oakland is one of several Code for America Brigades in major US cities.

“We are hoping that City Camp will grow many new relationships and collaborations and deepen the understanding and benefits of open government and thoughtful uses of technology in our city,” Spiker added.

Rik Belew (l) and Libby Schaaf (c) at City Camp 2012.

Rik Belew (left) and Libby Schaaf (center) at City Camp 2012.

Rik Belew is an Open Oakland Brigade member who focuses on access to crime data from law enforcement agencies.  He has been working with the OPD to allow greater access to police data subsets (including OPD’s dispatch records and ShotSpotter data) for individuals and groups within government, as well as those on the outside.

According to Belew, “City Camp ’13 comes at an excellent time for community participation due to changes OPD has recently made  in the data they provide to Oakland citizens.”

“OPD has been constructively engaged in conversations with OpenOakland members since the last City Camp ’12,” Belew said, “and they have been clarifying data sources and identifying sensitive data that must remain shielded. OpenOakland’s success on open budget and records projects sets a standard for what we expect from working with OPD.”

Belew hopes to share his work with OPD at City Camp and engage with a wider audience like local Neighborhood Crime Prevention Councils (NCPCs), community groups,  and neighborhood social media sites like NextDoor.com.

There will also be a CivicMeet mixer at SoMar Bar where City Camp participants can mingle with city staff. This will be be 5-7 pm on Thursday, November 7th.  As part of the program, New York City’s Chief Urban Designer, Alex Washburn will be there discussing his new book, The Nature of Urban Design. Register here for the upcoming CivicMeet.

You can register for City Camp 2013 here.

This year’s City Camp comes on the heels of a National Summit of Code for America staff and brigade captains from cities all over the US. Their successes and failures will help inform discussions on new and existing projects here in Oakland.

Here’s a video announcement for the Oakland event: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4LXN_L-ldq5Rd97xyKBHbw

Here’s a YouTube page for videos from the recent Code for America Summit: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL65XgbSILalV-wInUiERrhjweMlJkukMd

Follow @CityCampOak on Twitter.

Here are some pictures from last year’s City Camp:

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