Lou Huang

user interface engineering · civic technology · urban design

Streetmix

role
Product manager, chief urbanist
team
Marcin Wichary, Katie Lewis, Shaunak Kashyap, Ezra Spier, Marc Hébert, Anselm Bradford, and many contributors
year
2013

Streetmix is an interactive website that allows people to create their own street designs and share them with each other, and with their city planners. It was created to mimic a similar offline community engagement practice of using paper cutouts to gather feedback in a public meeting setting, but with the benefit of using the Internet as an communication medium and a social network to involve the public on a much larger scale. Started as a side project by Code for America fellows, we decided to keep the visuals and interactions fun and friendly, inspiring civic participation without requiring a background in urban planning, and allows citizens to engage with city government in an unprecedented manner. Citizens can learn about street design and make their own decisions and tradeoffs, resulting in better feedback. Planners can collect these ideas and analyze them for trends and priorities, so that all contributions are treated fairly. Ultimately, by improving communication, education, and data gathering, we’ll compress the feedback loop between city planners and the community and make better public spaces a reality in a shorter amount of time.