OpenOakland projects are the core of our organization’s efforts to connect citizens with impactful civic initiatives. We’re always seeking new projects and project leaders to work on housing, transportation, education, health, or any area that can improve the lives of Oakland’s residents.
Please feel free to join our slack and reach out to members, leadership, or any project team for more information. You can contact project teams directly in their individual Slack channels. Join or sign-in to Slack: slack.openoakland.org
CouncilMatic (New Project!)
Team Contact: Angela Gennino, Kirk Franzen, and Neil Planchon at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Slack channel #councilmatic
Data Source City of Oakland Legistar website; Meetings with City Clerk are planned.
Our Backstory: First discussed at CityCamp 2016, the goal of the CouncilMatic project is to increase civic engagement in the city legislative process by making information about legislation and city council activity more accessible and actionable to the public. The site will publish the voting records and reasons for votes of current and former city council members.
Purpose/Benefits to the Community:
- To assist organizations and individuals to inform their decisions on who to vote for or endorse during the local elections.
- Tool to hold elected officials accountable for campaign promises made to the electorate.
- Tool to assist city staff to keep track of and report legislative decisions.
- To assist potential incumbents with sharing their record of service to the community.
The current Oakland council voting process:
Currently, there is no online source for Oakland city councilmembers’ voting records; voting records need to be acquired in-person from the City Clerk’s office. This requires Oakland residents to attend City Council meetings in-person to know how their local city council voted, which doesn’t serve all Oakland residents. We’d like to work with the City of Oakland to publish this data online—ideally, in real time!
Get Involved: This project is still in the very early stages and there is lots of room to contribute. The CouncilMatic open source code is all Python. We are actively working on getting the data scraping up and running and can use help from any interested Python developers. In addition, we plan to expose an API for accessing the data stored in the database. The technology for this is not yet selected; though, there may be additional Python code available. The reason we are creating an API is that the mechanism/front-end for exposing this information is far from decided. It is an ongoing discussion with the city and we can certainly use input on design and UX.
Established: Fall 2014
Team Contact: Helen Lerums on Slack channel #cut-group
Our Backstory: CUT Group isn’t an application itself, but rather a team of user testing specialists who work with Oakland constituents to test OpenOakland’s applications. CUT’s goal is to make sure OpenOakland projects are working towards creating the best possible experience and serve all Oakland residents. In addition to the OpenOakland projects, CUT Group has been working with several City of Oakland departments to improve their online content and website user experience.Get Involved: You can get involved in two ways:
- Run a user study! If you’re interested in helping run testing sessions, preparing testing materials, or learning more about User Testing, come meet the team at an OpenOakland meetup!
- Participate in a study! CUT Group is always seeking Oakland residents from all backgrounds (you don’t need to work in technology or be tech savvy!) to test our applications and give feedback on how we can improve. You get paid and it’s fun! Apply online on CUT Group’s website.
Team Contact: Rik Belew and Tom Pyle on Slack channel #crime
Data Source: The Oakland Police Department
Our Backstory: OakCrime provides access and visualization of data from the Oakland Police Department (OPD) including daily incident data (going back to 2007) and discretionary stop data. The project’s purpose is to increase transparency and understanding of crime in Oakland by offering carefully curated data for public consumption and analysis.Get Involved: We can use help with:
- Adding UX features (e.g., a hierarchy browser for our OPDCrimeCategories)
- PostGIS analyses of crime with respect to relevant geographic regions (eg, zip codes, census tracts, precincts)
- Finding, procuring, and integrating related data (eg, from BART, Alameda County, Berkeley, Richmond, etc.)
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Group
Team Contact: Richard Ng and Ramy Kim on Slack channel #diversity-equity
Data Source: The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committee collected their first anonymized survey data from the Open Oakland membership, with the goal of understanding current baseline DEI perception and needs among our members. The survey included: questions about member demographics, and attitudes about diversity and inclusiveness both within Open Oakland membership and the scope of our projects. The final analyses will contextualize these data relative to Oakland’s population to identify potential barriers to active participation by constituents, while giving insight into the strengths and weaknesses in the tools we create for them.
Our Backstory: The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Group was created to codify OpenOakland’s DEI organizational principles and to lead through action, OpenOakland’s commitment to making the technology space representative of Oakland’s diverse and multicultural community.
Get Involved: We are currently working on sharing the narrative of our semi-quantitative survey and are looking for those with strong writing skills and understanding of DEI in work spaces and in community projects. The DEI group is also actively seeking community partnerships with those who are bridging technological divides among youth and underrepresented groups in Oakland. The guiding principle in all our work is to increase real access to participatory civic engagement and technology literacy, especially for underserved Oakland constituents. If you are interested in the equitable reach of Open Oakland’s work to truly democratize civic data, join us!
Our Backstory: Open Budget publishes both the proposed and approved city budget data tin easy-to-read graphics and charts. Understanding the city budget by visualizing data, providing a forum for dialogue, and sharing essential information about the budget process is crucial for public participation when the annual budget is being debated and approved. Additionally, Open Budget is the only tool that allows visitors to quickly compare past and proposed future budgets, so they can see the changes with ease!
Get Involved: Open Budget team is seeking UX Design guidance and feedback.
Team Contact: Elina Rubuliak, Suzanne Doran, and Tom Dooner on Slack channel #open-disclosure
Data Source: City of Oakland Public Ethics Commission Public Portal for Campaign Finance Disclosure
Our Backstory: By California and local law, election campaign committees for ballot measures and candidates for office must report who contributes funds to their campaigns and how they spend their money. Any candidate or committee that raises or spends $2,000 or more must make this data public. However, even though the data is publically available, the format is difficult for the average person to access and understand.Built in partnership in the Oakland Public Ethics Commission, Open Disclosure provides Oakland residents non-partisan election campaign contribution and expenditure data in an accessible and easy to understand format. Publishing this data in clear and intuitive graphs and tables drives transparency and reveals the money and potential influence behind local politics. Open Disclosure includes data for all races on the city ballot, including Mayor, City Council, City Attorney, City Auditor, Oakland School Board, and ballot measures.
Team Contact: Erin Hancock and John Baldo on Slack channel #trackg
Data Source: OUSD Measure G Parcel Tax Expenditures Dataset
Our Backstory: Measure G is a city ballot measure that was passed by the citizens of Oakland in 2008 to improve the quality of education provided by Oakland public schools. Money is collected from Measure G via a special parcel tax, which amounts to about $20 million a year in additional funds for the Oakland Unified School District’s budget.Track G – Oakland’s Measure G publishes data on how funds collected from the Measure G parcel tax are spent. Track G allows spending to be seen by location, by program, and by school.
Get Involved: We’re looking for UX design guidance!
West Oakland Air Quality (WOAQ)
Team Contact: Robert Soden on Slack channel #woaq
Our Backstory: WOAQ works in conjunction with the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project (WOEIP) to measure air quality in West Oakland.
The goals of this project are:
1 – Develop a lightweight data catalog or archive that brings together existing AQ data collected by WOEIP and partners along with other relevant data such as land use and traffic. This catalog is intended to bring together data that will allow WOEIP and technical partners access the data easily for use in their own visualization and analysis tools.
2 – Establish a process by which new data can be incorporated into this archive without relying on outside assistance from technical experts
3 – Experiment with alternate strategies for data visualization and communication to various audiences such as neighborhood residents, city officials, AQ experts, etc
4 – Reflect more generally on what we can learn about information infrastructure supporting communities efforts to locally monitor air quality under AB 617
Get Involved: Join our slack and let us know you’re interested!
Our Backstory: The fifth annual CityCamp successfully took place on Saturday, March 25, 2017 at Oakland City Hall. CityCamp is an unstructured conference where municipal employees, civic leaders, technology folks, software developers, journalists, and engaged residents can meet and discuss the intersections of technology and local government—how innovative technology and data uses can improve civic engagement, increase efficiency and transparency, connect residents, and incubate the technology community in our city.
Unconferences are not structured up-front; the agenda is completed on the day based on topics the attendees themselves suggest. This gives attendees control over the topics and discussion happening at the event, so residents can drive attention towards issues they think are most important.
These projects are some of OpenOakland’s original projects. They are no longer actively being developed and aren’t accepting volunteers.
Team Contact: Angela Gennino and Richard Ng on Slack channel #cannabis_equity
Our Backstory: The City of Oakland is in the process of expanding their medical cannabis licensing to include regulation for cultivation and manufacturing. As part of this activity, the City also codified an Equity Licensing Program to address barriers to participation in the industry for members of disenfranchised communities in Oakland. This program includes a provision for “equity business incubators” to support new businesses in the industry. Equity businesses in the pipeline will be important to regular applicants, because regular licenses will only be issued on a one-to-one basis with equity licenses during the initial phase of the program. The incubator opportunity is intended to help new enterprises overcome the barrier of securing commercial space by incentivizing more established businesses to agree to share their existing space for a minimum of three years. By partnering with an equity business, a regular applicant will be moved to the top of the list for the next available non-equity cannabis business license.
To support the Equity Licensing Program, OpenOakland is providing support to other volunteer technologists and cannabis entrepreneurs who are working with the City of Oakland’s City Administrator’s Office and the Department of Race and Equity to develop CannaEquity.org, an online “matchmaking” application that would assist interested equity and regular applicants to locate each other efficiently. Applicants would create online accounts to pre-screen for compatibility and control the pace of information sharing and relationship building needed for the formation of space-sharing relationships.
Once built, the app will be maintained until the end of phase one of licensing. This date will be determined by the collection of cannabis tax revenue sufficient to launch the next phase of equity applicant support services (assumed to be within one year).
Our Backstory: This platform is an open data catalog built by the OpenOakland Brigade as a community resource and our first example of what can be achieved using opensource tools in strategic ways for our city. This site uses the opensource CKAN platform—the same free software behind the UK government’s Data.Gov.UK resource. This site has been populated with data found on various Oakland government websites and from the huge data warehouse operated by Urban Strategies Council and its public web mapping platform InfoAlamedaCounty.org.
Our Backstory: Oakland Wiki is built on the LocalWiki platform, a grassroots effort to collect, share, and open the world’s local knowledge. Anyone can edit this wiki, so contribute what you know about your local community for others to use and enjoy!
Our Backstory: Soft Story is a simple interactive map of potential soft-story buildings in Oakland. Soft-story buildings are multi-unit, wood-frame, residential buildings with a first story that lacks adequate strength or stiffness to prevent leaning or collapse in an earthquake. These buildings pose a safety risk to tenants and occupants, a financial risk to owners, and risk the recovery of the city and region.
This data shows the results of a screening program for potential soft-story buildings in Oakland. In 2008 Oakland surveyed its multi-family buildings with five or more units, and in 2009 passed an ordinance that required the owners of these buildings to complete a simple evaluation of the ground floor. This data shows the results of these screenings as of early 2013.
Team Contact: Howard Dyckoff and Tim Miller on Slack channel #trash-talk
Our Backstory: While gang signs and other graffiti are common to inner cities, East Oakland is suffering from a plague of illegal dumping—mostly from outside actors. Trash Talk is envisioned as a tool for help neighbors plan and execute cleanups and graffiti removal.The app will help neighbors report issues and work together with the Oakland City Public Works Agency to remove trash, dead animals, and other consequences of illegal dumping in East Oakland neighborhoods. Trash Talk will also eventually connect with the City’s existing tracking app, SeeClickFix for tracking volunteer time.
Our Backstory: Adopt a Drain is a platform for Oakland residents to volunteer to be responsible for keeping a nearby storm drain clear to decrease flooding from storms, protect water quality, and keep trash from storm drains and connected creeks and water bodies. Vigilant maintenance of the City’s storm drain infrastructure is important for reducing pollution in the Bay. Adopt a Drain was set up in partnership with City of Oakland’s Public Works Agency.
Our Backstory: Built in partnership with the Oak Education Cabinet, Early Oakland provides information on early learning programs that are state subsidized and federally supported Head Start programs in Oakland, including Bananas Child Care Resource and Referral, Oakland Head Start and the Unity Council Preschool, as well as Oakland Unified School District Early Childhood Education Department. This includes part day and full day programs for three and four year olds; a few programs also serve younger children.
Our Backstory: This tool helps visitors determine which Community Police Beat they live in. In Oakland, Neighborhood Councils (formerly known as Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council (NCPC)) operate for each of the 53 Community Police Beats. The Neighborhood Council system provides a way for residents to gather and discuss local crime problems with a city and OPD representative on a monthly basis.
Our Backstory: RecordTrac is a simple way for individuals to submit public record requests to a governmental agency online. The application also allows government employees manage, respond to, and fulfill incoming requests. By displaying all submitted records requests, members of the public may find what they need without having to create a new public record request.
Our Backstory: Beginning for Oakland’s 2012 elections, we asked electoral candidates to take the Open Government Pledge to support the following principles of Open Government:
- Transparency: To increase accountability, promote informed public participation, and create economic development opportunities, the city shall expand access to information.
- Participation: To create more informed and effective policies, the city shall enhance and expand opportunities for the public to participate throughout decision-making processes.
- Collaboration: To more effectively fulfill its obligations to citizens, the city will enhance and expand its practices of cooperation among city departments, other governmental agencies, the public, and nonprofit and private organizations.