The Great Urban Hack Showcase

Partner Organizations:

San Fransisco followers: Please join our program partner Gray Area Foundation for the Arts this Thursday, December 9th from 5pm-8pm for a special evening celebrating 7 projects from last month’s Great Urban Hack weekend which took place simultaneously at Eyebeam in New York and Gray Area in San Francisco.

Date: Thursday December 9, 2010
Time: 5pm-8pm
Admission: Free, but donations are kindly appreciated.
Location: Gray Area Foundation for the Arts 55 Taylor St. San Francisco, CA

The Great Urban Hack Showcase is a collaborative project between Gray Area Foundation for the Arts San Francisco, Eyebeam New York, Hacks/Hackers, Kicker Studio, and Stamen Design. The evening will showcase 7 of 15 projects that were created by over 100 journalists and developers over one weekend in November 2010. Each participant’s mission was to design, report on, code and create projects to help New Yorkers and San Franciscans get information they need while strengthening a sense of community. The projects were open to themes around news, politics, government information, arts, culture or education — pretty much any journalism or technology project that might help residents connect to each other or the city.

The Great Urban Hack Showcase is part of The ARTery Project, an initiative funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) aimed at revitalizing the Central Market commercial corridor into a nationally-celebrated cultural destination. The evening will also premiere three art installations on Market Street by Jim Campbell, Theo Watson and Paul Notzold.

Showcase Projects:

San Francisco: Jennifer 8. Lee, Aaron Kohn, David Alexander, Beth Davidz

StreetPacman takes the classic 1980s video-game and recreates it with real life, real people and real streets, thanks to the power of geolocation services on today’s smart phones. In a game, Pacmac chomps on invisible pellets on a pre-defined street grid as he eludes the other players: Inky, Binky, Pinky and Clyde. It’s great for exercise as it encourages constant movement. There is one twist. Pacman can see the entire board on his phone, including the ghosts. But the ghosts cannot always see Pacman. One caution. StreetPacman take no responsibility for accidents. Please look both ways before crossing these street. Sign up for our beta at (not .com)

San Francisco: Indhira Rojas, Matt Canton, Rahmin Sarabi, Carl Tashian, Arthur Grau, Shuhei Kagawa, Aurelio Tinio, and Sam Ward

TenderLearn is a program to encourage community learning between residents of the Tenderloin. We connect people by organizing informal classes taught by neighbors who want to share their skills. Class topics might range from cooking and crafting to dancing or using a computer. We partner with non-profit organizations to make better use of community spaces. Residents can suggest a class topic through our website, by texting on their phones, or by submitting a request at one of our partner organizations. When a topic gains enough interest, TenderLearn finds a matching teacher, reserves space for the class, and markets it to the larger community. In this manner, TenderLearn leverages online and offline networks and allows people to create their own learning opportunities.

San Francisco: Suzanne Yada, Luke Smith, Mark Percival, and Leo Postovoit

Neighborizer’s goal is to provide actually useful, actionable, socially filtered news about your immediate environment and the people in it. Users will create a Neighborizer account using a code given to you based on where they live. They’ll see both user-generated updates in real time and fully reported pieces following up on stories that other users have identified as relevant to their neighborhood. Neighborizer will show you the Facebook profiles, Twitter feeds, etc. that people in your building, on your block, and in your neighborhood have chosen to share, as well as updates made by your neighbors meant to be read by people in the neighborhood.

We All Need
San Francisco: Joey Baker, Jeff Easter, Abe Epton, Mary Franck, Matthew Gerring, Sarah Hirsch, Jim Hovell, Jake Levitas, Wendy Norris, and Zac Witte

What are you thinking about right now? And what do you need? These two questions form the basis of We All Need, a new media project designed to measure the pulse of a neighborhood through on-the-street micro-interviews.

Our aim is to celebrate the shared human needs and experiences between those living inside and outside of the Tenderloin – a neighborhood historically susceptible to one-sided media reporting and perpetuation of negative stereotypes.

To that end, We All Need is a qualitative data set that humanizes the Tenderloin: a vivid portrait of the neighborhood composed of the immediate thoughts and needs of people interviewed on its streets.

NYC Taxi Visualizations
New York: Zoe Fraade-Blanar, John Keefe, and Kevin Webb

As part of the Great Urban Hack, a team of insanely talented data visualization and transportation geeks did even more crunching on the awesome TLC dataset), and ended up with a closer analysis of what taxi rides look like in the city. Data is based on a record of GPS-tagged taxi rides in March 2009 provided by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission.

Roach Map 
New York: Chrys Wu, John Myles White, Niles Brooks, Jim Colgan, and Max Shron

Each week, New York City restaurant inspectors visit hundreds of restaurants. One of their jobs is to document sightings of live cockroaches. Their findings are added to publicly available restaurant reports, creating the only official database of roach sightings. This website shows city ZIP codes with the highest number of roach sightings in the past week based on this data. The map updates every Monday. We send a monthly email of ZIP codes with the most roach sightings in the most recent four-week period. The project originated at The Great Urban Hack NYC, an overnight event for journalists, data scientists and developers.

Who is My Landlord? 
New York: Tiran Kiremidjian, Amanda Hickman, Sean Kean, James Stone, Paul Tepper, Ben Berkowitz, Volkan Unsal, Kam Lasater, Nick Judd, and Ian Halpern

Using publicly available data we have created an open source toolkit that tracks down the responsible party for a building, based on its address. Tracking down building owners can be harder than it sounds, because if you are in the business of being shady, you’ve learned to game the system and hide behind paper trails. is an effort to crowdsource investigative problem solving and ultimately to create an accountability tool that changes the rules, making it harder to hide in the shadows as an irresponsible business owner. Inspired by Elizabeth Dwoskin’s Village Voice article of the same name.

San Francisco: Zain Memon, Sha Hwang, Jen Phillips, Mike Tahani, John Weiss, Alan Rorie, Dave Baggeroer

Tendermaps is an experiment in informal, community-based cartography. We encourage people to define their neighborhood in their own terms by creating hand-drawn maps.