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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Web app lets you spruce up your street with "civic bling"




Do you know a Vancouver street that could use a makeover? If so, consider Blockee, a web-based app that—using images imported from Google Street View—allows users to redesign streetscapes by adding trees, bike lanes, food trucks, and other pieces of "civic bling."
How did OpenFile hear about Blockee? From the amazing Atlantic Cities blog, which got in touch with the app's creators at Code for America
Code for America hopes...that you’ll get a kick out of playing with the app, but that the game might also lead to actual civic improvements. The idea originally grew out of more serious discussions in Macon, Georgia (a CfA host city this year) about how to engage citizens in bettering their own blocks. After all, why can’t your street get that new bike rack?
Or a Victorian-style lamppost, or a children’s playground, or a speed bump, or...well, you get the point. There are a few dozen pieces of infrastructure included in Blockee, and Code for America is taking suggestions for bling to feature in a future version of the game.
So, you've surely heard about Vancouver’s plan to plant 150,000 more street trees by 2020. Well, with Blockee, we can imagine what that project would look like. And since the Downtown Eastside has been pegged as one neighbourhood that could be in line for some added greenery, we thought we’d try the app out on the treeless block of East Hastings Street between Gore and Dunlevy.

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