Let’s take a walk down Change Street

If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably already interested in planning and neighborhood issues. You already know that your DOT installs bike racks and the Parks Dept takes care of street trees. Streetswiki is already in your bookmarks, right next to your watch list of local meetings courtesy of Meeting Matters. But not everyone  has your grip on the complexity of creating local change.

Change Street showing a bike rackEnter Change St, a super-simple cartoon streetscape. Scroll down, and your cheerful digital avatar takes a walk, past street trees, bike racks, a speed bump, and a block party. For each one, hover your cursor to see a few useful links about each improvement, including where to get started. With this project, we’re experimenting with unconventional ways to display useful info.

change.st is also a development experiment – we’re taking advantage of modern browsers’ recent adoption of Scalable Vector Graphics to render highly interactive scenes.  Fast Javascript engines make it possible to project from 3-dimensional space to the screen in the browser on the fly. We’re creating and positioning scene elements on the fly – as you scroll down the page, each item in the scene gets repositioned in 3D space relative to the world around it, and projected into 2D.  We then use jQuery to place the items where they should be on screen.

This was a quick Friday project, so bear these warnings in mind: so far, the links are NYC-specific and the info is sparse. Change St is best experienced in Chrome, Firefox or Safari. Definitely not a great experience on mobile browsers either.

We’re curious to hear how you might use Change St. After walking down the whole street, you’ll find a short survey. Want to see more street furniture? Location-specific graphics? A wiki? And feel free to pitch in on the software development side too — you can find Change St on github, and our public tracker here.