Why you should attend PlanningCamp

PlanningCamp is an unconference about planning and technology that we’re bringing to a city near you, starting with NYC on September 21st. You should attend PlanningCamp.

This is an exciting time for technology and planning. Look around you. Technology is transforming how you stay in touch with your family. It’s transforming how citizens engage in planning projects. That’s not all: the ever-present cell phone can be a sensor, data collection device and engagement tool, all at once. And models that once took the high priests days to process can be shared and modified by anyone. And we can gather more information about places than ever before, crowdsourced from thousands, gathered by satellites on demand, or harvested from millions of individual actions like toll booth payments and check-ins. And the list goes on, and on.

But all that is not why you’ll be at PlanningCamp.

You’ll be at PlanningCamp because — like us — you’re eager to create a better society, where safe, sustainable neighborhoods foster equal opportunity and happier lives. You’re impatient to move faster towards that better state, and you see many opportunities for technology to change how we plan cities.

Although the challenges we face are huge (social mobility, climate change, urban violence…), we are fortunate to be tackling them today, at a time when our toolboxes can be kitted out like never before. Just within reach is an opportunity to amplify all the values of good planning with the scale, power and individual empowerment that technology brings.

This better future is close, but it’s not here yet. And it’s not inevitable. The tools and ideas we’re excited about haven’t done anything to change how most projects are created, funded, and implemented. It’s up to all of us – technologists, planners, organizers, educators, citizens – to seize this opportunity and make it happen.

OpenPlans is organizing PlanningCamp because we want to explore these ideas more deeply. We don’t have a monopoly on wisdom (far from it!), and we believe that the unconference approach is a great way to dive quickly into problems and work together towards solutions.

So, come to PlanningCamp because you’re anxious to see well-crafted technology creating better social outcomes.

Come to PlanningCamp because you want to accelerate your work.

Come to find new challenges and meet new people.

Come with your sleeves rolled up.

And afterwards, go back to work with renewed energy to make the world better.