The New York City Department of City Planning is now hosting a new tech services unit called the NYC Planning Labs, which is aimed at applying modern technology best practices to Urban Planning problems, and delivering lightweight, open, and impactful tools to support the agency. The Labs are founded on the idea that government can build digital services better/faster/cheaper in-house, and achieve better outcomes by openly sharing code and knowledge.
The Labs are focusing on small projects that can go from concept to use within a four- to six-week window for any of the municipality’s internal divisions. The mission is two-fold:
- To design and build modern, lightweight, sustainable, and impactful technology products that support the mission of the Department of City Planning
- To implement and promote the use of agile methods, human-centered design, and open technology to support the above, maximizing the benefits of community-driven product development
- Open By Default ‘“ Labs is committed to openness and transparency, and all activities will be open by default. We will adopt the open source policy of 18F as a foundational set of principles to build upon.
- Build With, Not For ‘“ Labs is a design partner, working closely with its customers in visioning and agile development. Customers are expected to provide resources for the duration of a product build, and will be heavily involved in sprint planning and feature acceptance.
- Ship Early, Ship Often ‘“ Labs’ preferred projects will yield a minimum viable product in 4-6 weeks, providing a rapid cadence and the opportunity to work on diverse projects and problems across the agency.
- Document and Disseminate ‘“ Labs will place a high priority on documentation and outward messaging in support of its mission to promote modern technology best practices, and will manage its own web content to include general information about the team’ s mission and work program, blogging, docs, and social media engagement.