Open Source for Planners

Mark Gorton, creator of Limewire started developing his GeoServer software in 1999. Recently Portland adopted the software to plan bus routes. Gorton wants to foster a new revolution in participatory planning.

"'99 percent of planning in the United States is volunteer citizens on Tuesday nights in a high school gym,' Wright says. 'Creating a software that can reach into that dynamic would be very profound, and open it up, and shine light on the decision-making. Right now, it becomes competing experts trying to out-credential each other in front of these citizen and volunteer boards... [Gorton] could actually change the whole playing field.'

Portland, Oregon has already used his open-source software to plan its bus routes. San Francisco, whose MUNI bus system is a frequent target of criticism, could be next to get the treatment. Gorton says he's in talks with the city to supply transit routing software for MUNI that will do a much better job of keeping track of where people are going and figuring out how best to get them there. San Francisco "overpaid greatly" for a badly-supported proprietary closed-source system that barely works, according to Gorton, putting the city under the thumb of a private company that provides sub-par support."

Thanks to Ian McIntyre

Full Story: LimeWire Creator Brings Open-Source Approach to Urban Planning

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