The Street Hacker Finds an Open Source Embrace in SF

Emily Badger tracks the hacking phenomenon as it migrates from the virtual to the physical world, and the official channels that are embracing and facilitating its emergence.
May 8, 2012, 6am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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While the attraction and growing popularity of the DIY/Tactical/Temporary urban intervention phenomenon rests at least partially in the premise that such projects can be done outside the bounds of government approval and participation, that doesn't mean public officials aren't interested in embracing their rogue interventionist brethren. Case in point: San Francisco, the home to the inaugural Park(ing) Day event (a touchstone for the tactical urbanist movement), where the city "plans to roll out on May 15 a single website that will curate in one place all the possibilities, permits, and guidelines for engaging city streets, from how to apply for a bike corral to who to work with in city government to get one. The idea is not unlike the one-stop online data portals that many cities now have to facilitate citizen participation in the digital world," writes Badger.

While it's clear that cities are interested in engaging and partnering with (if not co-opting) "street hackers," one wonders if making such interventions formally permitted isn't besides the point. In drawing the analogy to their digital namesake, if hacking was condoned, would it still be interesting? Better yet, would it still be hacking?

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Published on Monday, May 7, 2012 in The Atlantic Cities
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