CB Tools is a site about NYC’s Community Boards, public participation, and technology.
This site is built on the research OpenPlans conducted and informed by conversations with Community Boards citywide. Currently, this site is maintained by BetaNYC. Through these conversations we identified Community Boards’ common needs and challenges related to civic engagement. We give some suggestions for existing solutions and new tools, to help Boards overcome these challenges.
OpenPlans, a social enterprise developing open source technology solutions that make cities run better. The Civic Works group within OpenPlans is focused on aspirational citizen engagement with urban planning. Read more here.
Currently, BetaNYC maintains the site. We are a citywide network of civic hackers, civic startups, and open government advocates who are building a city by the people, for the people, for the 21st Century.
Why was it created this site?
Community Boards provide New Yorkers with an opportunity for meaningful public participation in local government. With nearly 3,000 volunteering members and about 180 staff people, Boards have the ability to assist residents who want to make a difference in their neighborhood. Yet, many people don’t know about the Boards or how they operate.
The intended audience is board staff and members, engaged citizens, and people thinking about technology for civic engagement.
If you’re associated with a Community Board, explore the a short description, and examples of existing and new tools that can help. For each tool, we provide a short explanation, examples, and other related challenges.
If you’re interested in online tools, start by exploring the A-Z of tools. This is the collection of all existing and new tools. You can explore these by alphabetical order, or filter the tools by challenge.
Watch short videos for an overview of the site, and to learn how CB Tools is useful for Board members and District Managers. Click here.
Many of the tools described on this website are online. We are aware that many New Yorkers do not have access to the Internet, or do not use it as a source of information. The tools we suggest in this report don’t fix all the problems of engagement. Talking face to face is obviously still very important. However, online tools can be useful for residents who are able to use them. Read more here.
It’s not only about technology. In our conversations with District Managers and Community Board members, several topics came up that we’re not addressing in this report. For example, the Boards’ limited budget. We know that Boards do not have the resources to do everything they want to do, ranging from core tasks to “extra” functions. However, some tools can help Boards complete their tasks more efficiently, saving them time and money. For example, the Best Practices Wiki, the Local Org Directory, and the Online Survey. Read more here.
Where can I learn more?
Click here for more resources about tools and methods for supporting citizen engagement.