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Sanctuary Cities

City of Oakland

In its mission codified by the City Charter, Oakland City Hall is committed to the delivery of effective, courteous and responsive services across Oakland’s half a million residents. However, City Hall is unable to fulfill their commitment given the disconnect between city staff and community residents. In order to more effectively deliver services, City Hall requires a repository of community needs and existing community-driven work.

Now imagine a website that crowdsources the repository of existing work of community groups and residents. While this may not sound revolutionary in the tech world, it is unprecedented in the work of local government. By learning which community groups collaborate with each other, city government can better understand how the community functions as a whole. We would build a graph capturing community groups, the work they do, and the relations between them. This would be the one of first publicly-accessible government graphs for civic engagement in the US.

We invite this year’s CS50 class to develop a graph that empowers City Hall’s efforts to more effectively deliver social services.

The platform will be used by two parties:
  • Community-level participants will enter info about their affiliated groups, giving City Hall information with community-level granularity
  • City staff will be able to browse and search the info entered by community-level participants to better understand the work that is community-driven

  • And the website has three main components:
  • A form for community participants to enter information
  • The ability to browse community groups through both a table-view and an interactive graph
  • A search mechanism for the table-view using four main filters


  • Your work will build upon the findings from a three-part community workshop led by Oakland’s Resilience Initiative and our partners – New York-based Rebuild by Design, Resident-led West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, and White House-recognized Streetwyze.



    Level 1: Mobile-compatible website with entry, browse and search functionality
    • Mobile-first entry mechanism for community-level participants who may not have access to a laptop.
    • Community focus groups to test and build entry form.
    • Entry fields: Organization name, Geography, Priority Area, Demographic/Racial information.
    • Browse and search features for City Hall staff (don’t have to be mobile).
    • Search filters: Organization name, Geography, Priority Area, Demographic/Racial information.
    • Browse and search are table-view only (no visualization yet).


    Level 2: Extend with Collaborator Visualization
    • Add “Collaborators” field in entry form.
    • Create visualization of collaborations across community groups.
    • Make visualization interactive by providing node-centric information on selected community groups.
    • Use D3.js or other visualization library.


    Level 3: Encourage User Interaction
    • Add “Organization contacts” field to entry form
    • Send notifications to organization contacts whenever their organization is viewed or searched.
    • Remind them to check out relevant organizations in their geography or priority area.
    • Supports sharing content through the platform via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email, and text.
    We are looking for the following characteristics in team members for this project.

    Desired:
  • UI design experience a plus
  • Passion for using tech for social good and civic engagement
  • Willingness to learn
  • Required:
  • Proficiency/experience in web application development
  • Graph visualization experience (D3, etc)
  • Passion for using tech for social good
  • Nice To Haves:
  • CS 147 or equivalent experience with need-finding and user interviewing. Students will work with City Hall and local partners.