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Open Plans
FounderMark Gorton
FocusUrbanism and livability

OpenPlans is a non-profit that advocates for making the streets of New York City livable for all residents. Open Plans uses tactical urbanism, grassroots advocacy, policy and targeted journalism to promote structural reforms within city government that support livable streets, neighborhoods and the city-at-large. The organization was founded in 1999 by Mark Gorton,[1] the creator of LimeWire.[2]


The organization has received funding from Google, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, Knight Foundation, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), SURDNA Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, the World Bank and others.[3]


OpenPlans organizes its activities into a number of divisions or projects.

Policy and Advocacy[edit]

OpenPlans engages in grassroots and cultural advocacy around issues of safe streets, traffic reduction, public space management, people-centered design, and livability.

Starting in 2018, OpenPlans began researching and writing about the importance of empowering communities to make choices about what their public spaces should look and feel like. Through this work, Open Plans began to see a lack of holistic attention and management to the City's streets and sidewalks. Although streets are invaluable public space in a dense city like New York, the Department of Transportation focuses on optimizing them almost entirely for the movement and storage of private vehicles. This creates issues of safety, walkability, accessibility, and diversity of use - issues that disproportionately harm communities already dealing with structural inequity and racism. Open Plans identified a need to advocate for building and managing public spaces that foster safety, joy, care and connection.

OpenPlans' policy work focuses on reforming city government to be more responsive to the needs of New York's diverse communities. Campaigns include advocating for an Office of Public Space Management, promoting traffic-calming measures and street redesigns that benefit pedestrians (such as a neckdowns), and eliminating parking minimums for new construction of buildings. Open Plans also uses our grassroots advocacy and tactical urbanism projects to learn about city agencies and the areas where they could be improved. The Summer of Play report is a deep dive into improving the process for community-planned street events.


StreetopiaUWS is a division of OpenPlans that focuses on community-driven livability and public space improvements for the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Reunited by their mutual desire for 21st-century transportation infrastructure at the 79th Street Rotunda, volunteers and staff from the Upper West Side Streets Renaissance Campaign joined forces in early 2019 to create StreetopiaUWS.

These quality of life changes continue to shift the UWS landscape from one that is dominated by cars and trucks to one that is dominated by beauty, interaction, health and connection. By redefining what the word “neighborhood” really means, StreetopiaUWS’ vision includes streets that are lively, green and healthy places where neighbors meet, kids play and people move efficiently and safely by bike and on foot.

StreetopiaUWS inspires Upper West Siders to see neighborhood streets as public spaces that enhance their quality of life and community and connect them. Outreach, advocacy, and tactical urbanism help accomplish this mission and equip Upper West Siders with the strategies and tools to help create their vision.


The Streetfilms project produces and publishes short films advocating transportation design and public policy. About 400 videos have been produced which have been watched over 4 million times.[4] These films are normally published using a creative commons license. Their most popular videos including a piece about the Ciclovia in Bogota where streets are made into carfree facilities every Sunday. Such events now take place in many places around the world (180,000 views)[5] and on Physically Separated Bike Lanes (111,000 views).[6] In 2010 at a time when New York city was planning to implement 20 mph speed limits Streetfilms produced a short video of the experience of 20 mph speed limits in the UK where 3 million people already live in 20 mph speed limit areas.[7][8]

Streetfilms was started by Clarence Eckerson[9] in 2004[10] with support from Mark Gorton.[11]


Streetsblog is a project run by OpenPlans providing a daily news source connecting people to information about sustainable transportation and livable communities. Streetsblog was founded by Aaron Naparestek in 2006[12] and has 'hundreds of thousands' of regular readers.[13][non-primary source needed]

Streetsblog NYC and Streetsblog USA are currently edited by Gersh Kuntzman.

Since March 2013 the Streetsblog runs a "Parking Madness" tournament. 16 downtowns are nominated and a head-to-head contests are run through the month with readers deciding which city has built the most parking in their downtown. The winners are awarded the "Golden Crater."

Year Golden Crater Winner
2015[needs update] Camden, New Jersey[14]
2014 Rochester, New York
2013 Tulsa, Oklahoma


  1. ^ "From Our Founder". OpenPlans. [dead link]
  2. ^ Plambeck, Joseph (May 23, 2010). "Idea Man of LimeWire at a Crossroads". The New York Times. Retrieved March 6, 2011.
  3. ^ "About". OpenPlans.
  4. ^ "About streetfilms". Streetfilms.
  5. ^ "Ciclovia: Bogotá, Colombia". Streetfilms.
  6. ^ "Physically Separated Bike Lanes". Streetfilms.
  7. ^ "No Need for Speed: 20′s Plenty for Us". 1920s Plenty for us.
  8. ^ "Traffic group on US video". Warrington Guardian.
  9. ^ "A Night of StreetFilms w/ NYC's Clarence Eckerson". LivableStreets.
  10. ^ "Streetfilms". Greenpeace UK.
  11. ^ "Streetfilms shine spotlight on alternative transport". BikeRadar.
  12. ^ "Aaron Naparstek - Streetsblog New York City". Retrieved 2024-01-19.
  13. ^ "About Us". StreetsBlog. 9 December 2016.
  14. ^ Schmitt, Angie (April 7, 2015). "Camden's Waterfront Abyss Wins the 2015 Golden Crater". Streetsblog. Retrieved July 6, 2015.