What is the most amazing DIYcity idea you've got? The thing you've been thinking about building for years, or something just off the top of your head right now. Let's have it.
Since many city plantings include diverse botanical plantings I would love to see plants tagged with a system that can be "read" by a cell phone to identify species and ecology. This would really help with seed saving activities and city dwellers could save seeds to trade.
Currently, many local governments have "use-based" zoning. This is both out-of-touch with the market, and as a consequence, impossible to enforce. The market determines whether a project that is apartments rather than commerce will be successful. Trying to anticipate whether a particular parcel should be one or the other a decade in advance -- as such use-based zoning does -- is a non-starter.
Form-based zoning has at least the possibility of working. Instead of designating uses (apartments here, commerce there), form-based zoning specifies the size of buildings (big ones here, littler ones there). The market can then decide the ultimate use.
One side-effect of non-working use-based zoning: entitlements to develop are a tremendous source of corruption. After all, if existing zoning is made with such disconnection to the market, then zoning changes (rezones) are going to be a commonplace, with an enormous political mechanism to justify the land speculator's "rights" to have local government's blessing.
Changing a parcel from, e.g., agricultural, to residential development zoning can make it as much as 100 times more valuable.
Did I mention that the profits are entirely untaxed if the land speculator 1031 exchanges out of the rezoned parcel?
Let's stop this scam.
In Portland, OR ~5 years ago I remember an "Anarchist Post Office" - a DIY bike messenger service that would deliver packages within the city of Portland for free. I moved shortly after that, so I don't know if anything became of it. (And I cannot find any mention of it online.)
The idea stuck with me, and when I stumbled on DIYCity a few days ago, I instantly thought of how technology could make this idea more feasible, and even expand it. Here is a proposal:
A very basic method would be to create a Twitter user for our Open Source Post Office (i.e. OpenPostOffice) service. Users post to @OpenPostOffice with a start zip code, an end zip code, a brief description (size/shape, not contents) of what they want delivered and when they want it delivered:
@OpenPostOffice 60610 to 60660 20 lb. box 12/5/2008
People who read the tweet who will be travelling a similar route (in this example near or through zip code 60610 to or through 60660) can respond with "I will be willing to deliver your package"
Details can be worked out by the two parties outside of Twitter.
A more "robust" method would be to create an Open Source Post Office application for iPhone/Facebook/etc. that would use an API (Google Maps, etc.) to better utilize users' travel patterns.
For instance, User X could input a route that they will be travelling, and whether they will take that route once, or on a repeating basis (such as a daily commute.)
User Y could put up a request for package delivery from point A to point B. If User X's route overlaps with User Y's delivery request, the application put these people in contact with each other. This could allow people to leverage other peoples' commutes for delivering packages within a metropolitan area.
Users would be given "player credit" for successfully delivering packages, which they could redeem if they needed something delivered. More credit would be given for longer distance/heavier deliveries. Conversely, users who need packages/items delivered would be charged player credit accordingly.
I love this idea, and have had ideas of my own similar to this about networked delivery.
I think in reality it would be really difficult to get this sort of thing off the ground though. The high number of potential start points and end points, the low number of initial participants, and the high variety of possible things that could be delivered could easily combine to make it something everyone loves in the abstract but nobody actually uses.
Is there some way we could break it down for starters into a simpler system, with fewer variables, to increase the chances of success? Then you could build outward from there.
Thinking that a proof of concept is the thing that is needed here, something that demonstrates the idea eloquently and gets people excited, rather than confusing them initially with too many options.
I want an mobile app that lets you post lost dog/cat/pet flyers when you see them on your daily perambulations. conversely, it also notifies you of new lost-pet sightings in your neighborhood, so you can immediately help look or remember to keep an eye out.