Ideas for Oakland, by Oaklanders

Here at Urban Strategies Council we’re lucky to work with a wide range of partner organizations throughout the city and county in government agencies, community based organizations, resident groups, organizing groups and faith based communities.  We’ve been asking folks for ideas and issues that are important to them that may be overcome, aided or improved through the use of great technology-based tools, especially mobile apps for use by those without fancy (and expensive) smartphones. The following ideas for apps or tools came from a variety of people working to improve our city for the residents of our city, take a minute to read over these to see if they are of interest to you as a developer seeking great ideas or to see if someone else is possibly thinking about the same issues you are. We’ll be forming teams on Saturday to work on some of these ideas hopefully! Or just get inspired by these and bring your own creative approach and possible killer app for Oakland!


  1. Text based service to find the nearest location of low-cost money transfer services (example of data to support this from TIGRA)
  2. Text based service to find locations of nearest VITA tax assistance site (United Way provides addresses of locations each tax season) - this is a national program too - think scalable!
  3. Service to find locations of places with free food and/or to enroll in food stamps (prototype was developed at the SF Apps 4 Good event - )
  4. Mobile service to find places to use non-food EBT for low-cost withdrawals.
  5. Mobile app to identify locations with a variety of social services (try our new API for social service providers if you’re interested in this one! at

Whatever ideas inspire or intrigue you there are certain to be some other folks interested in working on a team this Saturday so don’t miss the first Oaktown Hackathon!

If you want more or you’re serious about competing for the FCC prize pool of $100,000 then check out the ideas, concepts and progress over at Apps4Good. If someone else is building your dream app then perhaps you adapt and work on something else, or you get ultra-competitive and try to out-do them!

Good luck, happy coding and see yall Saturday!