Building lasting solutions to systemic challenges within cities.
City Systems is a nonprofit consultancy founded by Derek Ouyang and Rob Best in 2017, currently focused on a handful of data-driven projects in partnership with government and community-based organizations in Northern California. If you are looking for more information or have a project in mind, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aduo is an open-source, less-than-$100K, plug-in garage ADU solution for the Bay Area, made possible by the Philanthropic Ventures Foundation and the Facebook Housing Innovation Fund. Learn more at aduo.org
ShowPlace (2021): We developed a DIY web tool for community organizations to create interactive map dashboards that feature places of interest. The data and view configuration are designed to be managed via an Airtable. Click here to get started with ShowPlace.
San Mateo County ADU Outreach Tool (2021): We developed a prioritization tool for San Mateo County’s Office of Sustainability to target their ADU outreach via social media ads. Read explanatory article.
COVID-19 Response (2021): In partnership with Delivery Associates and the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, we supported some U.S. cities, including Stamford, CT, in the development of pandemic decision-making tools informed by mobility data from SafeGraph.
EPA-ADU Initiative (2021): In partnership with other community organizations, we formed a successor initiative to the City’s Second Unit Task Force to advance community-driven ADU solutions, and developed a website which includes an address look-up tool and a permit fee calculator (see guide).
Napa Sonoma ADU Look-up Tool (2020): We developed an address look-up tool for the Napa Sonoma ADU Center’s new website that allows property owners to determine their ADU eligibility in accordance with new state laws. As local zoning ordinances continue to be updated, the Center can easily update the tool using a Google Sheet.
East Palo Alto ADU Policy Impact Analysis (2020): We assisted the City of East Palo Alto with analyzing the impacts of their ADU local ordinance update scenarios on ADU eligibility at the parcel-level. This technical report, coupled with a public workshop and survey, ultimately informed the local ordinance adopted at the end of 2020.
Stockton Green Economy Analysis (2019): We analyzed greenhouse gas reduction and job growth strategies for the City of Stockton, in partnership with the Office of the Mayor and local community-based organizations like Reinvent South Stockton Coalition.
East Palo Alto Second Unit Task Force Report (2019): We assisted a community task force in East Palo Alto in the development of a final report summarizing three years of their investigations and recommendations for preservation and production of affordable housing. In particular, we spearheaded the design of the systems diagram and strategy framework featured in the report.
East Palo Alto Garage Conversions (2019): We supported Rebuilding Together Peninsula in the legalization of two garages with unpermitted living spaces in East Palo Alto. View the projects here and here.
Complete Communities Framework: We’re working on an open-source, data-driven method for measuring and improving the “completeness” of communities, or the ability of residents to access amenities they value within a reasonable travel time (e.g., 15 minutes), using modes they prefer.
November 2021: Julia has moved on to an exciting new opportunity in New York. She single-handedly carried City Systems through a successful year of data-driven projects, and will be deeply missed. Anybody interested in joining City Systems should reach out at email@example.com.
May 2021: City Systems was awarded part of a $1.5 million Facebook Housing Innovation Fund to develop the Aduo initiative. “We need radical collaboration, now more than ever,” said James Higa, executive director of the Philanthropic Ventures Foundation. “It was an honor and a joy to collaborate with Facebook, our community advisors, and grassroots front line organizations like City Systems for these grants. We are stronger when we march together.” Read the press release and read our Medium announcement.
April 2021: City Systems was featured in a Placekey Webinar for its COVID-19 response work with Delivery Associates and the City of Stamford, Connecticut. View the video recording.
April 2021: City Systems hired its first employee, Julia Wagenfehr, who is joining as a Data Scientist and Designer to support all active projects.