GAFFTA and SF Department of Technology Announce Summer of Smart

In any community, arts is invariably political, but rarely do we get a chance to really affect the way the arts factor into our urban planning. San Francisco has an unusually open mayoral race this cycle, that leaves artists in an opportune position to influence city planning from the ground levels. To facilitate dialog and innovation around cities and the arts the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts along with San Francisco Department of TechnologySPURCode for AmericaThe Bay Citizen, and Change.Org have created the Summer of Smart; a series of events and development sprints to prototype ideas leading to a more open and aesthetically pleasing city future.

The registration for the first innovation weekend and mixer is open for registration now.

San Francisco boasts many of the world’s most accomplished creative technologists and community activists. Mash them up with a high profile mayoral race and you have the Summer of Smart, a four month experiment in urban innovation and open government that may well leave a lasting legacy in the Bay Area and beyond.

GAFFTA is partnering with San Francisco Department of Technology, SPUR, Code for America, The Bay Citizen, Change.Org, and many others to create Summer of Smart. Over the course of this summer, urbanists of many disciplines – developers, designers, planners, journalists, civic leaders, community activists, and more – will come together to address the most pressing issues facing cities today. In the end, the leading projects will be publicly presented to candidates in the San Francisco mayoral race, along with an esteemed panel of experts, to generate a meaningful dialogue around the potential of new tools to create lasting change. Summer of Smart will directly engage San Francisco’s innovation, urbanism, and social change communities with the upcoming mayoral race, giving technology and its role in government a prominent voice in the election.

The initiative consists of three components:

  1. A series of Urban Challenge Weekends – 48-hour hack-a-thons where application prototypes are developed in key urban focus areas; accompanied by keynote speakers and cocktail discussion mixers
  2. A series of public events – debates, forums, presentations, and (un)conferences – around the issues of open data, open government, technology, and innovation
  3. An online portal of all the applications and media coverage associated with the Summer, hosted and curated by GAFFTA and The Bay Citizen.

Select project teams will receive fall residencies at GAFFTA to develop their work further, along with nonprofit fiscal sponsorship (if desired) and fundraising assistance through GAFFTA’s Research Program. Discussion of the Summer can be found at #sfSoS and application ideas can be submitted at #SoSidea.

For more info and to register, visit!