Announcing the Official Launch of “Tu Tulum”

Tulum Raiders, Inc. proudly announces the launch of “Tu Tulum,” a community resource map and planning tool for everyone!

Follow this link for the full site:

         http://www.yohman.com/students/2012/lglancy/Tulum/TulumHome_0612.html

Project:

Tu Tulum is a neighborhood resource map for the citizens of the town of Tulum. It is a one-stop resource where community members can find out what public resources are available to them, and where. It is also a forum where the townspeople can express their opinion and make suggestions to their civic leaders about improvements that can be made, which assets they value and which deficits they would like improved in their community.

The website maps out a variety of parks, bike rack locations, civic offices, and other points of interest, and includes info windows and photos about the location. These community resources are toggled by category, so viewers can turn them on or off at their viewing convenience. Tulum is divided into “colonias” or neighborhoods. These colonias are also mapped in a toggled layer, allowing residents to see which colonia they belong to. In order to connect residents with happenings in the community, a Twitter widget streaming Tulum-related tweets is also featured on the site. This allows community organizers to reach a wider, but Tulum- centered audience when tweeting about events happening in the city.

Why does this matter?

Tulum is a rapidly emerging Caribbean coastal town in Quintana Roo, Mexico. The neighboring global tourism destinations of Cancun and Playa del Carmen are a threat to Tulum’s future, bringing upon it rapid and unmitigated growth. The 18,000 citizens of Tulum are a diverse group of Mayans, Mexicans from other states and international small business‬ owners. These citizens share a common goal: to preserve Tulum’s culture and ecosystems.

With unprecedented growth on the horizon, the Municipality of Tulum hired the Tulum Raiders, to create a civic engagement tool to help their citizens to shape the future of their communities. Tu Tulum means Your Tulum. The neighborhood portal we’ve created is a tool to give the people of Tulum a forum in which to share their visions.

Purpose of our website:

The Tulum Neighborhood Portal has two functions:

1) A one-stop neighborhood resource map for the citizens of the city of Tulum.

2) A tool for the citizens to participate in city planning by identifying places they like or that need improvement. Citizens can also suggests resources needed in the community.

Main functions:

1) Community resources: toggled by category, so viewers can turn them on or off at their viewing convenience.

2) Red/Green/Magic Wand: users can directly click the map to add three types of markers to “evaluate” their neighborhoods.

Red: Indicates an unsatisfactory area or asset that needs attention

Green: Indicates a positive asset in the community

Magic Wand: Indicates a non-existing, but desired asset

3) Twitter Widget: it does a live search and streams Tulum-related tweets. Citizens/public officials can advertise community events or announcements by including “Tulum” in their tweets to be listed in the widget. This allows them to reach Tulum- centered audience when tweeting about events happening in the city.

4) Picasa API: retrieve photos from Picasa album and show photos in slideshows. Pictures will be shown in the box below the title.

Wire Frames :

Wire Frame Home

 

Wire Frame Participate

Wire Frame Participate

The Team:

Lisa: The connection to the community and municipal staff of Tulum. Lisa collected local knowledge to create the first-ever documented boundaries of the communities of Tulum. She also collaborated with Tulum residents to test the site and receive feedback for continuous improvements. She worked on the Picasa API slideshow, authoring KMZ files in Google Earth and contributed general design and coding support.

Yumi: The Coder extraordinaire. Yumi was the main coder for Tu Tulum. She worked tirelessly through the coding details of the various redesign and functional changes the website underwent over time.

Paola: The official “traductora”(translator), she translated the web content for Tu Tulum. This includes the special HTML keys for accent marks, which were one of the earlier challenges. She also worked on photo editing for the Picasa slideshow, bringing in the Twitter feed, and styling of the website.

 Documentation:

User interaction using a Custom Functions

<Participate: red/green light + light bulb function>

We aim to make this website as an alternative tool to conventional community planning led by planners and professionals. Thus, user interaction is the key of our website. The function allows us to geographically map concerns and ideas the residents have on their own community.

The process of using this function is intuitive. Users click on the location they want to comment about, choose the type of the place (good, bad, idea), and make a comment. The “green light” and “red light” icons are also self-explanatory. It is easy for users to understand whether the place is seen positive or negative. The yellow light bulb icon symbolizes an idea that the user is interested in sharing with their community.

Considering the level of residents’ web familiarity, we tried to make this function’s user interface simple and easy to navigate. Input form is also kept simple (location, type, and comment) so that users would not be discouraged to give comments. Finally, the anonymity of the comments invites users to post any comments without the risk of repercussions that may be related to politics or other tensions in the community.

The photo slideshow streaming in photos from the Picasa API is an additional feature of Tu Tulum. Eventually, if users would like to contribute photos to the photo banner, they can directly be uploaded to a public Picasa album, which will automatically add them to the slideshow.

Custom Layers

The neighborhoods of Tulum were nothing more than unofficial borders known to some residents of Tulum by word of mouth. The Tulum Raiders employed AutoCad files provided by the municipality of Tulum to author KMZ files of the neighborhoods. This layer was then toggled by neighborhood, and one “all neighborhoods” toggle box to allow users to see what neighborhood they belong to, as well as the names and boundaries.

A Google places layer was also included in the website, highlighting the relevant community resources. These points include an info window containing a photo and description of the location.  The homepage also features a legend for the user to locate these points easily.

 Evaluation:

  • What worked: narrowing down the focus of the website, using sharp design, specifying the geography in twitter widget to eliminate Turkish bag pipe tweets.
  • What did not: Spanish accents (we did fixed the problem in the end).
  • What would you do if you had more time: upgrading the user interface (making side bars on the right and changing to a more minimalist design, easier single-access to the “participate” function…etc)
  • What is the future of the project: A testing phase of the website will be implemented with the support of the Tulum Municipality. If the website is successful, then the city may choose to buy server space to host the website in the long term. The website is also a model for the sister-city project of Little Tokyo. The Tulum Raiders are interested in benefitting additional communities with modified versions of this resource in the future.

 

 

Tulum Raiders: Almost Live

Current Development Status: The Tulum Raiders are plugging away. We’ve revamped the look and feel of the cozy neighborhood portal to a sleeker minimalist design that demands respect. We’ve also added interactive features that allow users to map their own points in order to share their neighborhood knowledge with the entire community. When users select a point on the map, a window appears asking them if the point should appear green or red for assets and deficits, or as a magic wand, for community needs they would propose on a wish list. The Tulum Raiders store this data so that the community can access it anytime they visit the site. We hope this will inspire community members to think beyond the current status of their environment to what their neighborhoods could become. A quick pull down of the ‘orange guy’ icon to street view let’s viewers experience Tulum on the ground, while viewing the points they’ve listed. On the home page, users can now select different neighborhoods to see which their residence belongs to. This may come in handy for future civic engagement projects. We’ve also added a rotating photos slideshow to beautify and activate the site for viewer inspiration. In simplifying the site, we have also eliminated certain map viewing options so that viewers either see the “home” page with existing resources or the interactive “participate” page.

To Do’s: We are working on translating the entire site to Spanish in time for our focus group testing of the product. After our testing period, we’ll make any user interface modifications necessary to make this site run as smoothly as chocolate ice cream on a Tulum summer day. The photo slideshow is in an adjustment period, so that it can fit into a banner container along the top of the page, as displayed in the wire frames below. The weather function has been updated to a new, more reliable and expert looking source, however we are working on changing this tool to degrees Celsius. We are also working on the organization of the tabs so that the Data Source and About tabs are combined. Finally, an expert consultant is developing a table on a PHP server where user created data will be stored, enabling the sharing of information throughout the community.

Check out our final project proposal and wire frames below, and stay tuned for the live and tested site coming next week!

Final Project Proposal

Purpose of our website:

The Tulum Neighborhood Portal has two functions:

1) A one-stop neighborhood resource map for the citizens of the city of Tulum.

2) A tool for the citizens to participate in city planning by identifying places they like or that need improvement. Citizens can also suggests resources needed in the community.

Main functions:

1) Community resources: toggled by category, so viewers can turn them on or off at their viewing convenience.

2) Red/Green/Magic Wand: users can directly click the map to add three types of markers to “evaluate” their neighborhoods.

Red: Indicates an unsatisfactory area or asset that needs attention

Green: Indicates a positive asset in the community

Magic Wand: Indicates a non-existing, but desired asset

3) Twitter Widget: it does a live search and streams Tulum-related tweets. Citizens/public officials can advertise community events or announcements by including “Tulum” in their tweets to be listed in the widget. This allows them to reach Tulum- centered audience when tweeting about events happening in the city.

4) Picasa API: retrieve photos from Picasa album and show photos in slideshows. Pictures will be shown in the box below the title.

Updated Wireframes

*Note: Only 2 maps will be created: 1) Neighborhood Resources, 2) Maps to include red/green lights, and magic wand.

 

Tulum Raiders Wk8 Update

1. Final Project Proposal

Purpose of our website:

The Tulum Neighborhood Portal has two functions:

1) A one-stop neighborhood resource map for the citizens of the city of Tulum.

2) A tool for the citizens to participate in city planning by identifying places they like or need improvement. Citizens can also suggests resources needed in the community.

Main functions:

1) Community resources: they are toggled by category, so viewers can turn them on or off at their viewing convenience.

2) Red/Green/Magic Wand: users can directly click the map to add three types of markers to “evaluate” their neighborhoods.

Red: Indicates an unsatisfactory area or asset that needs attention

Green: Indicates a positive asset in the community

Magic Wand: Indicates a non-existing, but desired asset

3) Twitter Widget: it does a live search and streams Tulum-related tweets. Citizens/public officials can advertise community events or announcements by including “Tulum” in their tweets to be listed in the widget. This allows them to reach Tulum- centered audience when tweeting about events happening in the city.

4) Picasa API: retrieve photos from Picasa album and show photos in slideshows. Pictures will be shown in the box below the title.

2. Updated wireframe and/or mockup/storyboards

<Top Page>

*Note: Only 2 maps will be created: 1) Neighborhood Resources, 2) Maps to include red/green lights, and magic wand.

<Red/Green/Magic Wand Function>

3. Current development status

  • Community resources, streets, bike pads, community districts are mapped.
  • Website design completed.
  • Picasa API: now working.
  • Community resource legend: now working
  • User guide: now working
  • Red/Green/Magic Wand: function to add a marker was created. Need to add a function to store the marker.

4. Challenges/issues

  • Tulum does not have address (except for a few landmark buildings or hotels). So users cannot type addresses in a “search box” to find places or get directions. Instead, we created neighborhood district boundaries. They are toggled by the name of the districts. Users can narrow down their search by clicking on these districts. Can we substitute the required direction function by this?

Introducing the Tulum Neighborhood Portal (Beta)

We are pleased to announce the Beta launch of the Tulum Neighborhood Portal!

Tulum Neighborhood Portal (Beta)

A picture is worth a thousand words, but working map is worth a million! Check out the full site at:

http://www.yohman.com/students/2012/lglancy/Tulum/tulum05_07.html

What is this website and what does it do?

The Tulum Neighborhood Portal is a neighborhood resource map for the citizens of the city of Tulum. It is a one-stop resource where community members can find out what public resources are available to them, and where. It is also a forum where the townspeople can express their opinion and make suggestions to their civic leaders about improvements that can be made.

The website maps out a variety of parks, bike rack locations, civic offices, and other points of interest, and includes info windows and photos about the location. These community resources are toggled by category, so viewers can turn them on or off at their viewing convenience.

Tulum is divided into “colonias” or neighborhoods. These colonias are also mapped in a toggled layer, allowing residents to see which colonia they belong to.

In order to connect residents with happenings in the community, a Twitter widget streaming Tulum-related tweets is also featured on the site. This allows community organizers to reach a wider, but Tulum- centered audience when tweeting about events happening in the city.

Why does this matter?

Tulum is a rapidly emerging Caribbean coastal town in Quintana Roo, Mexico. The neighboring global tourism destinations of Cancun and Playa del Carmen are a threat to Tulum’s future, bringing upon it rapid and unmitigated growth. The 18,000 citizens of Tulum are a diverse group of Mayans, Mexicans from other states and international small business‬ owners. These citizens share a common goal: to preserve Tulum’s culture and ecosystems.

With unprecedented growth on the horizon, the Municipality of Tulum hired the Tulum Raiders, to create a citizen engagement tool to help their citizens to shape the future of their communities. Tu Tulum: Tu Colonia means Your Tulum: Your Neighborhood. The neighborhood portal we’ve created is a tool to give the people of Tulum a forum in which to share their visions and to access resources in their communities.

The phases of creation:

The Tulum Neighborhood Portal is a dynamic project that can be modified based on the needs of the Tulum community. Here are visuals of the first phases of our ideas.

Wireframe 1

Wireframe2

New additions, coming soon:

  • Toggle the neighborhood layers separately
  • Create and add additional main driving routes and bike routes
  • Work on the Design, such as adding a flash photo feed of images of community volunteers and celebrations
  • Add a poll using Google Forms and a space to provide recent poll responses
  • Add a general comment box that changes for each neighborhood
  • Make the site Live and encourage people to use it

Challenges:

Turkish bagpipes always seem to get in the way. Apparently, Tulum, the other noun, is a traditional bagpipe of the northeast region of Anatolia, Turkey.  Of more concern to us was the fact that a lot of people tweet about it, so they were showing up in the Tulum Neighborhood Portal Twitter feed. For the final, we will attempt to narrow the tweet search parameters to exclude these tweets.

Deciding on where the neighborhood boundaries would be was complicated. An actual document with these informal boundaries did not exist previously. Similarly, finding the resources to map was a challenge, because this required a lot of on the ground knowledge, as the city is only four years old.

The Tulum Raiders are constantly thinking of was to make the site extremely user friendly and inviting to the diverse population which includes Mayan groups and the foreigners that live there.

Credits:

 Yumi “Coder Extraordinaire”: html coding of website layout and functional features;     weather widget

Lisa: “Neighborhood Info Wrangler”: Geo coding of points of interest, definition and creation of neighborhood KMZ files

Grace: “Design Whiz”: Planning and CSS coding of aesthetic properties of the website; blogging

Paola: “Social Mediabutterfly”: Modifying and implementing the twitter widget into the Tulum Neighborhood Portal; blogging.

 

Tulum Raiders Update

The Tulum Raiders have been hard at work thinking of ways to improve the Tulum Neighborhood Portal. After receiving feedback from E.Y. Venture Capitalists, we have made some adjustments to further focus the aim of our website, as well as increase the user-friendliness of or product.

Clarifying Our Purpose

There are 2 main purposes of our website:

1) Map existing community resources and

2) Identify future needs.

  • Asset map and public information API serves for purpose 1
  • Poll and comment serves for purpose 2
      • The result of the poll, and comments will not be mapped

Change in API

Rather than utilize the Twitter API to simply list real-time Tweet feeds, we have decided to employ the ESRI Public Information Map API. This is different in that it funnels other social media feeds (Tweets, YouTube videos, Flikr posts) and maps them as points with clickable info windows containing the posted info based on a geo id. This will better serve Tulum community members; if folks tweet about an event at the park, the event’s general location will be mapped linked to the tweet topic.

Toggled Features

To accommodate for the mapped points mentioned above, we have decided to make a separate toggled layer called : Tulum Social. Our community resources will also then be made a separate layer that both can be turned on and off to avoid crowding on the map.

Layout

In an effort to make the design more user friendly, we have decided to use a one column layout. This will allow for a more natural placement of our toggles and polls, while leaving the bottom open for public comments. We are also in the process of exploring the use of a photo image as the backdrop for the web page.

 

TULUM Neighborhood Resource Portal

Photo: Ben Palmquist

Topic

A rapidly emerging Caribbean coastal town of 18,000 inhabitants, Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico, is a tourism hotspot. It became a municipality only in 2008, and since then has begun comprehensive urban planning efforts. The Urban Master Plan projects significant growth over the next five years that will more than double the size of the town. Community volunteer organizations are in place, and local residents are interested in benefiting their community. Success in local volunteer Red Cross programs shows that there is a strong commitment to community engagement. However, Tulum currently lacks a centralized information resource to facilitate dialogue and foster collaboration. The municipal staff has agreed that creating such a resource is of high priority to the health of their growing communities, and they have engaged the Tulum Raiders to carry out this objective.

Project Objectives
1. Supporting Municipal Agendas: The neighborhood website will provide technical and social knowledge for use in updating the comprehensive Urban Master Plan and making other citywide investment decisions. With the data created on this portal, the municipality will consider the wealth of ecology and public interest present, while fostering economic growth vital to improving the quality of life for Tulumeños.

2. Fostering Community Engagement: Community webpages will grant a platform for citizens to express ideas and concerns about their town, as well as a centralized place to collect information. As the website becomes widely accessed, citizens will use this resource as a virtual extension of their neighborhoods. Creating a sense of belonging and ownership of residents to their neighborhoods will increase security and improve these areas overall.

3. Assessing the environmental impact of rapid urbanization: A town of 18,000 inhabitants, Tulum is growing rapidly with little attention to the impact on the environment. Not only is Tulum in a tropical forest and on a coastline, but it also sits on three interconnected fragile water ecosystems; the largest underground river system in the world, the mangrove forest and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world. Our team aims to map where population growth and infrastructural development is happening (by overlaying the geographical map) to identify vulnerable areas and planned growth. As a community resource, this information will help to educate the public, as well as provide a reference tool for the Urban Planning staff in updating their Urban Master Plan as growth continues.


List of functionalities

•Provide information on neighborhood resources in downtown Tulum
•Business can post updates of their services (campaigns, new menu, holidays)
•Users can post their pictures or look pictures posted by tapping the pictures on the map.
•Users can post youtube links to show their footage of underwater caves (cenotes)
•Polling: for the city government to understand residents’ needs
•Forum: residents post what they want in the neighborhood, problems in the neighborhood (street light is broken, tree fall down….etc).
•Twitter: tweets using a certain hashtag will be posted on the website.

Final Product
Neighborhood Resource Portal

Audience
1. Residents of Tulum
2. Tulum Municipal Offices

Milestones
Midterm
By the midterm presentation due week six, we hope to have the following completed for the beta version of the Tulum Portal:
• User Interface
• General Page layout
• Neighborhood outlines (KMZ files from Google Earth)
• Markers for points of interest on the map (Businesses, offices, etc.)
• Static Photos for web page layout
• Connection to Twitter API

Final
By the final presentation, we hope to have completed the aforementioned for the Tulum Portal, as well as the following additional elements that will already be in use by the presentation date:
• Translation of content to Spanish
• “Search my Address” function
• Replacing static photos with flash photos for the web page layout
• Connection to Google Tables API
• Completed content

Tulum Raiders: Group Introduction

Topic

A rapidly emerging Caribbean coastal town of 18,000 inhabitants, Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico is a tourism hotspot. It only became a municipality in 2008, and since then has begun comprehensive urban planning efforts. However, resources are still being made available to the current and future communities of Tulum. The Urban Master Plan projects significant growth over the next five years that will more than double the size of the town. Organizations of community volunteers are in place and local residents are interested in benefiting their community. Success in local volunteer Red Cross programs shows that there is a strong commitment to community engagement. However, a centralized resource of information is not currently available in Tulum to facilitate dialogue and foster collaboration. The municipal staff has agreed that this resource is of high priority to the health of their growing communities, and they have engaged the Tulum Raiders in carrying out this objective.

Project Objectives

  1. Supporting Municipal Agendas: The neighborhood website will provide technical and social knowledge for use in updating the comprehensive Urban Master Plan and making other citywide investment decisions, so that the municipality considers the wealth of ecology and public interest, while fostering the economic growth vital to improving the quality of life for Tulumeños.
  2. Fostering Community Engagement: Community webpages will grant a platform for citizens to express ideas and concerns about their town, as well as a centralized place to collect information. When the website becomes widely accessed, citizens will use this resource as a virtual extension of their neighborhoods. Creating a sense of belonging and ownership of residents to their neighborhoods will increase security and improve these areas overall.
  3. Assessing the environmental impact of rapid urbanization: A town of 18,000 inhabitants, Tulum is growing rapidly with little attention to the impact on the environment. Not only is Tulum in a tropical forest and on a coastline, but it also sits on three interconnected fragile water ecosystems; the largest underground river system in the world, the mangrove forest and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world. Our team aims to map where population growth and infrastructural development is happening (by overlaying the geographical map) to identify vulnerable areas. As a community resource, this information will help to educate the public, as well as provide a reference tool for the Urban Planning staff in updating their Urban Master Plan as growth continues.

Final Product

Neighborhood Resource Portal

Audience

  1. Tulum Municipal Offices
  2. Residents of Tulum

Group Members and Roles

Lisa Glancy, Project Manager

Lisa Glancy is a Mexican American native of Seattle, WA. She studied at the University of Washington before moving to Mexico City for many years. She then worked as a Divemaster in Tulum, on the Mexican Caribbean coast, where she fell in love with the community and their intricate connection to the natural environment. Lisa is currently completing a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree at the UCLA, while continuing to work on projects in Tulum. She is producing a documentary film there, coordinating an environmentally sustainable mixed-use development and also conducting asset and deficit mapping with the municipal government and international partners. She hopes that projects such as these will benefit communities like Tulum in environmentally sustainable economic growth.

Paola Bassignana, Community Engagement Specialist

 Paola Bassignana is a born-and-raised Southern Californian of Ecuadorian decent. Her strong family ties to her parents’ native country instilled an interest in travel, culture, and international development from a young age. She studied International Relations and Italian at the University of California, Santa Barbara and furthered her Italian studies at the University of Padua, Italy. Paola has experience working in the non-profit sector and has a particular career interest in international development. After spending time post graduation squandering her modest savings on travel and interning in Washington DC, Paola decided she would be more useful in the field as an urban planner. She is currently a student in the M.A. of Urban and Regional Planning program at UCLA.

Grace Phillips, Web Designer and Blogger

Grace was born in Echo Park and has lived in many states since. She grew up on the Amtrak line between Philadelphia and Boston, with some allegiance to the Hudson River Line.  After getting a degree in Chinese (none of which she remembers, so please don’t ask her anything in Chinese and potentially embarrass her) and geography from Princeton and Columbia, she worked in many different industries.  Her most recent career as a sustainable landscape designer led her to get her MA from UCLA in Regional and Urban Planning focusing on public spaces and infrastructure.  She tends to focus obsessively on how urban public spaces and public infrastructure impact human health.

Yumiko Ota, Sustainable Growth Specialist

Yumi is from Tokyo, Japan. Her background is in international development. Before coming to UCLA she worked as a consultant and participated in several infrastructural and economic development projects in Asia and Africa. Her speciality is in community development, participatory development, and informal economy. She is interested in sustainable urban growth by creating development plans that are environmentally sound and sufficiently accommodate residents’ needs.