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Urban Planning graduate releases app for bicyclists

Fri, 02/07/2014

LAWRENCE — The trusty bicycle has been the KU students’ essential mode of transportation since two-wheelers became common in Lawrence back in the 1890s.  But as the campus has sprawled, finding a bike rack on the fly may not be as easy as one might think, especially if one is late for class.

Last fall avid cyclist James Decker III, who was then a Masters of Urban Planning candidate, created the Rackit App to solve that problem.

Available free of charge for Android platform smartphones, it uses Google maps and satellite imagery to help bicyclists find bike racks. By selecting specific buildings on the KU campus they can quickly find tie-up points.

“I primarily created RackIt to help foster bicycle culture on campus and to solve an issue I regularly encountered,” he said.

“It is a relatively simple app; however, I believe it should serve as a testament to how urban planners can utilize emerging technology like mobile phones to educate and help solve problems,” he said. 

Decker joined the Kansas Department of Transportation after graduating in December, where he manages the metropolitan planning organizations in Topeka, Manhattan, and Wichita.

 “I plan on keep on solving planning problems through technology,” Decker said. “Mobile apps will be a huge part of this. If transit, bicycle route or other apps would benefit these communities, I hope we can work together to develop them."

“The public sector can be slow to adopt new technology,” he said. “My background from KU will be huge asset as I learn to solve everyday problems through technology.”  



David Roediger’s award-winning research and writing has already transformed how historians view the growth of social freedoms in America though the intersection of race, class, ethnicity, and labor. Now Roediger, as KU’s first Foundation Distinguished Professor of History (http://bit.ly/1AbAqYw), will continue to break new ground in those fields as he works with KU’s departments of American Studies and History. Roediger likes to study historical flash points — where one particular change brings a cascade of wider cultural changes. His latest book, “Seizing Freedom, Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All,” makes the point that as slaves began freeing themselves across the South during the Civil War, their emancipation inspired and ignited other cultural movements for freedom — such as the women’s movement for suffrage and the labor movement for better working conditions and an eight-hour day. Understanding the individual stories of average people who wanted to make their lives better, including slaves or factory workers, are important to understanding the wider political movements and elections, Roediger said. “It's tempting to think that all the important political questions have been decided,” he said, “but actually people are constantly thinking about what freedom would mean for them.” Tags: #KUcommunities #CivilRights #History American Studies at KU
Turning rural America healthy: Christie Befort uses $10 million award. http://t.co/rrFjFtHbYT #KUcommunities http://t.co/Bsuek4k9QC
Lauded race and class historian becomes KU Foundation Professor David Roediger’s award-winning research and writing has already transformed how historians view the growth of social freedoms in America though the intersection of race, class, ethnicity, and labor. Now Roediger, as KU’s first Foundation Distinguished Professor of History (http://bit.ly/1AbAqYw), will continue to break new ground in those fields as he leads KU’s departments of American Studies and History. Roediger likes to study historical flash points — where one particular change brings a cascade of wider cultural changes. His latest book, “Seizing Freedom, Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All,” makes the point that as slaves began freeing themselves across the South during the Civil War, their emancipation inspired and ignited other cultural movements for freedom — such as the women’s movement for suffrage and the labor movement for better working conditions and an eight-hour day. Understanding the individual stories of average people who wanted to make their lives better, including slaves or factory workers, is important to understanding the wider political movements and elections, Roediger said. “It's tempting to think that all the important political questions have been decided,” he said, “but actually people are constantly thinking about what freedom would mean for them.”


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