Key Successes:

  • New chair and draftsman for city planning.
  • Population capacity increase and 16 new radial streets.
  • The return of Emergency Road Service, and shift of lockout assistance.
  • The successes and challenges of managing outside services.

The Community Services Department’s Manager assumed the chairmanship of the City Planning Committee, and also drafted the city survey plan, which began to address an anticipated population increase. The consensus of the City Planning Committee was to proportionally increase the city footprint, starting with the inner Esplanade area. This had a cascading effect to add capacity to all annular blocks. To ease pedestrian and bicycle movement, and access to the back of the city, sixteen new short radial streets were added at the fifteen and forty-five clock positions. The new streets begin mid-city at G or “Graduation”, and ended at the last street, Liminal. G was made a wider boulevard starting in 2011, and double-deep blocks sit along G’s border. The new plan held our population’s increase perfectly, so we did not have to implement our contingency plan to add additional back blocks as we had in 2010. By all accounts the 2011 city plan was quite successful.  The increase of radial streets was certainly influenced by the vision of Rod Garrett, Burning Man’s long-time City Designer, who we sadly lost in 2011. We will reflect on his vision as we plan future Black Rock Cities.

We again hosted the staging of emergency roadside assistance in Black Rock City, and this year they were focused on vehicle breakdowns, while letting ESD’s lockout team and a few outside services handle most participant lockouts.  A drop box was installed at Playa Info for participants fill out a form requesting lock-out assistance.

We saw a rise in the number of businesses offering services to camps and individual campers (we call them Outside Services). The (former) “vendor” subcommittee created levels of access to fit what these businesses were doing, from making a single delivery, to daily servicing a camp. We created a special staging area for those renting RVs. This made operations more successful for some operators, the organization, and our participants, but we also saw failure in some execution, with an impact on playa restoration. We will continue to evaluate, adjust and manage these operations under our de-commodification principle.