Thursday, April 9, 2015

National Day of Civic Hacking

National Day of Civic Hacking (NDoCH) is for residents, community groups, and government to collaborate to make their communities stronger. They will collaboratively build new solutions using publicly-released data, technology, and design processes to improve our communities and the governments that serve them. Anyone can participate; you don’t have to be an expert in technology, you just have to care about your neighborhood and community. NDoCH 2015 will happen on June 6.

The theme for National Day of Civic Hacking is Principles for 21st Century Government. Code for America (CfA) encourages events to organize around one or more of these Principles:

  1. Design for people's needs.
  2. Make it easy for everyone to participate.
  3. Focus on what government can do.
  4. Make data easy to find and use.
  5. Use data to make and improve decisions.
  6. Choose the right technology for the job.
  7. Organize for results.

In addition to the theme, CfA will be offering challenges for organizers to use at their events. It is anticipated that challenges will be offered in the areas of Health, Safety and Justice, Economic Development, Climate, Disaster Relief, Oceans, and Mapping.

CfA is the lead organizer for NDoCH and the leadership team includes NASA and SecondMuse. In 2014 Intel was the event's Title Sponsor, while the Knight Foundation, Google, Yahoo, Socrata and Innovation Endeavors were also sponsors. Sponsors for the 2015 event have not yet been announced.

The CfA NDoCH 2014 report lists the first NDoCH as 2012, although Code for America and most articles refer to the 2014 event as the second annual one. The mention of 2012 was probably a typo, although it may refer to the Random Hacks of Kindness or other less formally organized civic hacking events that occurred in 2012. Either way, NDoCH appears to be fairly well established as an annual event occuring near mid-year. The 2013 event happened on June 1 - 2, and the 2014 event was May 31 - June 1. (How can a 'Day of' event happen on TWO days??)

NDoCH 2013 was a resounding success! As shown in the NDoCH 2013 report slide deck from Second Muse, more than 11,000 people in 83 cities across American participated in the event. Some cities declared an official day of civic hacking while others opened new data streams to the public. In Palo Alto, more than 5,000 people participated in tech and non-tech activities relevant to civic hacking. The Technology Association of Georgia helped plan and coordinate seven different NDoCH events across their state. At  federal level, the EPA launched a challenge for the event to "develop an application that helps citizens locate their drinking water system, discover any historical or pending violations, and understand any potential health effects associated with potential violations." Citizens and governments got involved at all levels!

NDoCH 2014 was bigger and better than the 2013 event. For a detailed look at last year's event, check out the NDoCH 2014 report slide deck from Second Muse. A post from the Hack For Change website lists the following statistics from the 2014 event:

  1. 123 official NDoCH events in 103 cities across 40 USA states and 13 different countries.
  2. 5 global sponsors and 221+ local sponsoring organizations (with only ~58% of events reporting).
  3. 48 local and state government agencies (with ~58% of events reporting), along with 22 federal agencies participating.
  4. 93 hackathons, 7 Random Hacks of Kindness events, 10 unconferences (one virtual unconference in 6 countries),9 [freespace]s and 4 block parties.

A couple other posts about NDoCH are:

White House Blog post about NDoCH 2014

NPR: Techies, White House Take Part In National Day Of Civic Hacking

National Day of Civic Hacking: Opportunities in Civic Engagement

In tomorrow's post we'll look at what a civic hackathon is, and a little bit of what one could be.


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