Saturday, April 18, 2015

Civic Hacking In The News: April 18, 2015

Today's DHMN Civic Hacking blog post presents recent online mentions of civic hacking.

A US White House Fact Sheet mentioned National Day of Civic Hacking 2015. This isn't the official announcement of White House support for the civic hacking event, but it does seem to imply White House endorsement for the civic hackathons taking place across the country and around the world on June 6. White House official support is expected in the next couple weeks.
"As part of the annual National Day of Civic Hacking led by NASA and Code for America, Federal agencies will provide datasets, challenges, and expertise in the areas of climate, health; disaster relief; oceans; safety and justice; and economic development to support the development of new climate- and health-related solutions by participating citizens and civic hackers. This public engagement will culminate in a multi-site hackathon on June 6, 2015, in which thousands of participants will leverage open data and contribute their skills and perspectives to improve their communities and the governments that serve them-- including, for the first time, in areas at the nexus of climate and health."
The Miami Herald highlighted that the Code for America Miami brigade does weekly civic hacking meetups at The Lab Miami. The population of Appleton, the Fox Valley and northeast Wisconsin likely isn't large enough to support weekly civic hacking gatherings, but it seems like
monthly meetups for this purpose might be an achievable goal.
"CODE FOR MIAMI: Join weekly civic hack sessions inside The LAB Miami co-working space in Wynwood, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, 400 NW 26th St., Miami"
San Jose Mercury News did a Q&A interview with Jennifer Pahlka, the founder of Code for America. In the interview, one of the civic hacks Jennifer talks about that was done in Oakland, CA, is RecordTrac, a system for tracking requests for public information. It's likely Oakland has waaay
more open records requests than Appleton does, but it would still be interesting to build a RecordTrac system for Appleton and for other cities in northeast Wisconsin.
"Jennifer Pahlka captains a brigade of 16,000 volunteer programmers who are using technology to make government better, one city at a time. Nearly six years after she founded nonprofit Code for America to improve clunky government websites, Pahlka has left a trail of civic innovation that reaches from Oakland City Hall to the White House, where she helped build the U.S. Digital Service, an elite new technologist team for the federal government. Her group also helped spark the "civic hacking" movement, in which residents gather to use public data and code to solve community problems."
OZY's article about civic hacking, "The Next Big Hacker Could Be at Your PTA Meeting," talked about a new generation of tech people who want to contribute to open tech for government. Many of the coders and developers in northeast Wisconsin are working at conservative Midwest corporate day jobs and either aren't aware of civic hacking or aren't interested in it, but there are a few local coders who do think civic hacking is interesting, fun and worthwhile. We're going to connect and expand the community of civic hackers in northeast Wisconsin, both coders and non-coders, with the "DHMN Civic Hackathon/Appleton 2015" and with other civic hacking events around the region.
"While so many of their peers are busy courting the Apples, Amazons and Googles of the world, a growing army of “civic hackers” — consisting mostly of designers, programmers and data scientists — are using their eclectic skills to solve government and civic problems, with their own twists. Their work has included local initiatives in the Big Apple and the Windy City, such as Smart Chicago, a civic project that wants to improve lives through tech, and a pilot program that assists with the city’s public planning policy where it sold plots of vacant land for just $1. They’re also behind nationwide rollouts like Turbo Text, which sends text message reminders before elections...budget constraints, slow-moving bureaucracies or uninterested council members have prevented some cities from snapping up certain ideas. But that isn’t discouraging civic hackers like Shea Frederick, a former AOL developer. He’s created SpotAgent, which uses Baltimore’s open data on parking tickets to predict whether locals might get a ticket where they’re parking, while Baltimore Vacants maps the city’s 1,500 vacant homes based on local data releases."
Register today for the "DHMN Civic Hackathon/Appleton 2015."

Next Saturday this blog will bring you more excerpts from recent online mentions about civic hacking.


No comments:

Post a Comment