There are (at least) six ways you can interpret the phrase "connecting communities with civic hacking."
- Connecting a community to its residents with better use of available data (classic civic hacks).
- Connecting people with their community (civic engagement).
- Connecting people within the community where the civic hacking activity is located.
- Connecting people within the civic hacking community.
- Connecting people from cities around NE Wisconsin (and outside the region).
- Connecting people from different demographic communities.
The main point of the posts I've written here in the past couple months have been about the first two interpretations listed above. Those posts have talked about different uses for available government data, about making more data available in an easily-usable form, and about collecting new data. And I've talked about individual citizens taking personal responsibility for working to fix or improve situations they think should be different, instead of just complaining that the 'government' should fix it.
So now I'm going to talk a little about the last four interpretations.
Connecting people within the community where the civic hacking activity is located.
So one of my goals for the "DHMN Civic Hackathon/Appleton 2015" on June 6, 2015, is to have civic hacks created that connect more people throughout Appleton than would have otherwise been connected.
Connecting people within the civic hacking community.
Another of my goals for the June 6 event is to create the beginnings of a civic hacking community in our region.
Connecting people from cities around NE Wisconsin (and outside the region).
A third goal for me is to connect people from different parts of NE Wisconsin by means of the hackathon.
Connecting people from different demographic communities.
The goal of connecting civic hackers from many different demographics is one I'm probably not going to do so well on during this hackathon.
I've had a couple discussions with people about trying to recruit civic hackers with a huge variety of points of view and different experiences and knowledge, but chances are we're going to end up with mostly white American males. That's partly because our geographic location and the event topic. Those won't change for the next civic hackathon in NE Wisconsin. So two things we need to do differently for the next civic hacking event is (1) get people from those different demographics involved with the planning team for the event, and (2) do a LOT more marketing, promotion and publicity, with some of that marketing being intentional toward the different demographic groups. Representatives of the different demographic communities can also suggest features of the event that will encourage participation for a particular demographic. Examples of this which were mentioned to me are having event t-shirts available in women's styles and sizes and having childcare provided for women who might participate as civic hackers if that service is provided.
In summary, as I tried to explain above, this civic hackathon is about much more than just taking open data and making interesting apps for the city of Appleton.
If you haven't yet signed up for the DHMN Civic Hackathon/Appleton 2015, Click Here To Register Today. It's free. And you'll be glad you did.