About Us

The DHMN and Civic Hacking

The Distributed Hacker/Maker Network (DHMN) was launched in 2010 in northeast Wisconsin to promote the spirit of the original MIT hackers (see "Hackers" by Steven Levy and TMRC definition of 'hacker'), the participant-driven concept of hackerspaces, makerspaces and unconferences, and the positive cyber-aspects of the "Daemon" series by Daniel Suarez and "Little Brother" by Cory Doctorow. The DHMN participant-driven TIME community (Tech, Innovators, Makers, Entrepreneurs) has been active in northeast Wisconsin events like BarCampGreen Bay, BarCampFDL, Startup Weekend Green Bay, in organizations like Digital Fertilizer and in physical facilities like the Appleton Makerspace and Appleton Coworking.

A classic definition of civic hacking is collaborating with others to create, build and invent open source solutions using publicly-released data and technology to solve social, economic, and environmental challenges relevant to their neighborhood, city, state, or country. These civic challenges include topics like voter registration, public transit, helping consumers buy homes and helping families choose schools. A more broad view of civic hacking includes citizens of a city, metro area, state or country taking a participant-driven approach (grassroots) to improve an aspect of government that's of high interest to you.

Civic hackathons are generally day long or weekend events that bring together urbanists, civic hackers, government staff, developers, designers, community organizers and anyone with the passion to make their city better. They 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.

The DHMN is supporting civic hacking throughout NE Wisconsin. The population density of the region, along with the culture, type of regional economy and demographics of the area are such that no one city or metro area has the critical mass to support a sustainable community of civic hackers. We need to connect civic hackers across NE Wisconsin to make it more fun and worthwhile for everyone involved in the hacking and for all citizens affected by the hacks.

DHMN Civic Hackathon/Appleton 2015

The "DHMN Civic Hackathon/Appleton 2015" was the first (AFAIK) northeast Wisconsin civic hackathon. It was held on Saturday, June 6, 2015, to coincide with the National Day of Civic Hacking sponsored by Code For America, an organization that builds open source technology and organizes a network of people dedicated to making government services simple, effective, and easy to use.

Contact Info

Main point of contact for DHMN Civic Hacking:

Bob Waldron  --  bwaldron [at] gmail (dott) com

Twitter contact for DHMN Civic Hacking:

Mike Putnam  --  https://twitter.com/mikeputnam  --  @mikeputnam

DHMN Civic Hackathon/Appleton 2015, City of Appleton Contact:

Karen Harkness

Appleton Makerspace:

121R B North Douglas St
Appleton WI 54914

Appleton Coworking

120 N Morrison St, Suite 101
Appleton WI 54911


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