You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >
WeGov

International Sanitation Hackathon Finalists Announced

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, March 27 2013

The Sanitation Hackathon website, with map indicating hacking site around the world.

Over one weekend last December, programmers in 40 cities across six continents took part in a simultaneous effort to develop tech-based solutions to sanitation problems. 1,100 participants in the World Bank-organized International Sanitation Hackathon ultimately developed 30 new apps, addressing issues from public defecation to inadequate menstruation resources to sewage disposal.  Last week the World Bank announced the top ten finalists

Read More

The White House Wants Civic Hackers for New Round of Presidential Innovation Fellowship

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, March 12 2013

There are five days left to apply for the second round of the Presidential Innovation Fellows program, which will continue work on projects from last year's first round and work to develop new projects. The program is geared towards innovators and entrepreneurs from the private sector, non-profits and academia who are interested in working on government projects that take an innovative approach to promoting job creation, saving lives and saving taxpayer money. Read More

Under Open Data Law, New York City Begins Herding Its Data

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, March 11 2013

New York City had until last Thursday to meet the first deadline set in its now year-old open data law by making data already published on nyc.gov available in machine-readable format, rather than in PDF format. According to a city press release, there are now over 1,000 data sets available on New York City's Open Data platform. The platform launched in October of 2011 with 750 data sets, 250 of which were new at the time. Since the law was signed in March of last year, New York City's Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) has been working with agencies to add 350 new data sets to the platform and worked to add regularly updated feeds to existing data sets. Read More

Courting Suburban Civic Hackers in Illinois

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, March 11 2013

Rockford Meet-Up (Facebook/Daniel X. O'Neil)

Writing software to make cities and towns easier to live in seems like it's been a primarily urban hobby until now, with big cities like New York, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia hogging all the headlines. Hoping to change that, Illinois state officials and nonprofits launched the Illinois Open Technology Challenge, promising $75,000 in prize money distributed to software developers that use state or city data in applications designed for users outside of Chicago rather than inside of it. Contest organizers have moved the challenge's deadline back two weeks, to March 29. Read More

Researchers Say Making City Planning Into a Game Actually Works

BY Sam Roudman | Friday, March 1 2013

Composite illustration: Nick Judd / TechPresident

Public meetings and focus groups aren’t the only tools at the disposal of planners and communities. For help, some cities are looking to a game. As Boston and Detroit did before them, planners in Philadelphia have turned to an online game called Community PlanIt, developed by the Engagement Game Lab at Emerson College, to augment their planning process. Emerson researchers and city planners say it's working: The games are bringing more people into city planning than would otherwise be there, and a more diverse group of participants. Here's when they say it's worked, how it works, and a little bit about why. One hint: Yes, Community PlanIt has in-game rewards, but those aren't the real incentives — in-game currency is a way of tracking and understanding progress. People play to help improve their communities, researchers say. Read More

WeGov

Hacking Cities With Open Data and Minecraft

BY David Eaves | Tuesday, February 19 2013

I'm excited about how a new set of low cost tools — Minecraft and open data — seem to be increasing the opportunity space for people to rethink their city. Read More

Podcast: Data as Currency; During SOTU, Did We Reach Peak Stupid on Social Media?

BY Nick Judd | Friday, February 15 2013

This week, Micah Sifry wonders if the State of the Union response on social media signals that we've reached peak stupid; ProPublica reporter Lois Beckett talks with us about political data and what might happen to it now that elections are over; and communications consultant Shayna Englin discusses how data-driven campaign practices might — or might not — translate from the presidential campaigns into civic life.
Read More

"A Whole Lot of Things All at the Same Time:" A Q&A with Baltimore CIO Chris Tonjes

BY Sam Roudman | Thursday, February 14 2013

Baltimore at night. Photo: ebmorse / Flickr

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Baltimore has a thriving tech community and a top-level leadership that has made moves over the years towards embracing a bigger role for technology in civic life. But the city has also dealt with its share of challenges, like internal discord in City Hall, a leadership switch after Baltimore's previous chief information officer left under a cloud of scandal, and a small budget in a city now synonymous — thanks to "The Wire" — with crime and political infighting. Baltimore's new CIO, Chris Tonjes, took office last July. He spoke with TechPresident's Sam Roudman about where the city stands on civic technology and where he wants to go from here. Read More

New York City's New "Code Corps," A Volunteer Force of Techies in Disaster Response

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, February 14 2013

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a new initiative called Code Corps in his State of the City address today, billed as the country's first municipal program that brings volunteer technologists to bear on city government's emergency and disaster recovery needs. Read More

Two Civic Hackers On Why Open Government Isn't That Hard

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, February 13 2013

Civic hacking — using technology to improve or subvert anything that's wrong, broken, or just not good enough about the way politics and government work — is hard. It can be frustrating. But it's often also fun, two civic hackers told me today, and just because it's hard doesn't mean it's not worth doing. Read More