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What Philadelphia's New "Director of Civic Technology" Is There to Do

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, January 15 2013

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter's administration continues its own experiment in building a tech-savvy City Hall by appointing a "director of civic technology." Tim Wisniewski, 24, will move to the role from a position as assistant city managing director. He has been part of the city government since January 2012, and served prior to that as the executive director of a nonprofit working to improve commerce in the business corridor of a low-income neighborhood. While working for the city, he was the project manager on development of a mobile application for the city's 311 non-emergency services system. Read More

How Open Source Civic Technology Helped Flu Vaccinations Go Viral

BY Sam Roudman | Tuesday, January 15 2013

Photo: rocknroll_guitar / Flickr

In the middle of what might be the worst flu season in a decade, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino declared a public health emergency — and civic hackers found a way to help the cause. With help from Code for America volunteers, the Boston Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics was able to repurpose a Chicago app that maps free vaccination locations in little more than a day, just in time for a weekend vaccination campaign at 24 locations. The app's journey from Chicago to Boston is a model of intra-civic partnership. Read More

Online Civic Engagement: Hey, Folks, It's Harder Than It Looks

BY Sam Roudman | Friday, January 11 2013

Budding interest, mixed results in city-backed online volunteer organizing. Photo: Eric Kliff

City officials enticed by the oft-repeated promise of the web for increased citizen participation, beware — if you build it they won't necessarily come. Read More

WeGov

Mobile Apps to Combat Street Harassment Follow Brutal Delhi Gang-Rape Case

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, January 9 2013

Screengrabs from ICE, a New Mobile App from KPMG and the Mumbai Police Department

Last month, techPresident reported on India’s first all-female hackathon, where many programmers focused on apps to help tackle issues of sexual harassment. Only a handful of days later, the country was shocked by a horrific gang-rape and murder case, in which a young medical student from Delhi who died after being brutally sexually assaulted on a moving bus became the symbol of an escalating crisis of violence against women. Read More

From Fire Box to Future Box: Boston's Looking to Repurpose an Old Standby

BY Sam Roudman | Monday, January 7 2013

Photo: ericodeg

With the expansion of digital communications, the still-telegraph-enabled(!) fire alarm box is dying a slow death. But a recent initiative of the Boston Fire Department is looking to save the city’s 2,200 red sentinels from the flame, soliciting proposals to update a technology invented in the Boston area over 160 years ago, and whose upkeep costs the city $2 million annually. Read More

WeGov

Israeli Transparency NGO Shows Voters How to Cast Informed Ballots

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, January 3 2013

Screengrab from Open Knesset website

As Israelis prepare to cast their ballots in national elections on January 22, the country's only transparency NGO has launched a campaign to encourage voters to educate themselves by consulting their Open Knesset website, where they can find previously unavailable information about how their legislators are doing their jobs and whether they are representing their constituents as they would wish to be represented. Read More

Michael Bloomberg Wants You to Design New York City's Payphone of the Future

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, December 7 2012

New York City's new payphones may be so different that the term "payphone" will no longer apply, according to Rahul Merchant, the city's chief information and innovation officer. The city has launched a contest calling for new ways to use the payphone's connectivity and power source as a way for citizens to access information and navigate the city using modern technology. Read More

WeGov

To App Contest or Not App Contest

BY David Eaves | Thursday, November 15 2012

Ever since the City of Washington DC did Apps for Democracy there have been a running series of skirmishes — that from time to time bubble up into a larger debate — about whether or not app contests, or even hackathons in general, are worthwhile endeavor. I've never been a huge fan of app competitions, but I do think there exist a set of specific conditions under which they can make sense. Ultimately, everything rests on your goal. What do you want to achieve? Read More

WeGov

Montreal Hackathon Aims to Combat Government Corruption

BY Elisabeth Fraser | Monday, November 12 2012

Hackons la Corruption (credit: QuebecOuvert)

Canada's first anti-corruption hackathon was held this past weekend in Montreal, which has been rocked by nearly two years of corruption scandals involving construction kickbacks, organized crime and prominent politicians. Read More

WeGov

Upcoming Hackathon to Investigate Influence of EU Lobbyists

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, October 25 2012

The Open Knowledge Foundation and the European Journalism Centre are hosting a hackathon aimed at creating tools that will make the influence of EU lobbyists more transparent. Open Interests Europe will take place in London at the Google Campus Cafe on November 24-25. Read More