Announcing Civic Hall
BY Andrew Rasiej and Micah L. Sifry | Friday, November 7 2014
We have some big news.
Ever since we started Personal Democracy Forum more than ten years ago, we have watched the community of people interested in how technology can change society for the better grow exponentially around us.
For the last year, we've talked to literally hundreds of people in that diverse ecosystem: technologists, hacktivists, community organizers, philanthropists, government officials, social entrepreneurs, academics and journalists. What we wanted to learn was first, what does the field of civic tech need in order to continue to grow and make a real difference in the world, and second, how we at Personal Democracy Media could best serve those needs.
We learned several things. Civic tech is still growing up, and poised to have a much bigger impact. But we need greater focus and more support for all the amazing innovation that is bubbling up at the edges but not yet able to fully scale. In short, what people told us was they want a home base, a gathering place that provides a physical space that is more intensive than a weekend hackathon, but less structured than a start-up incubator.
So today, and to that end, we are announcing our new project: Civic Hall.
Our vision is to make Civic Hall a vibrant, collaborative community center and event space where civic tech innovators from diverse backgrounds can work, network, learn and organize together to tackle and solve civic problems at scale. With the generous support of our founding sponsors Microsoft, the Omidyar Network and Google, and founding partners like New America, The New York Tech Meetup and others, we are excited to tell you that we're on our way!
In September, we moved into a beautiful, 18,500 square foot space at the heart of Silicon Alley in the Flatiron District of Manhattan. Right now, we and our growing team are hard at work getting Civic Hall ready to open to an initial group of founding members. We are redesigning the space, getting furniture, building a website, setting up systems and signing up new partners and supporters.
We expect that by early December, we will begin accepting applications for community members and open our doors before the end of the year. By early January, we will begin programming regular day and evening events.
If you are interested in becoming a member, using the space, or attending or producing events then go to CivicHall.org and sign up. We'll have lots more information about memberships and events to share soon.
Andrew Rasiej, Micah Sifry, Heidi Sieck and the entire Personal Democracy Media team