National Day of Civic Hacking is over. It was a great event that brought web developers, journalists, designers, community activists, data gurus, and government officials together for a weekend civic hacking. Chicago was the most active city with 412 people taking part in events at Cibola, 1871, and the Adler Planetarium.
As a city, we should be proud of what’s we’ve accomplished. And not just for what happened during National Day of Civic Hacking, but proud of how far we’ve come since the days where the data portal only showed FOIA requests. We should celebrate these wins and in the coming days, we’ll be featuring these successes on the blog.
However, it’s far more important to ensure that these efforts continue past this weekend. Civic issues are complicated, complex, and difficult to solve. It will take more than a single weekend to find solutions to these problems. As a community, we need to continue to connect civic technologists to community activists who are wrestling with civic issues on a daily basis. We must continue to outreach to every neighborhood in Chicago and ensure that the apps we build help the everyday Chicagoan and not just the geeks. While this weekend has been a fantastic weekend to organize around civic innovation there is still a lot of work to be done.
We met a lot of people over the weekend: Journalists, scientists, community organizers, web developers and designers. We need to connect the dots and form new partnerships to help solve problems in our neighborhoods. We would love to stay in touch with everyone who participated in National Day of Civic Hacking. If that sounds good to you, please fill out this quick contact form so we can reach out to you about different projects.
On our end, the Smart Chicago Collaborative is offering the following to any and all participants of Chicago’s National Day of Civic Hacking.
1) We encourage everyone to continue their projects at the OpenGovChicago Hack Nights. They’e every Tuesday at 6:00pm inside 1871. The events are free and these nights are a great way to work on long term projects.
2) If you have a civic app that benefits the people of Chicago, you can get the app hosted on Smart Chicago Collaborative’s servers for free.
3) Smart Chicago will provide user testing to any Chicago civic app for free. Through the Civic User Testing Group, civic developers in Chicago have access to hundreds of testers to help test your app in order to improve it and make the best app possible.
4) We will help you tell your story. At the national level, the organizers are accepting submissions for stories about what came out of National Day of Civic Hacking. Teams with the best stories will be invited to The White House to be featured at an event in late July. If you need help writing your story, email cwhitaker(at) cct (dot) org and we’ll help you get your story ready. We’ll also help put together a short video to include with your submission.
It’s an exciting time to be involved in this movement. There are more and more cities getting involved in civic hacking thanks to the efforts of the Code for America brigade and through events like National Day of Civic Hacking. We’re looking forward to continuing this effort in the future.
Smart Chicago Collaborative would like to thank all those that made this weekend possible:
Event Sponsors and Partners: Azavea, Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring, Chicago Architecture Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, the City of Chicago, Free Spirit Media, Hive Chicago, Knight Lab, The MacArthur Foundation, Mikva Challenge, Rob Paral, and Open City Apps