Published on Oct 02, 2014
The Code for America Summit, a yearly open government and civic tech conference, was held in San Francisco last week.
In the conference’s fourth year, a major theme was that the effectiveness of civic technology depends upon identifying the right problem, organizing the right constituents, marketing to the right audience, and embedding the technology in a larger campaign or strategy.
These are exactly the kinds of projects that DataMade takes on. And we were fortunate to be able to share two of our client’s stories to this international community of government leaders, funders, policy experts, and technologists.
In the Spring of 2014, the City of Chicago announced a policy that would let Chicago residents buy vacant lots on their block for $1. LISC Chicago had helped develop the policy, and worked with the City, community organizations, and DataMade to make sure that residents took advantage of this opportunity.
Demond Drummer and I shared our experience combining community organizing and civic tech with LISC Chicago to make LargeLots.org. In the talk, Demond tells the history of the Englewood neighborhood, the community meetings that led to the Green Healthy Neighborhoods Land Use Plan and the creation of the Large Lots Pilot. I then describe the maturing civic tech community in Chicago and how we were able to put together a multidisciplinary team with LISC, the City of Chicago, Teamwork Englewood and DataMade to enable the policy to succeed.
You can watch the whole thing here:
During Brett Goldstein’s talk on Understanding Urban Ecosystems, he officially announced the launch of Plenar.io, a project by the Urban Center for Computation and Data (UrbanCCD) for exploring and filtering open data through space and time.
DataMade, along with UrbanCCD and researchers from the Computation Institute and the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, built Plenar.io as a ‘one stop shop’ for civic data from cities all over the world.
You can watch Brett’s talk here:
There were over 50 talks given at the Code for America Summit and several new projects were announced. Here are some of our favorites:
Launched at the summit
Open Data ETL Utility Kit - Tom Schenk Jr from the City of Chicago released an Open Data ETL Utility Kit to help other municipalities automate the release of open data. Read more about it on the Smart Chicago blog.
Civic Quarterly - A new publication about transforming government with digital tools and design thinking.
Main stage talks
Building a Civic Tech Ecosystem: Expunging Juvenile Records with Expunge.io - Cathy Deng, DataMade
Digital Government: Not Complicated, Just Hard - Tom Loosemore, Deputy Director of the U.K.’s Government Digital Services
Deepening Impact in Health: The Big Thing About Small Things - Jacob Solomon, Fellow at Code for America
Building for Inclusive Community Participation: Meeting Residents Where They Are - Laurenellen McCann, Civic Innovation Fellow at New America Foundation
Ignite talk from the 2072 Code for America Fellowship - Erik Schwartz, Fellow at Code for America