Raise Your Hand If You Want to Make a Difference

National Day of Civic HackingWith National Day of Civic Hacking right around the corner (June 1st and 2nd), cities all around the nation are gathering in preparation to collaborate. Citizens, civic activists, entrepreneurs and engineers alike will be joining in the festivities of sorts. If you’re like me, and you’d like to contribute to your community, but aren’t quite sure where to begin, this is a great place to start. This event provides citizens like you and I the opportunity to help create a new and better path for our community through good ol’ brainstorming.

Example topics include EPA Safe Drinking Water App Challenge, Farmers Market Directory and The Census American Community Challenge, to name a few. To find out what topics or agenda your local Civic Hacking event will include, click here.

A civic hacker is defined as “…anybody – who is willing to collaborate with others to create, build, and invent open source solutions using publicly-released data, code and technology to solve challenges relevant to our neighborhoods…” But don’t feel that you have to be a techie to participate (I for one, am not); the event is about finding solutions on improving the community together.

There are many locations already set up throughout the U.S. If you don’t see a location close by, you still have the opportunity to set one up in your neighborhood. The event has already morphed into a few different theme options that you can choose from, such as “RHoK-in-a-Box” (or Random Hacks of Kindness), “Brigade Meet-Up”, and “Block Party”. Or you can create your own theme.

To give you a better idea of what to expect, here are some of event goals:

  • Demonstrate a commitment to the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration.
  • Exercise a government’s interest in using open data and technology, in partnership with others, to address your local community’s felt needs.
  • Liberate open data that can inform better problem solving in every community.
  • Continue to collectively map a national innovation ecosystem and create new access points to that system.
  • Engage citizens in cities with little technology infrastructure to contribute to changing their community through open source, open data, entrepreneurship and code development.
  • Promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education by encouraging students to utilize open technology for solutions to real challenges.
  • Encourage large scale partnership and mutual understanding.

group huddleNational Day of Civic Hacking is about joining forces. On June 1st and 2nd, fellow neighbors, local government organizations and private sector companies will address local problems and challenges to find solutions for everyday problems in our community. You don’t have to be a programmer or a city planner – just a citizen with an idea or two on how to improve your community.

For those of you in the Twin Cities, a group of talented and civic-minded programmers have already set up a local civic hacking event. GovDelivery is excited to support these community-building and citizen engagement efforts, and we hope to see you there.

For national information, check out the National Day of Civic Hacking’s website or follow National Day of Civic Hacking on Twitter.

Let me know if you attend the event (or create your own) and what your thoughts are on the experience.

Happy Hacking!

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