“I’m a big fan of simplicity and open standards to unleash a lot of innovation… Let’s get behind these open data initiatives. Let’s build them into our apps. And let’s pressure our hospitals, utilities, and other institutions to support them.”—Fred Wilson (Union Square Ventures), A VC
Code for America has the potential to do for city governments what Silicon Valley has done for the tech industry. Imagine what our world would be like if the fastest, most pleasurable service experiences we had were those interactions with city governments!
“The more we examine how civic hackathons work and the more we evaluate what they produce, the better we’ll get at running them and the more we’ll all get out of them.”—Mark Headd, civic hacker; participant, organizer or sponsor (sometimes as more than one)
“Why should every city government treat the same issues as unique barriers? If one has pushed through a solution, why would we try to face the issue as a barrier? If we change our mode of thinking we are now viewing this issue simply as a process to follow.”—
“Increasingly, citizens are demanding access to raw data from governments to hold public officials accountable, look up facts, conduct analysis, or create innovative applications and services. Cities and towns create data using geographic information systems such as layers describing parcels, zoning, and infrastructure that are useful for a wide range of purposes.”—
“Everyday, platforms are reducing the amount of time developers have to focus on non-app specific code. What this means is that apps can be developed faster at higher quality with a tighter focus on the core product. Yes, you are ceding some control over your app’s development to a third-party, but the whole point of these developer platforms is to do one thing very well at scale. The time for developer platforms is now, and it will only accelerate as more of the world comes online.”—
As announced on the OpenGeo blog and at SFpark.org, all the components of San Francisco’s innovative parking space management system are now open source — and they’ve gone out of their way to make it re-useable by other cities.
Here’s what SFpark does in a nutshell: it ties together …
In one way or the other — from giving your year as a fellow or city partner to spreading the word through your networks — you have helped turn CfA from an idea into a reality this year. Please consider this update, along with some ASCII snowflakes (above), as a small token of our appreciation.
CitySourced, a location based mobile reporting platform and the leader in mobile civic engagement, announced today that it has closed $1.33 million in a Series A round of financing. The capital will be used to continue product development as well as accelerate sales and marketing efforts.
Code for America is the technology world’s equivalent of the Peace Corps or Teach for America. The premise is simple and elegant. America’s cities need technology help. State, federal and local governments spend hundreds of billions of dollars each year on IT systems and solutions. But a significant percentage of this money is wasted fighting red tape, jumping through bureaucratic hoops or paying for poor execution by legacy government contractors who manage to drag out simple projects and turn them into money pits.
This is what can happen when city departments start to talk to one another. Housing department has foreclosed homes and parks department looking for parcels for community parks = foreclosed homes turned into city parks.