CityCamp Raleigh Expands Statewide for Third Annual Event

CityCamp NC, an event to promote citizen participation and government transparency, today announced plans to host the now state-focused event that brings together citizens, government and businesses in order to ignite innovation focused on improving quality of life through technology. For the 3rd year, the event elevates civic technology issues and enables the conversations that are necessary to improve the place we live. Continue reading

CityCamp Turns 3

Alpha CityCamper Andre Natta (@acnatta) reminded me on Twitter that it’s been 3 years since the inaugural CityCamp:
http://barcamp.org/w/page/25504543/CityCamp-Original

In that time there have been 30 CityCamps independently organized BY YOU in
25 cities across 8 countries and 5 continents:
http://citycamp.govfresh.com/cities

Always a fun time to scroll back through the Introductions thread…
http://forums.e-democracy.org/groups/citycamp/messages/topic/5tikRb8TaKCI4ba31BLrH3

…and look way back on the CityCamp Tumblr:
http://citycamp.tumblr.com/page/7

Raleigh Code for America brigade launches Adopt-A-Shelter web application

From the folks that brought you CityCamp Raleigh…

Citizens interested in maintaining and monitoring their favorite City of Raleigh bus shelter now have a helping hand: the Adopt-A-Shelter interactive web application. Adopt-A-Shelter instantly displays the adoption status of all city bus shelters. Code for Raleigh, a recently formed Code for America brigade in Raleigh that includes volunteers from CityCamp Raleigh, deployed the application for use in Raleigh.

Code for Raleigh advocates for existing applications and technology created by Code for America, a national non-profit focused on improving government through technology. Code for Raleigh has recently deployed an Adopt-A-Shelter application at adoptashelter.raleighnc.gov highlighting 184 shelters available for adoption in Raleigh. Citizens can easily sign up for a one-year commitment to help keep Raleigh bus shelters clean for Capital Area Transit (CAT) riders.

“It’s an interactive way for residents to see which bus shelters have been adopted,” said David Eatman, the City’s transit administrator. “We are delighted that citizens from Code for Raleigh have stepped up to offer this technical resource to encourage participation in this City program.”

Code for Raleigh recently entered their Adopt-A-Shelter application in a Code for America Race for Reuse campaign. Only five weeks remain to promote the project and increase the adoption rate. Code for Raleigh hopes to have 20 new shelters adopted by December 6, 2012 to meet their success criteria.

“We think we can double the existing adoption rate from twenty to forty adopters during the campaign,” said Jason Hibbets, a Code for Raleigh brigade captain. “Over the next five weeks, we hope to drive awareness about the bus shelter adoption program and host a civic-athon on December 1 to sign-up new users, add new features, and create Triangle Wiki pages about each adopted shelter.”

There are a few key dates and milestones to be aware of during the Race for Reuse campaign. Code for America brigades across the United States will set campaign goals by Friday November 16. An “engagement day” and civic-athon scheduled for Saturday, December 1 would foster new users and address bug and feature requests to the application. Raleighites can sign-up to attend the event.

The campaign ends on Thursday, December 6, and the Raleigh brigade aims to have the existing twenty adopters included in the new online program and add at least twenty more adopters by the campaign deadline.

About the Adopt-A-Shelter Program

The City’s shelter adoption program began in September.  Adoption requires maintaining the shelter. Those wishing to participate in the initiative can assist in removing trash in and around the shelter area on a monthly basis. City of Raleigh staff will provide adopters with trash bags, disposable gloves and safety vests to assist in the trash removal around adopted shelters. These volunteers also are asked to notify City of Raleigh staff of any special maintenance needs and report vandalism or suspicious activity.

About Code for Raleigh

Code for Raleigh is a Code for America brigade whose mission is to deploy, maintain, and sustain civic technology and open data infrastructure in Raleigh. The brigade is a volunteer group that is part of a national network of civic advocates. Code for Raleigh aims to bring citizens, city government, and businesses together to openly innovate and improve our quality of life through technology. Existing projects include Triangle Wiki, a free, openly-editable, community-centric website for local history, media, and interesting characters. The brigade was formed in October 2012 by CityCamp Raleigh volunteers.

About Code for America

Code for America helps governments work better for everyone with the people and the power of the web. Founded in 2009, Code for America held its inaugural fellowship in 2011 with 19 fellows and three cities. Through the fellowship program, Code for America provides an opportunity for the web generation to give back by connecting developers and designers with cities to work together to innovate. Code for America has grown, and now connects 26 fellows and eight cities. The Code for America Accelerator, launched April 2012, will support disruptive civic startups, and The Code for America Brigade helps organize hackers locally to reuse and deploy civic software. Code for America is reimagining government for the 21st century.

Highlights from CityCamp Colorado: Opengov techies give back with apps and expertise

Originally posted on opensource.com.

Smaller governments, typically those in rural towns, don’t have the IT capacity to foster serious innovation in citizen participation like governments in larger cities do. Two groups decided it was time to give back and have come together to share their technical knowledge and expertise: OpenColorado and Colorado Code for Communities will combine community, platform, and digital literacy to create a hosted service platform that includes open data with different web and mobile applications. Continue reading

CityCamp Colorado – Bringing Innovation to Life

Colorado’s largest gathering on civic and government innovation will take place this Friday, October 26th. Denver-based nonprofit, OpenColorado is organizing the event. OpenColorado’s mission is support a transformation that will lead to a simple, beautiful, and easy-to-use government.

This event, the third annual CityCamp Colorado, will again bring together community leaders, government employees, technology experts, and citizens to share ideas to enhance government transparency, citizen participation, and accountability. The overall goal is to create solutions to support more informed, healthy, and livable communities. Over 150 people are registered to attend CityCamp Colorado, which will be held in the Atrium of Denver’s Wellington E. Webb Building.

The Webb Atrium is a wide open public space, which will make for an engaging and accessible camp. “The Webb Atrium will give both attendees and the public a glimpse into civic innovation in Colorado” OpenColorado President Brian Gryth said.

Starting at 8:30 AM, we will host breakfast for Denver Startup Week. At 9:00 AM, we will kick the day off with coffee and inspiration with Ignite CityCamp Colorado. The Ignite will celebrate ideas and innovations that are transforming our communities. We have seven presenters who will provide thought fuel for our day. Denver Councilwoman Robin Kniech and Chuck Fredrick, the City of Denver Chief Information Officer will then take the stage to make remarks about the future of Denver government.

At 10:30, Brian Gryth, OpenColorado Preseident, and Jason Lally, the Leader of Colorado Code for Communities, will announce the 2012 Roadmap: an aggressive plan to kick start a transformation of Colorado government.

We will also have demonstrations from several groups showing off civic websites and mobile applications that are improving Colorado communities.

More information about the event is at opencolorado.org/citycamp-colorado/.

CityCamp Raleigh Competes for Civic Innovation

The unconference at CityCamp Raleigh on June 2 was amazing. The ideas. The passion. The people. For those of you unfamiliar with the unconference format, we gathered at 9:00 am  on Saturday. The coffee was a little late, so we didn’t start until 9:15 am. We explained the process for the day…which went something like this:

Attendees were allowed to give 1-minute pitches for ideas, workshops, or projects. There were over 30 pitches Then attendees voted on their favorite ideas. We had five rooms with sessions starting every hour from 10am-4pm. One room was dedicated to TranspoCamp. (Okay, so we started a little late and the first two sessions were at 10:30 and 11:30, but we made up time during lunch.) The group gathered back at 12:55pm to go over the contest rules and address any questions. Then afternoon sessions started and teams started forming.

By the 4:00pm deadline, we had ten teams submit their project ideas. The concepts range from Continue reading

CityCamp Raleigh Announces Second annual CityCamp to foster local government and citizen collaboration

Citizen-led “unconference” brings innovation and cooperation to the
capital city June 1, 2, and 3, 2012.

Raleigh, NC—CityCamp Raleigh announced the second annual, city-focused “unconference” that unites government, business, neighborhood, non-profit, and academic communities to create next-generation solutions for Raleigh. The event highlights the power of participation, promotes open source in local government and explores how technology can increase government transparency and participation. All citizens are invited to participate either before or after the conference by posting suggestions and ideas on the CityCampRal.org homepage under the ‘Submit Your Topic’ header. Continue reading

Announcing CityCamp Raleigh 2012

We are pleased to announce the event dates for this year’s CityCamp in Raleigh, NC. Save the date for CityCamp Raleigh 2012: June 1, 2, and 3. The planning committee is working on all the details, but attendees can expect a similar format from our first CityCamp—a day of speaking, an unconference, and teams working on solving a city-wide opportunity.

On Friday, June 1, we are planning on having two panels focused on how open source and open government are applied to civic participation and to business. Then, if we can pull it off, an inspirational lightning-talk session to leave attendees fired-up for the rest of the weekend.

On Saturday, June 2, we will kick off our unconference–where the agenda will be determined by those in attendance. Folks will pitch ideas to start off the morning, several workshops will be hosted, and teams will start to form around ideas on how to improve civic engagement or other civic-minded needs in the City of Raleigh.

On Sunday, June 3, teams will collaborate on solving a civic issue that can improve the quality of life in Raleigh. Simultaneously, CityCamp Raleigh will host a Triangle Wiki content sprint to add pages, images, and ideas to trianglewiki.org. At 3pm, teams will present and CityCamp Raleigh will award one winning team with a cash reward.

If your are interested in sponsoring, planning, or participating in this years CityCamp Raleigh visit citycampral.org for more details. We look forward to shaping the future of our city with you. Be sure to mark your calendar for the first weekend in June when together, we will make change happen the open source way. Registration for the event will be opened in early May.

LocalWiki project spawns open source communities

Originally posted on opensource.com. Triangle Wiki is an open source project influenced by CityCamp Raleigh.

Who says open source is all about code and hackathons have to stick to computer hacking? Code Across America is a different kind of open source community, and it came together on February 25, 2012. This effort was part of civic innovation week (February 24-March 4), where over a dozen cities in the United States had citizens organize to improve their cities and communities. Simultaneous events included hackathons, unconferences, meet-ups, and Code for America ’brigades’ deploying existing open source applications. This is a story about building community knowledge the open source way, using the open source platform LocalWiki.

Triangle Wiki Day is an open source success in community building

On Triangle Wiki Day, around 50 people collaborated at Red Hat headquarters in Raleigh, NC. The event was a soft launch of trianglewiki.org, an effort to document information about the Triangle region and increase collaboration and knowledge-sharing across the area. The wiki uses open source software, LocalWiki, as a content management platform. It includes wiki pages, images, and mapping.

The day started off with a brief presentation [PDF] on how the Triangle Wiki project has roots in CityCamp Raleigh. It’s also part of the larger open government movement and part of the Code Across America civic innovation week.

Raleigh At-large City Councilor Mary Ann Baldwin gave a keynote at the event. She spoke briefly on the importance of collaborating on a project like Triangle Wiki and how events like this continue to be an authentic part of Raleigh’s open source philosophy and open-minded communities. At-large City Councilor Russ Stephenson and Raleigh Planning Director Mitchell Silver were also in attendance.

Reid Serozi, Triangle Wiki project lead, provided the background on LocalWiki, showing a video from Philip Neustrom. Neustrom is one of the LocalWiki co-founders and worked extensively with daviswiki.org. Serozi walked the attendees through wiki 101—teaching them how to register an account, create new pages, and edit existing pages. After that, the edit party began.

Right away, people started creating pages, collaborating with each other, and helping one another with wiki best practices, formatting, mapping, and more. The group made a lot of progress.

I spoke with Councilor Baldwin at the end of the day. She was a little intimidated at the start, but is now comfortable making contributions on her own. She created several pages, practicing with a page about the Cotton Mill before contributing several pages mapping assets for Raleigh.

Serozi was pleased with the turnout and participation. His reaction on the day:

As I was setting up for the Triangle Wiki Day event, there were so many unknowns. As the event started, I was pleasantly surprised to see all the seats taken, power strips full with dozens of laptops ready to partake in an open content edit party. During the event and afterwards, it became pretty clear the efforts produced from Triangle Wiki Day will have a ripple effect within our community.

What did this community accomplish? Here are a few of the results from Triangle Wiki Day:

  • 633 page edits
  • 100 maps
  • 138 new photos added

Neustrom was watching from afar. He knows the wiki software he works on is just an enabler. “I think the Triangle Wiki day was a spectacular success,” he said. “It really shows the true potential of this new form of collaborative local media.”

The next step for the Triangle Wiki is to capitalize on this event. “The challenge for everyone involved at this point is to continue the momentum and reach 1,000 pages by the March 14 public launch,” said Serozi.

More about LocalWiki from their co-founder

Neustrom wants LocalWiki to be more than a collaborative open source project. He feels that the freedom that this platform offers will be a key to getting people to share information and knowledge in the future:

Right now we’re at point where it’s unclear how people in our local communities will get and share information in the future.  And, more critically, many large corporations would like to be the gatekeeper of this local information. The LocalWiki movement represents a truly open alternative to an increasingly consolidated, closed-off local information ecology.

The civic world has focused a lot on the problem of open data–and open data is really important.  But open data alone won’t satiate our communities’ information needs. We need tools and organizations that can really pull everything together and provide context, provide a more qualitative take on local information. And I think LocalWiki is really well-positioned to help in this respect.

Conclusion

The power of open source and collaboration were evident at Triangle Wiki Day. This project is about creating a community anyone with local knowledge can contribute to. It brings together people with different skillsets—ranging from tech-savvy know-how to photography, local history to hackers, and much more. You don’t have to code or contribute upstream to add your knowledge to the wiki, you just need to click the edit button. After that, you’re part of an open source community and a philosophy that is changing the world.

Project information

Pictures

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Code Across America: A Week of Civic Innovation

Originally posted on codeforamerica.org

From February 24 through March 4, passionate citizens around the country will come together to “Code Across America” – to make their cities even better. In over a dozen cities, there will be hackathons to build civic apps, “brigades” to deploy existing apps, unconferences to plan for the year ahead, and meetups to strengthen the community. Five of these cities are CityCamp cities. Check out details of what’s going on and where it’s happening below.

Details

When: Simultaneous event, February 25; Ongoing, February 24 – March 4
What: Activities ranging from hackathons and app deployments to unconference sessions
Who: Urbanists, Civic Hackers, City Reps, Developers, Designers, etc — anyone with the passion to make their city better
How: Bring together the city government with a supporting community group, organization, or business, and reach out to a broad range of participants with diverse backgrounds and skills

FAQ

What’s a “Brigade” event? This year, Code for America is launching the CfA Brigade to bring together groups of civic hackers in cities across the country, focused on customizing and deploying civic apps locally. These Brigade events will be the kick off: each city will identify an app to focus on, customizing it for their needs, standing it up, and getting it in the hands of users by the end of the day.

How do I participate? Find your city on the map above or the list to the right and join the event there. If you don’t see your city, then host your own event using our guide, and if you can’t make it happen on February 25, don’t worry, Code Across America events are happening all week long, February 24 – March 4. Contact us if you need some help or want more information.