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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

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.

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

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.

How to get your city to pass an open government policy

Raleigh, NC—City Council adopts open source policy

On Tuesday, February 7, the Raleigh City Council passed an Open Source Government Resolution, unanimously, promoting the use of open source software and open data. The resolution includes language that puts open source software on the same playing field as proprietary software in the procurement process. It also establishes an open data catalog to house data available from the city.

Raleigh isn’t the first city to pass an open government policy. But it may be the first to provide a blueprint that can help other cities pass their own open initiatives more quickly. And it’s no surprise that there was influence and support from CityCampers in Raleigh. Continue reading

Five organizing tips for a successful CityCamp

government and citizens

Image credits: opensource.com

Original appearance on opensource.com.

Joining the open source (and CityCamp) movement has been one of the best experiences of my life. I’ve been involved with open source for over a decade, but I never got involved in a community project in any significant way–until I found CityCamp. I haven’t submitted a single line of code, but I’m able to bring my project management and community-building skills to the table. That’s important because it highlights the fact that there is more to open source contributions than writing code. Continue reading

CityCamp Honolulu recap: Restoring trust in government

Originally posted at opensource.com.

The theme that emerged from the first CityCamp Honolulu, held on December 3 (the 17th CityCamp held worldwide), was restoring citizen confidence in their government. In a very collaborative and participatory atmosphere, organizers looked to citizens to generate ideas for the City of Honolulu’s upcoming Code for America project and to harness the power of design thinking to rapidly prototype ten topics generated during the unconference. Continue reading

This weekend: Aloha and open government at CityCamp Honolulu

Originally posted at opensource.com.

The City of Honolulu is calling all citizens to join the open government movement on December 3 and to prove the value of government data as a platform. They hope to entice citizens to shape the future of their city by identifying open government opportunities, discussing technology, and formulating solutions. Civic groups, designers, “govies,” techies, developers, and more are encouraged to participate. The organizers of CityCamp Honolulu are excited to host this open government unconference in preparation for a 2012 Code for America project. Continue reading

Combating duplication with open government

Originally posted on opensource.com.

The second CityCamp Colorado started off with two speakers from the City of Denver setting the stage for the day’s theme: enhancing access to government. Held at the Jefferson County Administration and Courts Facility on October 28, 2011, more than 70 people gathered to participate, learn, and advance the open government movement. After Tom Downey, talked about the power shift in open government, Deputy Chief of Staff Stephanie O’Malley for Denver Mayor Michael Hancock explained the importance for citizens of knowing how to find government information. Continue reading

CityCamp Colorado Keynote with Tom Downey

The second CityCamp Colorado started off with Tom Downey and Stephanie O’Malley from the City of Denver setting the stage for the day’s theme: enhancing access to government. Held at the Jefferson County Administration and Courts Facility on October 28, 2011, more than 70 people gathered to participate, learn, and advance the open government movement. Continue reading