citizen

Transparent civic improvement with crowdfunding platform Neighbor.ly

Citizen participation

There are two processes in the public sphere that we all depend on but that few of us really understand. And what's worse is that both are in trouble. » Read more

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How civic hackers can build apps that last

open government apps

This is a condensed version of the blog post: Hey Civic Hackers! How about leaving the ninja skills at home and building really useful applications? It includes more analogies and cars. Comments welcome.


Most hackers are deeply involved in the tech scene. They keep up to date with the latest technologies and will use tech that is in the early phases of adoption. They have no problem using cloud services, NoSQL data stores, languages with smaller communities, and target more recent browsers or phones. They don't mind doing custom configurations on server software, they probably already know some of the maintainers of the project and can get special help, and they know other hackers who they can reach out to. They generally come from a startup world or at least from software companies where budgets and skill sets are generally high for employees.

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Visualize improvements to your neighborhood with Blockee

Fix your block the open source way

Blockee is a web application that lets you visualize improvements to your block. It was built as a Labs Friday project by Jesse Bounds, Nick Doiron, Serena Wales and myself. You can try it out at Blockee.org.

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Gather crowdsourced public input with Shareabouts app

Citizen participation

As stressful as elections can be, they always bring a welcome surge of patriotism. United States citizens have a lot of opinions about their government, and election time is a good reminder that actually vollunteering time and resources is the best way to facilitate real change. Luckily we live in the 21st century, and collaborating to make change has never been easier. Apps like Shareabouts make it simple to get involved and do your part to make our cities great.

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Rate your voting experience, crowdsourced by MyFairElection

open source democracy

There's a new twist on election day—giving feedback on your voting experience.  U.S. citizens voting in today's election can share what it was like at their polling location using MyFairElection.

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Crowdsourced reports save emergency services overwhelmed by Hurricane Sandy

Flooding from Hurricane Sandy

The 9-1-1 system is overwhelmed with real emergencies during weather events like Hurricane Sandy, so if you want to report a downed tree, power outage, or clogged storm drain, you need another way to do so—SeeClickFix provides that forum.

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