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Contest aims to give open source projects a second wind

Race for Reuse

The Code for America Brigade recently launched Race for Reuse. It's a different kind of contest that aims to increase adoption of existing open source projects with real dollars. The goal isn't to build something brand new—it's to encourage volunteer teams (called "brigades") across the U.S. to stand up and support existing open source projects. Because one of the more difficult parts of deploying open source apps is building the user community around the projects and getting citizens engaged.

There are four apps that brigades are competing with: » Read more

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Hacking on code and culture: Failure as validated learning

Taking collaborative risks

Open source is about more than the code, it’s about the culture. The open culture that many open source communities embrace is entrenched in organizations like Code for America. It’s obvious as I sit here during the opening day of the Code for America Summit in San Francisco, CA.

Jennifer Pahlka, founder and executive director of Code for America, started off the conference with a call to action, "Beliefs aren't enough, we have to act." » Read more

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A look inside Code for America

A look inside Code for America

Last week while I was in San Francisco for the Open Source Business Conference I stopped by to visit  Code for America. I arranged some office time a few weeks ago when I was planning my travel. This wasn’t just another office tour; this is where web geeks, city experts, and technology industry leaders are making a difference. This is where civic ideas are transformed from sticky notes and whiteboards to code. » Read more

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Find civic engagement tools and their stories at Engagement Commons beta

Find civic engagement tools and their stories at Engagement Commons beta

With civic engagement becoming an increasingly critical component of successful governance in the 21st century, cities around the world are seeking to leverage technology as a tool for citizen participation, but civic leaders face real challenges finding, evaluating, and deploying the right tools in the absence of good information.That’s why earlier this year, we announced our plans to build Engagement Commons: a comprehensive and dynamic catalog of the tools available for civic engagement and the real-world stories of their deployments. » Read more

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Code for America recruiting startups for Civic Startup Accelerator

Code for America's recruiting startups for Civic Startup Accelerator

Soon after we launched the Code for America (CfA) fellowship, we realized that to accomplish the kind of change we were seeking not only would government have to change but also the civic tech ecosystem. There needed to be more innovation, more dynamism, more entrepreneurship. City Hall needs disruption from the outside as well. So taking from the precedent set in other industries (the consumer web, healthcare, clean tech, social, etc) — we decided to build a startup accelerator, focused on disrupting civic space.

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The Code for America brigade effect

The Code for America 'brigade effect'

Have you ever seen results from your community engagement and realized the impact of your efforts? We recently told you about the LocalWiki project and shared some of the results from the Triangle Wiki day event. But then our friends at Code for America took it a step further. » Read more

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2012: Open innovation for government

2012: Open innovation for government

As we turn the calendar to the new year, we'd like to take a moment to reflect on what we've done here at Civic Commons over the past year, what we've learned, and where we're planning on heading next.

It's been a busy year for us. While the Civic Commons initiative began, slowly, as an informal partnership between Code for America and OpenPlans in early 2010, we really began working in earnest last May, thanks to generous startup support from the Omidyar Network, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Knight Foundation.

Since then, we've accelerated our work towards our broad goal: » Read more

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NYT features Chicago’s "Adopt-a-Sidewalk"

NYT features Chicago’s "Adopt-a-Sidewalk"

As the Windy City prepares for another major snow season, Chicago’s CTO John Tolva and team have been hard at work, turning out a robust suite of online tools to help citizens track and even support the city’s management efforts: ChicagoShovels.org. The New York Times recently featured their innovative efforts — which ranged from real-time snow plow tracking to 311-powered crowdsourcing:

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Code for America opens 2013 application period

Code for America opens 2013 application period

Does your city need to solve a big civic problem? Cities across the United States can now submit their Code for America applications for 2013. Boston, Philadelphia, and Seattle have just wrapped up their 2011 projects. We're eager to see what happens in Austin, Detroit, Chicago, Honolulu, Macon, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Santa Cruz in 2012. The application process opened on January 9, and applicants have until the end of March to complete their submissions.

What problems can your city tackle with help from Code for America? How can your city build on other open source projects to make your government more accessible, more efficient, and more engaged with citizens? » Read more

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Code for America: CityCamp is seriously local

Code for America: CityCamp is seriously local

Saturday December 3, CityCamp Honolulu packed the student center at the University of Hawaii. The one-day event brought together nearly 150 locals to discuss and plan for updating the interface for Honolulu’s city services. Forest Frizzell, director of the City’s department of information technology and Burt Lum, a local activist and the man behind ByteMarks Cafe, a Hawaii Public radio show, are responsible for hosting this important event. Burt emceed the event, and moderated the two panels that discussed everything from current city initiatives and records requests to the forthcoming 2012 Code for America fellowship program. » Read more

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