America Rolled up Her Sleeves and Hacked For Change!

Code for Sacramento

Civic engagement was alive and #HackforChange was trending today across America. The National Day of Civic Hacking brought citizens, entrepreneurs and local, state and federal agencies together in more than 50 cities to use open data and technology to address local community needs.

Jen Pahlka, Code for America’s Founder, took to Twitter with her own reflections: “It’s so incredible to see thousands of volunteers tinkering, creating, and collaborating today. Thank you for all your work.”

At the Urban Hive in Sacramento, California, dozens of civic hackers collaborated on data challenges around food insecurity and improving quality of life in the Sacramento Promise Zone. Maya Wallace of Code for Sacramento says the Sacramento Promise Zone has not benefited as much in the economic recovery post-recession and data innovation can help revitalize the community. “Data visualizations will help community partners, decision makers and residents understand how to make strategic investments for greater impact,” says Wallace.

In the nation’s capital, Megan Smith, the U.S. Chief Technology Officer, emphasized the importance of diversity in her morning address to an enthusiastic group of civic hackers. “We are developing one of the most diverse societies and our structure, the arc of justice that we are on to include everyone, is really significant and it’s our greatest strength.”

From affordable housing to smart mobility and apps to map honey bees, developers, government employees, designers, journalists, data scientists, non-profit employees and UX designers hacked for social good together.

In New York City, the NewYorkcessible team created a crowdsourced map of accessible routes for differently-abled people in the city. In Camden, New Jersey, another city identified as a Promise Zone by the Obama Administration, one team created tools to improve educational outcomes.

Code for Palo Alto was all about smart mobility. Palo Alto Mayor Patrick Burt talked about innovation in mobility as a transformative movement, not only to improve quality of life for communities but also as a significant factor in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving sustainability. Mayor Burt and Seval Oz, CEO of Continental Intelligent Transportation Systems, LLC shared more about the future of transportation and cars on Facebook Live.

Observing the trending #HackForChange hashtag, NASA’s Nick Skyland underscored the vital work around open innovation: “We’re excited about the interactions with citizens, with government, the private sector, and nonprofits– everyone coming together this weekend to improve our communities and the governments that serve them.”

SecondMuse storytellers shared real-time videos, tweets and Facebook live captures throughout the day from Washington D.C., Boston, Sacramento and Palo Alto. According to Keyhole.co analytics the #HackforChange hashtag reached some 21 million people today. The National Day of Hacking is a collaboration of Code for America, SecondMuse and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Matt Scott

About Matt Scott

Prior to joining SecondMuse, Matt worked with digital agency Social Driver to craft and execute social-first campaigns in a variety of industries, including projects with Honda, Harvard, and Digital Learning Day. His efforts have successfully encouraged the FCC to modernize internet in schools by $1.5B and Congress to facilitate compensation for pre-1972 musicians not receiving royalties. Currently, he works to strengthen storytelling for SecondMuse and its clients, including NASA and the World Bank. As an advocate against sexual violence and digital strategist alike, Matt often gives talks on incorporating human-centered design into promotional efforts.

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