Daniel Zappala

UtahJS Talk on Civic Hacking

Thu 03 October 2013 civic hacking

Today I am giving a talk at the UtahJS Orem group, on the topic of civic hacking. This is a local developer group that promotes web programming and Javascript for software developers. I was introduced to this group by Jason Dobry, one of my students who is a big Javascript enthusiast.

My topic is civic hacking -- writing apps that help connect citizens with local government. This is a really hot area right now, with organizations like Code For America and Open City Apps building numerous open source apps. Open City Apps focuses on developing apps for Chicago, and has an impressive set of deployed services. Code for America hosts fellows in San Francisco to build open source apps, and helps them spin these into startups. Other organizations, such as the Sunlight Foundation and the Knight Foundation, are offering grants to encourage more civic hacking.

My goal in giving this talk is to get local developers excited about civic hacking and to encourage them to collaborate with the BYU Open Source Lab in developing open source civic apps. We already have one app, Citizen Budget, which we have deployed for the city of Cedar Hills, and are looking to develop more. For example, we're interested in building a customer service portal and methods to get quick feedback from residents on City Council agenda items. I would love to get a Code for America brigade started at BYU or in the Utah County area.

My slides are here: Civic Hacking

HTTP as the Narrow Waist of the Future Internet