For the fourth year in a row, Code for Boston is pleased to announce our participation in the National Day of Civic Hacking. This year, participants across the country will be partnering with SecondMuse and NASA to take action on a number of civic and social projects. Over two days – June 4th and 5th – developers, technologists, researchers, community activists, and government partners will gather at the Microsoft NERD Center to participate in a two-part event. This year, Code for Boston is changing our usual format and instead of hosting a community-focused two-day hackathon geared towards participation by technologists, we’re splitting the event into two distinct but related events; a CommonCamp on Saturday and HackLab on Sunday.
During CommonCamp, a CityCamp event, Code for Boston is once again collaborating with MassIT, the IT department for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to hold an unconference event wherein we hope to kick start a dialogue about critical issues that face our state. We aim to bring together government employees, technologists, and engaged community members to discuss problems and potential solutions to issues including transportation, environmental and energy concerns, the opioid crisis, and youth employment and workforce development. No coding or technology skills are required to participate in CommonCamp. Rather, we look forward to working with energetic, thoughtful individuals who have ideas about how to address problems faced in our neighborhoods.
“The problems we’re aiming to solve affect everyone – whether you are tapped into the technology world or not,” said Isaac Chansky, a member of the Code for Boston leadership team. “We want to create an atmosphere of inclusion so we can really build community ownership.”
On Sunday, we’ll be running a HackLab wherein local technologists can participate in a relaxed day of technological exploration and civic hacking. The HackLab will function like Code for Boston’s traditional hackathon events, utilizing some of the ideas generated at Saturday’s CommonCamp. Hackers can also work on open-source government projects or they can explore the set of National Day challenges provided by Code for America. Additionally, the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, a long time partner of Code for Boston, will be providing a dataset they’ve collected which includes every case that has come through Boston housing court since 2014 (roughly 5400 cases). Participants will have an opportunity to work with that data.
Also on Sunday, we are honored to present our keynote speaker, NASA’s Nick Skytland, who will speak about civic technology and NASA’s open data initiative. NASA is committed to open data and we are thrilled to hear about what they’ve been working on and how we, as citizens and technologists can best leverage our skills to help.
Though this format represents a departure from Code for Boston’s normal two-day hackathon, we are hopeful that the CommonCamp component will draw in non-technologists and engaged citizens to jumpstart some crucial discussions about the best ways to address problems in our communities.
“The term ‘Code for Boston’ can be misdealing,” said Becky Donner, Code for Boston’s Events and Fundraising Lead. “One of the most important roles we play in the civic tech ecosystem is in creating a community for both coders and non-coders to work to solve these important issues together. Some of our most valuable members and ideas have come from people who don’t have a technical background, and we’re thrilled to be able to facilitate these kinds of collaborations.”
To learn more about the event or to RSVP, visit the Eventbrite.
Tags: Becky Donner, Boston, cambridge, CityCamp, Code for America, Code for Boston, CommonCamp, Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, Hackathon, Harlan Weber, Isaac Chansky, Kristen Weber, MassIT, microsoft, Microsoft New England, Microsoft New England R&D Center, NASA, National Day, National Day of Civic Hacking, New England, Nick Skytland, SecondMuse