June 2015

Start Spreading the News — LMHQ is Here!

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By now, you’ve likely heard the buzz — LMHQ is finally open. But what is LMHQ? The space, which is an abbreviation for Lower Manhattan HQ, is a collaborative space (not quite a coworking space) that aims to be a “third space” between the office and home. While members can work remotely from the space and collaborate with others, it will also serve as event space where top minds in Manhattan can convene to work on great things for our city.

From the Cowork Collab event to last week’s #OFFSITE Festival, it’s clear that LMHQ is here to make local impact in a positive, fun way.

Want to learn more about LMHQ? It’s all over the news! See the media coverage below:

A new type of working space opens in Financial District — New York Business Journal

Coworking Is Old News: Why You Should Look At Collaboration Spaces

— Forbes

Latest addition to Silicon Alley: Alliance opens a meeting space for tech industry — Downtown Express

Communal work space opens in Lower Manhattan — Fox 5, local news

Connecting NYC’s connectors at LMHQ

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Today our team is admiring New York City’s skyline from a different perspective: Lower Manhattan. Lower Manhattan Headquarters (LMHQ) is celebrating their opening with a 3-day #OFFSITE launch festival. It’s a collaborative space, a branch off of the now-familiar coworking model.

We got a hard-hat tour last week when the team was kind enough to open the doors for a soft-launch event to bring together some of New York City’s rich network of coworking and collaborative space organizers. Together with LMHQ’s Daria Siegel and the City of New York’s Economic Development Corporation’s Executive Vice President Eric Gertler and Senior Project Manager Pasha Gol, we brought together a meta-network of people who design and run the spaces in which we break down silos.

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In under ten years, the number of coworking spaces in the city have proliferated. The growth of third-space venues has coincided with and supported parallel trends in shared workspaces, flexible office rentals, and using the web to connect with others around shared passions in real life (shout-out to NYC’s own Meetup for facilitating so much of that trend). More recently, these spaces are diversifying beyond remixing commercial real estate into more specialized areas, like social innovation spaces (Centre for Social Innovation, Impact Hub) and civic tech (Civic Hall). Entire neighborhoods that had no shared spaces within which to hack together now boast an array of options, like Silicon Harlem‘s beautiful, state-of-the-art mixed-use space. Our event was attended by leaders across the full range of place-based collaborative networks thriving in NYC, from civic entrepreneurs to food incubators to clean tech and local media production: Silicon Harlem, Staten Island Makerspace, the Made in NY Media Center, Neuehouse, NYC ACRE, Impact Hub NYC, Hot Bread Kitchen, the Urban Future Lab, the Centre for Social Innovation, Harlem Garage, Coworkrs, Katalyst Live, and the Tribeca Film Festival, among others.

Our hope in convening the conveners is that we can help weave together their projects, their innovation spaces, and their own rich networks throughout the city. Our plan is to continue getting together occasionally at each other’s spaces throughout the city. If you run a similar space, particularly one with a civic or social mission, please get in touch so we can keep you posted!

Lower Manhattan Paves Way for the New Third Space

Microsoft’s mission is to empower people through technology. As the definition of a job evolves, and physical workspaces change, we are increasingly interested in the future of work. When the Downtown Alliance described its vision for a “third space” in Lower Manhattan that is neither home nor full-time office and invited Microsoft to be the technology partner for LMHQ, we were delighted to accept. As LMHQ officially opens this week with its #OFFSITE festival, we are optimistic about the impact it can have and congratulate the team that worked tirelessly to bring it into being.

— John Paul Farmer, Director of Technology & Civic Innovation, Microsoft

Lower Manhattan, New York City’s oldest neighborhood, is also its most forward-looking. Lower Manhattan is the epicenter of innovation and ingenuity, qualities that the city is known for across the world. From Tesla and Thomas Edison’s legendary rivalry of invention to the first transatlantic phone call to the birth of modern finance, the neighborhood has long been the ultimate trendsetter. It’s a tradition that continues as a new generation of innovators is now redefining Lower Manhattan in our 21st century economy.

LMHQ

Over the past several years, Lower Manhattan has become home to a thriving creative class of entrepreneurs in the tech, advertising, media and information (TAMI) industries. More than 800 companies and thousands of young employees are turning a once 9-5 area into a 24-hour destination to live, work and play.

But it’s not enough simply to embrace this nascent industry. We must sustain it. And that means listening to this new community and creating the kind of professional experience they are looking for.

LMHQ_Logo_VimeoThe Alliance for Downtown New York has long been a supporter and advocate of Lower Manhattan and that is why we launched Lower Manhattan HQ (LMHQ). A first of its kind collaboration space, LMHQ is a third space between office and home where professionals can work, network, collaborate and learn about industry trends.

LMHQ is meant to ensure that companies and professionals who are seeking new homes in the neighborhood are rooted in an area where they can thrive and be part of a larger community.

From the way it is built, to the paint on the walls, LMHQ promotes an environment that supports innovative programming, and encourages and inspires collaboration. Microsoft has been an important partner in designing the technology that will support the needs of the people working here. Year round programming with partners like New York Tech MeetUp, New York Technology Council and Center for an Urban Future will offer insights into industry trends, answers to the challenges they face and a connection to their peers in the neighborhood.

LMHQ

In honor of its launch, LMHQ will be hosting a three-day festival called #OFFSITE to celebrate the like-minded people creative and tech savvy community thriving in Lower Manhattan. We officially open our doors on July 1. For more information on membership, future programming and events, visit our website at www.lmhq.nyc or follow us on Twitter at @LMHQ_NYC.

Daria Siegel is the Director of LMHQ.

Schools Seek Volunteers to Help Teach Computer Science

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Are you an engineer, software developer or programmer and interested in providing opportunities for young people to learn computer science? Local schools need your expertise to help them jump start and build sustainable computer science programs by volunteering as part of TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools), a volunteer movement supported by Microsoft to bring computer science education to every high school in the U.S.

More than 475 TEALS volunteers across the nation are currently team-teaching Computer Science 101 and AP Computer Science in more than 130 schools. TEALS is expanding for the coming school year, and we need your help to meet the growing interest in computer science education among high school students across the U.S., including here in New York.

“Many things we interact with on a daily basis are powered by computer science, but the vast majority of high schools students don’t have access to this exciting field of study because only ten percent of U.S. high schools teach it today,” said Kevin Wang, founder of TEALS. “As engineers and programmers across the tech industry we have an opportunity to help more kids learn computer science – school by school – by volunteering with TEALS and making a real difference in each student’s life, now and in the future.”

TEALS volunteers work with partner classroom teachers and interact directly with students. In addition to their role as instructors, volunteers can share their personal career stories with students, inspire them, and teach them about the broad range of opportunities in the computer science field. To learn more about TEALS and volunteer opportunities, please visit https://www.tealsk12.org/.

To learn more about Microsoft’s commitment to youth and education, visit our YouthSpark Hub or follow us on twitter at @msftcitizenship.

RECAP: Personal Democracy Forum Highlights the Power of Civic Tech

This past weekend, we were thrilled to attend the 2015 Personal Democracy Forum (PDF), a venture combining some of the brightest and most motivated minds in civic technology. Throughout the course of two days, we heard talks on community work, government progress, and social justice all being propelled forward by the work of civic tech. Best of all, we got to see the community engaged both inside and out of PDF through the use of social media, as Civicist hosted a live stream of main stage talks and Twitter users worldwide joined in the conversation using #PDF15.

We’ve gathered some of our favorite moments from the conference in tweets below. Thank you to everyone who shared the power of civic technology with us!

Civic Tech Events This June

Civic Tech Events This June

How is it June already? Apologies that we’re a week behind this month. We were a little busy attending the first run of June events, like Personal Democracy Forum and State of the Map. Here are some of our top events for the remainder of the month:

June 9: June 2015 NY Tech Meetup and Afterparty

June 16: Data Driven NYC with David Glueck, VP Data Science & Engineering at Bonobos, Gideon Mann, Head of Data Science at Bloomberg, Spencer Kimball, Co-Founder and CEO of Cockroach Labs, and Joseph Essas, CTO of OpenTable

June 16: Civic Tech in the Classroom. This event is hosted by us! Let us know if you teach college or graduate level courses and are interested in this event.

June 18: Microsoft Book Talk: The Simplicity Cycle

June 18: New America Presents: Machines Will Not Save Us

June 24: Spring 2015 Points of Light Civic Accelerator Demo Night

June 24: Civic Hacknight in Queens with Coalition4Queens

Is Personal Democracy Forum for Me?

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Conferences like Personal Democracy Forum (PDF) may be attended by tech and civic leaders, but with live-streaming technology and Twitter, we were pleased to see many people joining in from outside the conference. That had us wondering — is PDF just for those in the tech and civic  industries?
Our answer?: No way.

In a blur of powerful speeches, breakout sessions, cat photos, and leaders coming together, today’s PDF session showed what civic technology is all about: a variety of people approaching a variety of civic issues with a variety of solutions. And that means a variety of people — not just industry workers.

From public engagement to civic design to issues with big data, today’s speakers addressed pathways we can carve together to bring our communities closer and forward in technology. Xavier Leonard of the City of San Diego’s Civic Innovation Lab motivated us to hack government engagement as citizens. Jess Kutch of Coworker.org told us the story of a Starbucks employee who showed the company that employee engagement is beyond valuable. Deanna Zandt made us feel “all the feelz” as she showed how vulnerability and a lack of transparency on social media combine to make us misrepresent ourselves. And Dante Berry showed us how the same social media channels can be used as a catalyst for direct, community-based social change.

Today’s breakout sessions included discussions of “what’s next” in technology, brainstorming sessions, and direct conversations about the future of our communities. And these are tasks we are partaking in as citizens, not just as tech workers. We’re helping issues that affect our neighbors, our family, and our government — issues that we can work on with our neighbors, our family, and our government.

This year’s PDF is for everyone. And we want you to join us. Although registration is now closed, the conference isn’t — PDF is staying online to keep the discussion open and encourage others to help make a difference.

Follow along tomorrow as they wrap up the good work. Civic Hall is hosting a livestream here, and we’re all tweeting along using #PDF15.

See the full Personal Democracy Forum agenda here.