Events

DigiGirlz NYC #MakeWhatsNext

On Wednesday, May 17th, close to one hundred high school girls from the New York Metro area gathered at the Microsoft 11 Times Square office to be inspired to #MakeWhatsNext.

We had a full agenda for the girls with opening remarks made by Microsoft’s Felicia Guity, General Manager Worldwide Education Channel.  She shared very inspiring words, including but not limited to, women have power and why girls should consider STEM.  This sparked insightful questions from the audience.  One of those questions was by a girl who shared she is very good in math however not much on the technical side and wanted to know how she could incorporate math into a technical company.  Well Felicia answered that there are many opportunities even if someone is not technical, referencing varying roles such as Sales, Finance and Human Resources, which are great roles to utilize math skills.

After opening remarks, the girls went through a rotation of three break-out sessions consisting of an Microsoft Technology Center (MTC) Envisioning Demo, Intro to Coding hosted by ScriptEd and a Career Development/Personal Branding session hosted by Germosen Education Advisors and by IAMCP, respectively.

As I rotated with one of the groups through each session I had the opportunity to coincidentally meet one of the girls who will be attending the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program we will be hosting in our 11 Times Square office, small world!  She took a bus, on DigiGirlz Day and will be doing the same each day of the upcoming GWC program, from where she lives to the 11 Times Square office which took a duration of one and half hours, one way.  That is dedication to STEM!

This same girl participated in one of the demos in the Envisioning Center by getting up to experience the Skype Translation feature.  She spoke Spanish which was then translated in English to the recipient and vice versa.  It was quite an exciting experience for her.

During ScriptEd’s Into to Coding, the girls were taught basics of JavaScript.  The session opened with a group circle for introductions and each girl shared a superpower they wanted to have, many wanted to fly.  By the end of the session, each girl had a new superpower, coding!

IAMCP hosted an insightful session on Personal Branding led by Lisa Eyerkuss, President of Corporate Training Group, Inc., and a college prep session hosted by Julissa Germosen, Founder/CEO of Germosen Education Advisors.

After lunch the girls ended their day with an outstanding career panel moderated by Dr. Felicia Guity, our panelists:

  • Nashira Layade – Senior VP @ Realogy Holdings Corp
  • Maurya Couvare – Co-Founder/Executive Director @ ScriptEd
  • Lisa Eyerkuss – Founder/President @ Corporate Training Group
  • Laurie Carey – Founder @ We Connect the Dots
  • CAT Susch – Technology Architect @ Microsoft Corporation
  • Farah Kirshteyn – Senior A.E. @ Arrow Systems Integration

As our DigiGirlz Day ended, I had an opportunity to ask one of the DigiGirlz what her favorite part of the event was and she shared that it was Intro to Code (she loves coding!) and Personal Branding. She is fairly new to coding and learned a lot of new things. On the Personal Branding, she shared that it was something she never thought of and left that session with some great insights.

WOW!  What a day these girls had, they all left with some great new experiences, new friends and were encouraged throughout the day to be themselves and to #MakeWhatsNext.

May’s Civic Tech Events

We’re almost halfway through with 2017 — let’s celebrate May with a jam-packed schedule of events:

Every Thursday in May

How to document apartment repair issues using justfix.nyc.

JustFix.nyc is a free website you can use to document the repair issues in your apartment. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s Northern Manhattan Office will host a training to help you create an account and start taking action to resolve your repair issues. Thursday, May 4, May 11, May 18, and May 25, 6 – 8 pm, 431 West 125th St.

May 8

NPC17 DataJam with NYC’s Department of City Planning and BetaNYC

Do you want to improve NYC’s capital planning process?

Can to use your data science and GIS skills to improve NYC capital planning process?

YES!?

Then, join us on Monday, 8 May, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 pm to improve NYC’s Department of City Planning (DCP) Facilities Explorer, a pioneering urban planning open source and open data platform!

May 9

May 2017 NY Tech Meetup and Afterparty – Creative Tech Theme

Join us for NYC’s most famous and longest running monthly tech event! You’ll see a fantastic lineup of New York tech companies presenting live demos of their products, followed by an afterparty where you can network with the community and meet our demoers and sponsors.

This month we are partnering with Creative Tech Week to showcase a select few of their featured experts showing us the latest technologies being put to creative use.

In addition, we’ll have demos from the Top 3 finishers at hackNY’s Spring 2017 hackathon!

May 10

Smart Cities Innovation: Action-Focused Perspectives From Key Leaders

NUMA New York and Civic Hall are at the center of innovation in the civic space and we would like to invite the community to join us for “Smart Cities NYC Recap Event” taking place the week after the summit on Wedesday, May 10th at 6:30pm at Civic Hall (118 W. 22nd St., 12th Floor, Buzz 12A when you arrive).

May 14

Neighborhood Challenge Applications Due

The NYC Department of Small Business Services, along with partners New York City Economic Development Corporation and New York City Business Assistance Corporation, are proud to offer the Neighborhood Challenge Innovation Grant competition.

This year’s Neighborhood Challenge 5.0 competition pairs nonprofit community organizations and tech companies to create and implement tools that address specific commercial district issues. The competition seeks to make awards of up to $100,000 to fund innovative ideas that use data-driven capacity building solutions to improve operations, target services, or address local public policy challenges.

May 18

Databite No. 99: Whitney Phillips and Ryan M. Milner

Data & Society Research Institute is pleased to welcome Whitney Phillips and Ryan M. Milner as they share excerpts and discuss their new release, The Ambivalent Internet: Mischief, Oddity, and Antagonism Online (Polity Press, April 2017).

Successes and Challenges for ICANN and Beyond

Join Chris Mondini of ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, to hear how multistakeholder participation helped globalize the Internet and learn what is on the horizon – for Internet addresses, technical coordination, and throny geopolitical issues.

May 23

NYC BigApps 2017 Finalist Expo & Winner Award Ceremony

Join us as we celebrate another exciting year of the NYC BigApps competition! At this culminating event, we will be showcasing the finalists from each of the three BigApps challenges at the Finalist Expo. The Judges will then announce the Grand Prize Winners during the Winner Awards Ceremony, followed by a cocktail reception.

May 24

Civic Hall Presents: NYC Open Data Spring Updates

For this month’s Civic Hall Member Showcase, we are excited to present the NYC Open Data Team!
The NYC Open Data Team recently finished a collaboration with Reboot, doing research on the users of open data and developing different personas to support the team’s upcoming user acquisition efforts. Come see a preview of this research and hear other updates and announcements from the City’s Chief Analytics Officer Dr. Amen Ra Mashariki.

May 25

We Don’t Learn Alone

The apps we build are more important to society and culture than ever, but the way we learn how to make them is often completely anti-social. What could a more connected and human mode look like?
The use of permissioned blockchains in the public sector has the potential to create a new balance point between two extremes: pure algorithmic governance (e.g., Bitcoin) and pure human governance (e.g., your local city council). This talk will explore if and how blockchain can help bring automation, transparency, and audit-ability to the world’s governing systems and institutions. Does the strategic introduction of blockchain-enabled validation mechanisms and smart contracts offer a means for rescuing public confidence in governing institutions while cutting costs and better ensuring fair outcomes per policy? Behlendorf will discuss these and other questions related to blockchain’s coming impact on how we govern.

May 30

Harlem to Haarlem Pitchfest

We’re Having our Harlem 2 Haarlem Pitchfest again this year! we are looking for 3 Harlem based tech companies to present their business to the audience. If you are part of a business that would like to show our Netherlands friends the innovation in Harlem, New York please send an email to siliconharlem@gmail.com.

May 31

Startup Cities — Brad Hargreaves

Join Boston Civic Media’s third annual conference for a day of inspiring keynotes, presentations and networking with peers and community leaders around igniting civic creativity. Dive into topics including media literacy, youth-led advocacy, DIY activist technologies, and creative storytelling. We’ll also be announcing the first ever inter-campus curriculum addressing climate change.

June 8-9

Personal Democracy Forum

This conference will bring together top technologists, campaigners, hackers, government officials, journalists, opinion-makers,  and academics for two days of game-changing talks, workshops, and networking opportunities – celebrating the power and potential of tech to make real change happen.

The Rise of Smart Cities, From NYC to Tel Aviv

Israel is a global leader in technology and innovation, giving rise to companies like Waze and Mobileye (acquired last week by Intel for $15B).

Last month I had the pleasure of joining 1,500+ participants in Tel Aviv at iNNOVEX2017, Israel’s premier conference on technology and innovation, at which I met with a number of impressive Israeli startups and gave a presentation on smart cities:

Slides:

Because much has been said about smart cities, I focused my presentation on three truths:

  1. The decentralization of Silicon Valley is causal to the rise of smart cities;
  2. “Smart cities” means many things beyond drones and self-driving cars;
  3. Technology is not the challenge.

Decentralization is good.

Once upon a time, you had to be in Silicon Valley to work in technology.

That is changing domestically and around the world, as resource access is increasingly democratized:

 

Number of venture-capital deals, 2012

The 12 Cities at the Forefront of Global Tech – Savills World Research, Feb 2015

This shift in regional affinity is also contributing to a shift in demographic.

It wasn’t long ago that many technologists looked like this:

Credit: http://readwrite.com/2014/05/02/soma-street-style-hbo-silicon-valley/

That stereotype is rapidly dissolving, as technologists increasingly look like this:

Credit: Gaza Sky Geeks

Credit: The Kemach Foundation in Israel

Members of the White House science, technology, and digital service organizations in 2015.

This growing diversity and decentralization lead to increased access to opportunity and reduced implicit bias in technology. As it relates to smart cities, this also means that technologists are no longer concentrated in Silicon Valley, but are located all across the country and thus more attuned to the needs of their users, resulting in services being designed with (not for) local residents. This intimate familiarity is critical to the success of smart cities, as:

  • what works in Omaha may not work with the hills and seismic activity of San Francisco;
  • what works with the single-story homes and 900+ miles of highway in Los Angeles may not work with the tall buildings and city streets of Manhattan;
  • what works with the Internet connectivity of Kenya (86% coverage of 4 Mbps broadband) may not work with the digital infrastructure of Uganda (12% coverage), despite sharing a border and having roughly similar populations.

It’s not all about drones.

“Smart cities” often elicits thoughts of autonomous vehicles: self-driving cars, delivery drones, etc.

In fact, the most impactful aspects of a city becoming “smarter” are much more fundamental to the fabric of society:

When we expand the scope of what constitutes smart cities, we ensure the application of technology in the most meaningful ways.

Technology is not the challenge.

While recent advances in technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, computer vision, etc. have enabled various aspects of smart cities, many of the largest hurdles to adoption are not technological in nature.

Many policy implications exist:

Ethical considerations also exist:

Further resources

There is a lot of activity around smart cities, including an interesting talk by FCC CIO David Bray at SXSW last month and various Smart City Expo events planned for 2017 globally.

Finally, don’t miss Smart Cities NYC ‘17 coming up this May 3–6 in New York!

NYC Computer Science Opportunity Fair Brings STEM to Students

Last week, we partnered with CSNYC, Computer Science for All, the Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS), and others to sponsor New York’s largest annual college and career inspiration event for CS-oriented public high school students. The fourth annual NYC Computer Science Opportunity Fair hosted over 2,000 students from 60 schools across all five boroughs as well as 90 companies, colleges, and extracurricular programs. Invited students were chosen based on their participation in TEALS, NYC CS4All, and other CS and career and technical education programs. The program’s aimed to excite students about the myriad of educational and professional opportunities that often result from a CS education. By showcasing the culture & products of leading tech companies, the fair nurtures the aspirations of blossoming young technologists.

Colleges, companies, and various extracurricular programs demonstrated the experiences of project-building in academic and workforce environments. Relevant CS departments exhibited current and past research projects and informed students about offerings within their respective programs. Our exhibit booth featured an interactive gaming station as well as the opportunity to Skype with a Microsoft engineer. Most notably popular was our Intelligent Kiosk demo, which used the suite of Cognitive Services APIs to guess students’ ages and emotion relayed via facial expression. HoloLens experiences were also offered for students who wanted to try out augmented reality.

As students perused booths, they had the option to scan their badge’s QR code by staffers. After the fair, students could then use their badge to log into the fair’s web portal and view info about each booth visited. Each check-in was worth an entry in the event’s CS raffle, which awarded prizes periodically during the event. Prizes ranged from gift cards to class visits to prominent tech companies. Microsoft submitted two Xbox One units to be raffled off. Check-ins proved to be hugely popular; By the end of the fair, students had checked into booths 8,100 times!

A very excited winner of an XBox One (photo via csfair.nyc)

Various guest speakers also came in throughout the day for a series of networking, panels, and tech talks. Participating groups included the Tech Leaders Panel, CS@College Panels, Music and Tech Panels, and Lightning Talks. Lightning talk speakers discussed entrepreneurship, data modeling/visualization, computer vision, cloud solutions, online privacy, user research, product management, and more.

Microsoft Tech Evangelist, Adina Shanholtz, demoing HoloLens (photo via csfair.nyc)

Students who wanted more hands-on activities could put their tech skills to work by contributing to one of the four maker space projects. The stations offered students the ability to connect LED diodes to lithium batteries, create electromyography drawings, build real-world Minecraft creations, or engineer CS puppet animations.

Perhaps the most exciting new program addition this year was the first-ever student showcase. Numerous students from around the NYC area submitted computer science projects to be reviewed for participation. Eight outstanding projects were selected as finalists to pitch to a judging panel comprised of notable tech leaders and Department of Ed administrators. After thorough consideration, two winning teams were chosen: CODEX, who compared A* performance using various paradigms, and Digital Dance, who used Sphero robot balls to program a mixed-media performance.

Through interactive and hands-on experience, young New Yorkers had a plethora of opportunities to begin to explore their professional interests. Hardware enthusiasts battled robots, physics fanatics learned about quantum computing, and internet of things aficionados played with wearable electronic devices. Companies and universities varied in size, allowing participants to experience differences and weigh which options might seem most appealing as they launch into postsecondary education. Most importantly, it exposes youth at an earlier age, giving them more knowledge, more options, and more resources with which to build a career.

We extend a huge thank you to all of our volunteers and partners who helped us make this event useful and fun for both students and staff. For more information about the CS Opportunity Fair, check out their website at http://csfair.nyc/.

April’s Civic Tech Events

Happy April!

This month, we’re welcoming spring with these top events in NYC.

April 3rd is the deadline for the (super quick) application for Knight Foundation funding of early stage prototypes to improve the flow of accurate information online. Learn more here.

Plus, DataKind has a special call for proposals! DataKind is working with the Omidyar Network to help bolster the efforts of organizations working to protect rights. DataKind facilitates projects between data science and social sector experts with the end goal of making the social sector organization more effective and efficient. Learn more about the opportunity and apply by April 30th. If you’re selected, you’ll be matched you with a team of data scientists to work with you on a long-term project starting in June.

April 4

April 2017 NY Tech Meetup and Afterparty

Join us for NYC’s most famous and longest running monthly tech event! You’ll see a fantastic lineup of New York tech companies presenting live demos of their products, followed by an afterparty where you can network with the community and meet our demoers and sponsors.

You’re More Powerful Than You Think: A Book Talk With Eric Liu

Join Civic Hall and Eric Liu for the release of his new book, You’re More Powerful Than You Think. Eric will discuss the core laws of power and show that every one of us can upend the usual rules of engagement around power, revamp the narrative surrounding an issue, and effectively deploy our networks and influence to harness our power and use it most effectively.

April 5

NYC BigApps 2017 Workshop: Prototype Testing (Test)

In this workshop, we will live-test our prototypes with users and subject matter experts. We will incorporate users into the design process through this co-creation session and rapidly learn how to better the product functionality and design. We will also focus on different methods for gathering feedback outside of the workshop.

Modern Nonprofit Event – New York City

Calling all New York City area NONPROFIT DECISION MAKERS – you’re invited to a FREE half day event hosted by Microsoft Philanthropies, the Microsoft Citizenship team & Tech Impact.

This is your opportunity to take advantage of the Microsoft Cloud Nonprofits Donation, including the new $5000 yearly Azure credit. Make 2017 the year that your organization lowers technology costs while improving productivity and efficiency. Learn how the Microsoft Cloud is helping nonprofits, just like yours, modernize by elevating their mission using technology.

Run Local: A Conversation with the Young New Yorkers Changing Our Politics

Join the Robert F. Kennedy Young Leaders & the UN Youth Envoy’s Not Too Young To Run campaign for an evening of lively discussion featuring young people engaged in local politics! They’ll be speaking on the importance of civic engagement, the unique power that goofy goobers bring to our democracy, and what it takes to dive in and get involved!

Author Talk: Politics Across the Hudson

YPT-NYC and TransitCenter are excited to host Dr. Phillip Mark Plotch, author of Politics Across the Hudson, for a discussion of his award-winning book chronicling the three-decade struggle to replace the aging Tappan Zee Bridge. Currently an assistant professor and director of the Saint Peter’s University MPA Program, Dr. Plotch has been involved with large infrastructure projects for years, having worked with both the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the MTA.

Please join us for a night of insight into what the author learned while researching the Tappan Zee Megaproject, and how some of those discoveries might be able to shed some light on the region’s various other current or proposed large-scale infrastructure projects.

April 6

WE Day New York

Mark April 6, 2017 on your calendar and join us at Radio City Music Hall for our inaugural New York City event that brings together world-renowned speakers, A-list performers, and tens of thousands of youth to celebrate a year of action that transformed communities and changed lives.

NY Hardware Start-up

We’ve got another meetup with some incredible presenters. We’ve got the head of hardware at Citibike, as well as the cofounders of The light Phone and Sunhouse. Bikes, phones and novel drumming, what more could one ask for? Hope to see you there!

Oweyaa Vet Career Connect Lunch

Join OweYaa on April 6th for our first Vet Connect Lunch. The monthly luncheons will provide civilian employment strategies and job search accountability for veterans and military spouses. You don’t want to miss out! Get informed and connected to professionals to discuss your career plan. Learn more about careers within the tech industry that fit your talents. Grow professionally with other veterans and spouses and build competitive skills to ace your next job interview.

April 7-8

Theorizing the Web

April 10

Warm Bodies: Using Data to Measure Room Level Occupancy

Join us for a discussion on measuring room-level occupancy using temperature and CO2 data to better control building operations.

April 17

Understanding Media Studies: “Media and Thermodynamics” with Tega Brain & Nicole Starosielski

Understanding Media Studies: “Media and Thermodynamics” with Tega Brain & Nicole Starosielski

Media Studies invites you to a talk with Tega Brain, Assistant Professor, SUNY Purchase; Fellow, Data & Society and Nicole Starosielski, Assistant Professor, Media, Culture, and Communication, NYU.
Tega Brain is an artist making eccentric engineering, work that intersects art, ecology & engineering. Eccentric engineering reimagines technologies to address their scope and politics, with a focus on externalities and unintended consequences. She has exhibited at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, the Science Gallery Dublin, Eyebeam in New York City and the Australian Centre for Design, Sydney. Tega is a fellow at Data & Society NYC and is an Assistant Professor of New Media at SUNY Purchase.

April 19

NYC BigApps 2017 Workshop: Learnings & Iterations (Refine)

At this point of the workshop series, we will focus on next steps and making it real. We’ll practice storytelling to get to the “why” behind the prototype, build a business case for the product, and practice pitching concepts to our key stakeholder groups. Participants and teams will come away with a practiced pitch and evaluative framework to submit to the BigApps 2017 Challenge.

April 25

NYC Bike Future Event

CUNY Tech Meetup

The wonderful folks at Tumblr have kindly invited our CUNY Tech Meetup members to visit their beautiful NYC office space on the evening of Tuesday April 25th at 6:15pm. We will have the opportunity to see Tumblr’s cool redesigned NYC space and hear from some of their engineering team about the creative technology behind this popular microblogging site.

April 27

Urban Tech Hub Launch

New Lab and NYCEDC are thrilled to launch the Urban Tech Hub, a program that supports New York City-based innovators who are building a more sustainable, resilient, accessible and equitable city.

April 28

Digital Future of Work

On Friday, April 28th, 2017, the McKinsey Global Institute and New York University’s Stern School of Business will host the first Digital Future of Work Summit.

The Summit will bring together business executives, entrepreneurs, academics and policy makers to discuss the forces that are shaping tomorrow’s workplace: the rise of freelance, “gig,” on-demand, and other forms of non-employment labor, along with the advent of artificial intelligence and robotics-driven labor automation. We will explore what futures of work are realistic to anticipate, how fast they will emerge, and what must be done by industry and society to prepare. In-depth parallel afternoon sessions will take a deeper dive into specific topics.

April 29-30

NASA Space Apps

Space Apps is an international hackathon that occurs over 48 hours in cities around the world. Because of citizens like you, we continue to grow each year. If you haven’t already, join us to share ideas and engage with open data to address real-world problems, on Earth and in space.

Celebrate Open Data Day in New York This Weekend

Every March, we’re excited to join data enthusiasts worldwide to celebrate International Data Day, a worldwide event that promotes awareness and use of open data. Through a series of events around the globe, people of all skill levels converge to create new projects, analyze data, and find new ways to visualize data.

We believe open data is a priority for civic tech enthusiasts — and we invite you to join us as we kick off the open data celebration this weekend. Here are some highlights of this weekend’s schedule — we hope to see you there:

March 3-5

Giving Tuesday DataDive, Presented by 92Y, DataKind, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

  • Friday 3/3 6:30pm-8pm EST: discuss goals for the DataDive and dive into the data!
  • Saturday 3/4 9am-9pm EST: choose a team and get to work!
  • Sunday 3/5 9am-3pm EST: final presentations and networking
    Note: You can attend one or all days.

We’re thrilled to be hosting a DataDive March 3-5 and are looking for data pros of all backgrounds to roll up their sleeves and work side by side with experts from the 92Y, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Facebook to help use data to unravel tough questions and prototype new solutions.

March 4

International Data Day

Open Data Day is an annual celebration of open data all over the world. For the fifth time in history, groups from around the world will create local events on the day where they will use open data in their communities. It is an opportunity to show the benefits of open data and encourage the adoption of open data policies in government, business and civil society. View activities happening around the world here.

NYC School of Data (SOLD OUT)

New York City School of Data is a community conference showcasing NYC’s civic design, civic/government technology, and open data ecosystem.

March 6

Civic Hall Presents: Open Data, Mapping Global Security & the Department of Defense

How can we get national security data into the open? The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) will demo its geospatial data portals for the Arctic, for combating wildlife trafficking in Africa, and for Hurricane Matthew.

March 7

Five Year Anniversary of New York City’s Open Data Law, Local Law 11 of 2012

In many countries, states and cities Open Data is a policy – here in New York City it is a law, which ensures that Open Data is here to stay.

NYC Chief Analytics Officer Dr. Amen Ra Mashariki speaking at Socrata’s Connect 2017 Conference in DC

10 – 10:25am on the Main Stage. Livestream details coming soon.

NYC Big Apps Workshop – NYC Open Data Portal & Department of City Planning Facilities Explorer Tutorials

Join members of the NYC Open Data team and Department of City Planning for a demo of the NYC Open Data Portal and new Facilities Explorer tool (launching soon) followed by a breakout session at the Tuesday March 7th NYC Big Apps Workshop. You’ll learn the basics about how to access NYC data (1600+ datasets!) and get an overview of other tools such as the Facilities Explorer powered by NYC Open Data that you can use to support your research and work for the Big Apps competition as well.

March 8

Made in NY Media Center + Fabernovel Data & Media: Open Data Breakfast

Whether you are a developer, agency or civil service non-profit having access to data drives business, improves services, and promotes free public access.

Together with FaberNovel we are hosting and interactive breakfast and conversation on March 8th to learn more about the City of New York’s Free Open Data Portal and how you can use it to build products, conduct research and analysis or create new applications.

Department of Small Business Services: 2017 Smart Districts Summit

Inaugural NYC Smart Districts Summit, where community and technology leaders will collaboratively explore how emerging technologies are being leveraged to address the most pressing district-level challenges.

College of Staten Island (CSI) Tech Incubator + Vizalytics: Data – A Driving Force of Innovation

Connect with us to discover how organizations and entrepreneurs are utilizing data to drive innovation within our local community. Learn the practices, technologies, and patterns the experts use to fuel their enterprises by way of big data.

March 9

Reaktor Open Data Studio

The goal of this evening is to share some ideas about how Open Data could be utilized in new ways, especially in New York. We have a happy hour with benchmarks from Helsinki, where open data catalogues have been advanced for a while, and companies and developers alike are used to creating cool applications for it.

Join us to hear examples of applying open data in a user-friendly way, and let’s come up with new ways to use open data to create new tools.

General Assembly Panel Discussion: Data and…Health

Big Data is continuing to significantly impact the way in which organizations operate and make informed business decisions. Emerging technologies are now paving the way to innovative medical developments, and it looks as though data is beginning to transform the entire healthcare industry! In collaboration with the first annual NYC Open Data Week, GA is bringing together influencers from the health and wellness spaces to discuss how data is impacting their organizations.

March 11

NYC Parks Computer Resource Centers Open Data for All: TreesCount! Workshop

This free workshop, presented by NYC Parks and the NYC Open Data team, offers a broad introduction to the NYC Open Data Portal along with the concept of data literacy and analysis.

Using NYC TreesCount! 2015 data, the most accurate map of NYC’s street trees ever created, you will learn how to identify, download, manipulate, and visualize NYC Open Data with a focus on community engagement and awareness. Using tools such as Google Sheets and CARTO, you will be able to create your own graphs and maps from NYC Open Data.

March’s Civic Tech Events

Happy Women’s History Month!

The civic highlight of the month is the NYC School of Data, kicking off March 4 and continuing for a week (Sold Out).

Join for a week of celebrations of the 5-year anniversary of the NYC Open Data Law. Open Data enables and empowers New Yorkers like you to better understand how your City works and what is happening in your neighborhood, schools, streets and parks. We encourage you to explore this data for yourself by visiting the NYC Open Data Portal!

NYC Open Data Week is a collaboration between NYC Open Data, BetaNYC, BureauBlank and the dynamic NYC civic tech community. We’re kicking off the week on International Open Data Day with School of Data (March 4th) and wrapping up with an Open Data for All Workshop at the NYC Parks Hamilton Fish Computer Resource Center (March 11th). Peruse the descriptions of these events and many others below and sign up!

PLUS, on March 9Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is hosting a citizen workshop on responses to the L train shutdown, and how to improve the 14th street corridor.

The rest of the month:

March 3-5

Giving Tuesday DataDive, Presented by 92Y, DataKind, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Open Data Week)

  • Friday 3/3 6:30pm-8pm EST: discuss goals for the DataDive and dive into the data!
  • Saturday 3/4 9am-9pm EST: choose a team and get to work!
  • Sunday 3/5 9am-3pm EST: final presentations and networking
    Note: You can attend one or all days.

We’re thrilled to be hosting a DataDive March 3-5 and are looking for data pros of all backgrounds to roll up their sleeves and work side by side with experts from the 92Y, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Facebook to help use data to unravel tough questions and prototype new solutions.

March 4

International Data Day (Open Data Week)

Open Data Day is an annual celebration of open data all over the world. For the fifth time in history, groups from around the world will create local events on the day where they will use open data in their communities. It is an opportunity to show the benefits of open data and encourage the adoption of open data policies in government, business and civil society. View activities happening around the world here.

NYC School of Data (Open Data Week)

New York City School of Data is a community conference showcasing NYC’s civic design, civic/government technology, and open data ecosystem.

March 6

Civic Hall Presents: Open Data, Mapping Global Security & the Department of Defense (Open Data Week)

How can we get national security data into the open? The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) will demo its geospatial data portals for the Arctic, for combating wildlife trafficking in Africa, and for Hurricane Matthew.

March 7

March 2017 NY Tech Meetup and Afterparty

Join us for NYC’s most famous and longest running monthly tech event! You’ll see a fantastic lineup of New York tech companies presenting live demos of their products, followed by an afterparty where you can network with the community and meet our demoers and sponsors.

Five Year Anniversary of New York City’s Open Data Law, Local Law 11 of 2012 (Open Data Week)

In many countries, states and cities Open Data is a policy – here in New York City it is a law, which ensures that Open Data is here to stay.

NYC Chief Analytics Officer Dr. Amen Ra Mashariki speaking at Socrata’s Connect 2017 Conference in DC (Open Data Week)

10 – 10:25am on the Main Stage. Livestream details coming soon.

NYC Big Apps Workshop – NYC Open Data Portal & Department of City Planning Facilities Explorer Tutorials (Open Data Week)

Join members of the NYC Open Data team and Department of City Planning for a demo of the NYC Open Data Portal and new Facilities Explorer tool (launching soon) followed by a breakout session at the Tuesday March 7th NYC Big Apps Workshop. You’ll learn the basics about how to access NYC data (1600+ datasets!) and get an overview of other tools such as the Facilities Explorer powered by NYC Open Data that you can use to support your research and work for the Big Apps competition as well.

Disability, Bring It On

We will explore notions about stressors, and how when cultivated correctly, stressors can yield great fruit.

Hacknight @ Grand Central Tech

Come join us for a night of hacking at Microsoft’s Grand Central Tech Space! There will be a talk on Microsoft APIs and time to work on your own projects.

March 8

International Women’s Day 2017 at Civic Hall

In celebration of #IWD2017, and their campaign for #BeBoldForChange, we invite everyone—men and women—to participate in all-day programming at Civic Hall. Visit the website to find out more information about how to participate in this year’s International Women’s Day.

Civic Hall supports and encourages the initiatives by both the Women’s March and the International Women’s Strike on March 8th. We’re gathering our global community as we act together for equity, justice and the human rights of women, through a series of panels, workshops, and talks on economic solidarity.

Databite No. 95: Amanda Lenhart, Alice Marwick, & Zara Rahman

Please join us for presentations from D&S affiliate Amanda Lenhart on the prevalence and potential effects of online harassment and D&S fellow Alice Marwick on best practices for conducting risky research. Talks will be followed by a panel discussion, moderated by D&S fellow Zara Rahman, exploring ways to reclaim power and control of activism in both the digital sphere and offline world.

NYC BigApps 2017 Workshop: Understand the Constraints (Design)

From here we’ll begin a series of rapid and iterative brainstorming processes that will lead us through prototyping and ideation. This session will focus on using the research from the previous weeks to start making design decisions and scoping product prototypes.

Made in NY Media Center + Fabernovel Data & Media: Open Data Breakfast (Open Data Week)

Whether you are a developer, agency or civil service non-profit having access to data drives business, improves services, and promotes free public access.

Together with FaberNovel we are hosting and interactive breakfast and conversation on March 8th to learn more about the City of New York’s Free Open Data Portal and how you can use it to build products, conduct research and analysis or create new applications.

Department of Small Business Services: 2017 Smart Districts Summit (Open Data Week)

Inaugural NYC Smart Districts Summit, where community and technology leaders will collaboratively explore how emerging technologies are being leveraged to address the most pressing district-level challenges.

College of Staten Island (CSI) Tech Incubator + Vizalytics: Data – A Driving Force of Innovation (Open Data Week)

Connect with us to discover how organizations and entrepreneurs are utilizing data to drive innovation within our local community. Learn the practices, technologies, and patterns the experts use to fuel their enterprises by way of big data.

Interrupting the Gender Imbalance in Media

Women continue to be under represented in the media. According to Media Matters for America, in 2015, only 21 percent of guests discussing foreign policy on prime-time cable and top Sunday news shows were women.

Join New America, Foreign Policy Interrupted, and Media Matters for America for the release of 2016’s findings and for a series of interactive workshops focused on “interrupting” the obvious lopsidedness.

March 9

Reaktor Open Data Studio (Open Data Week)

The goal of this evening is to share some ideas about how Open Data could be utilized in new ways, especially in New York. We have a happy hour with benchmarks from Helsinki, where open data catalogues have been advanced for a while, and companies and developers alike are used to creating cool applications for it.

Join us to hear examples of applying open data in a user-friendly way, and let’s come up with new ways to use open data to create new tools.

General Assembly Panel Discussion: Data and…Health (Open Data Week)

Big Data is continuing to significantly impact the way in which organizations operate and make informed business decisions. Emerging technologies are now paving the way to innovative medical developments, and it looks as though data is beginning to transform the entire healthcare industry! In collaboration with the first annual NYC Open Data Week, GA is bringing together influencers from the health and wellness spaces to discuss how data is impacting their organizations.

March 11

2017 Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

Wikimedia’s gender trouble is well-documented. In a 2011 survey, the Wikimedia Foundation found that less than 10% of its contributors identify as female. While the reasons for the gender gap are up for debate, the practical effect of this disparity, however, is not. Content is skewed by the lack of female participation. This represents an alarming absence in an increasingly important repository of shared knowledge.

Let’s change that. Join us at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Education and Research Building at The Museum of Modern Art, 4 West 54th Street, on Saturday, March 11, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for an all-day communal updating of Wikipedia entries on subjects related to art and feminism. People of all gender identities and expressions welcomed and encouraged to attend.

NYC Parks Computer Resource Centers Open Data for All: TreesCount! Workshop (Open Data Week)

This free workshop, presented by NYC Parks and the NYC Open Data team, offers a broad introduction to the NYC Open Data Portal along with the concept of data literacy and analysis.

Using NYC TreesCount! 2015 data, the most accurate map of NYC’s street trees ever created, you will learn how to identify, download, manipulate, and visualize NYC Open Data with a focus on community engagement and awareness. Using tools such as Google Sheets and CARTO, you will be able to create your own graphs and maps from NYC Open Data.

March 20

Women’s Political History Gallery Reception by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer

In my office gallery, beginning March 7th, will be a display documenting women’s political history, with photographs, posters and political campaign ephemera from women candidates and causes. The reception for this show, on Monday, March 20, from 6–8 pm, will also serve as our celebration of Women’s History Month, and we will honor the late Maggie Peyton by naming the 19th floor gallery in her honor. Please RSVP for the event at PeytonGallery.eventbrite.com.

March 22

NYC BigApps 2017 Workshop: Ideation and Prototype Building (Design)

At this stage of the workshop series, we’ll “build to think.” We’ll rapidly prototype our concepts in order to get a better sense of how it more tangibly supports the needs of our users. This will be an opportunity for teams to get early stage feedback from a variety of experts, mentors, and community members.

March 27

Understanding Media Studies: “Power Plays with Data” with Zara Rahman and Mimi Onuoha

Media Studies invites you to a talk with Zara Rahman, Fellow, Data & Society and Mimi Onuoha, Artist & Research Resident, Eyebeam.

March 30

SPARCC Launch Event — A Conversation on Building Equity, Prosperity & Sustainability for All

Join us for a conversation on how collaborative, community-driven approaches to addressing poverty, racial equity, health, and climate impacts can positively shape our cities and regions for generations.

Over the next decade, trillions of dollars of public and private sector funding will fuel new investments in infrastructure, transit, housing, health, and preparing for the challenges of climate change. This event will bring together thought leaders, philanthropic visionaries, community representatives, and stakeholders to discuss how to ensure large-scale investments benefit everyone.

The Strong, Prosperous, and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC) is supporting locally driven efforts to ensure that major new infrastructure investments lead to equitable, healthy, and sustainable opportunities for all.

March 31

Machine Eatable: When Recommendation Systems Go Bad, with Evan Estola

Microsoft Technology & Civic Innovation presents Machine Eatable, a lunchtime conversation at Civic Hall. This monthly series offers a candid discussion led by community leaders on the front lines of data science for civic good.

Machine learning and recommendations systems have changed how we experience the internet, and by extension, many of the products and services we use in our civic and private lives. While the reach and impact of big data and algorithms will continue to grow, how do we ensure that people are treated justly?

As the people that build these systems, we have a social responsibility to consider their effect on humanity, and we should do whatever we can to prevent these models from perpetuating some of the prejudice and bias that exist in our society today.

Evan Estola (@estola), the Data Team Lead at Meetup, will share examples of recommendation systems that have gone wrong across various industries, and what can be done about them. Importantly, Evan will offer concrete technical approaches that can be employed. Evan will also offer arguments data scientists can use to justify making ethical decisions in a field that’s obsessed with optimization.

You can arrive at 12pm for light lunch and conversation. Feel free to bring your own, too. We’ll begin the program at 12:30pm and wrap up by 1:30.

Beyond Representation: Designing a Modern Government

I recently flew down to San Pedro Garza Garcia, a city next to Monterrey, Mexico, for a quick trip to help launch DesafíoSP (‘Desafio’ translates to ‘Challenge’). I was invited by Dinorah Cantú-Pedraza, who runs NYU’s GovLab Academy, and helped organize the challenge, together with Graciela Reyes, the City Councilwoman who made the project happen, and Miguel Salazar of Codeando México, the country’s Code for All Brigade.

DesafíoSP reminded me of the most recent incarnation of NYC’s BigApps. Like BigApps, DesafíoSP focused on where technology, data, and innovation can improve residents’ lives. The list of finalist teams is an exciting mix of projects, including work to make government data more transparent and accessible, to capture more value from the city’s waste streams, to create geospatial maps of the community, and multiple projects to protect pedestrians from auto traffic.

While BigApps began as an open challenge to encourage New Yorkers to build apps powered by open government data, it has evolved over the years into a more sophisticated model where teams co-design solutions with the people they’re working to benefit. DesafíoSP is starting at this point, and is especially focused on the participatory governance benefits of the program. The residents who participate have already made serious commitments of time and energy to improving their community, and will continue to as the program goes on. They will be coached by others who have embarked on similar projects, thanks to the GovLab Academy, and they’ll be connected to the offices and agencies doing related work in the public sector.

Below are my remarks from the launch event, edited for brevity:

Programs like DesafíoSP and BigApps NYC present an important question, as surveys show that people have lost faith in public institutions: What would it take to have a government that we truly believe in?

It’s quite easy to lose faith in our government when it doesn’t do what we want, or doesn’t do anything at all. The greater challenge is to help design a government that’s worthy of your involvement. The key word there is ‘help’ — we need to show up. Not just on Election Day, but also by participating in the many new programs designed to bring the people’s expertise to bear on public sector challenges.

How can we redesign our governments to invite people to take part in the first place? What would it look like if voting and taxes weren’t the only times you thought about your government? It won’t surprise anyone when I say that I think technology can help answer this question. But technology doesn’t automatically lead to better government.

In a lot of ways, technology has empowered individuals more than it has empowered our shared collective. But technology can do more than just enhance the agency of the individual. Technology can improve the shared group, too. We can make better groups, and collaborate better. We can use technology to discover new participants across very large groups of people that we previously couldn’t, as GovLab’s expert network projects seek to do. We can match problems to the people with experience solving that kind of problem.

For participatory government to work, we need two things:

  1. We need more people to know how their government functions.
  2. We need their government to open up more to more people.

It’s frequently said in civic tech circles that our governments organize 21st century citizens with 18th century technologies. There are good reasons for representation; Not everyone should have to spend all day reading legislation. There are also bad reasons for representation, like a fear of what citizens will do if they’re fully engaged. Representation allows us to become lazy as citizens, and forces our representatives and government employees to do all of the work.

We need to do a better of job communicating to the public what government does, who it’s for, and what all of these municipal departments actually do. What do all those government employees do? That park I bring my dog to each morning – who fought to create it, and where do I show up to keep it there? We need to tell the stories of the public sector – we can’t assume people will just trust institutions as they might have in the past.

There’s so much value the rest of us can contribute to government to improve it, to make it worthy of its ideals of serving all and lifting our community. But we can’t access that value if our government won’t acknowledge it or expend the energy to organize it.

Now, maybe all of this is obvious. But it’s really hard to actually do the things i’m saying.

What if I came to you at your job, in your busiest time of year, and said, I’ve got 50 people who want to help, but they don’t know how to do your job. Can you train them, and hold their hand, and find them work that’s appropriate for their skill level and background and degree of motivation each day?

You’d kick me out of your office.

So, how do we bring the public into the public sector?

We gathered to mark the launch of DesafíoSP, and to celebrate the government opening up to not just include, but really leverage the people it represents. We’re celebrating the people leading the way with projects to reinvent their communities, and their government in the process. With your expertise, your commitment, we will point a new way forward.

The municipality, Codeando México, and the Govlab Academy launched a call not just for solutions, but for solutions and involvement. And the people answered.

It wasn’t easy. There’s a big time commitment. More meetings and phone calls after a day of work. Very few of the people participating in DesafíoSP work for the municipality. All of the people live or work here and care about this place.

You probably know, there are two categories of motivation — extrinsic and intrinsic motivations. And when surveyed, you spoke of the impact of getting something done.

These are the projects you’re going to get done. Wanting to see something through for the sake of the result, not prize money or the glory of winning. That’s intrinsic motivation.

That drive, to contribute to changing something for the better, and your acting on that drive, is what will make this work worth your commitment, in the end.

Getting stuff done is where local governments can really excel.

 

While there can be a variety of barriers to successfully doing something, one limit to getting things done at the local government level is often as simple as someone raising their hand to do it.

San Pedro, you raised your hand.

From pedestrian improvements and composting to government transparency, you’ve identified exciting areas to update and improve where you live. You submitted projects from the public sector and the private, as committed individuals who built a team, and as existing groups re-engaging.

You represent a range of ages, professional backgrounds, and life experiences.

The Coaching program you’re embarking on is unique. It’s tailored to help you accomplish the impact that set you on this course to begin with. So you’ll be trained, and connected with others who have done similar work, and provided guidance by experts.

And I hope that even after recruiting your team, you will continue to connect others to your projects, to involve the communities around you early and often. Because your project will be most successful if it’s adopted, if you are not it’s only champion.

Thanks to Dinorah Cantu and Beth Noveck and codeando mexico, we’re moving in the right direction. Thanks to the leadership of San Pedro Garza Garcia, we have a place to experiment. Technology can improve how we do this. San Pedro Garza Garcia could be to participatory citizenships what Porto Alegre was to participatory budgeting – a shining example for the rest of the world to watch, and then, when things go well, to point to, in their own town meetings and government boards, and say, “Hey, why don’t we try that, too?”

NYC wasn’t the first city to do participatory budgeting. It now distributes $32 million a year guided by a public election rather than a government official. 27 city councilors participate.

In Boston, youth who can’t even vote, who have every reason to treat government like a faceless entity, have already had the experience of directing public funds towards improvements they specifically want to see to their neighborhoods.

With work, we can move the system in the right direction. It begins with a strong pilot. And from there, it can grow, to a handful of pilots, and then ongoing commitments. Maybe next it becomes a trend. And sooner than later, if we keep working at it, our innovation becomes so successful, we stop noticing that we do it this way. Like libraries and subways and NASA and all the other shifts in our idea of what the public sector can achieve, we’ll know we’ve accomplished victory when we completely take it for granted that one of the fundamental parts of an effective government is the contributions of its talented citizenry.

We’re all here in this together, and the point of having a public sector and a government isn’t to rule, it’s to bring us together to get things done. When the very idea of government and shared investments like public education are under attack, we need to prove that we’re better together every once in awhile.

That’s exactly why we’re here together today. By signing up to participate, by coming together to improve San Pedro, you’re living out the highest ideals of what government should be. Congratulations and please, lead the way.

Recap: 2017 State of the City Addresses

This week, we were fortunate to join New York City in celebrating the current state of the city, while looking forward to future progress in NYC. With two separate addresses — the first by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and the second by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito — we recounted the successes our city has made and the steps we need to take to move forward.

We’d like to thank the city especially for spotlighting April, a graduate of our Tech Jobs Academy, as an example of how New Yorkers are seizing opportunities to build better futures.

A recap, via Twitter Moments:

NYC Hacks Shipping at the Ports & Logistics Hackathon

This month, our team at Microsoft NY collaborated with developers, business people, designers, domain experts, and lawyers as sponsors and mentors to bring modern technology to the international shipping industry at the NYC Ports & Logistics Hackathon. The 48-hour hackathon was a collective effort between Rainmaking Innovation, Ports America, the Port Authority of NY/NJ, Mærsk Group, Microsoft, Quintiq, INTTRA, Cisco and the Red Sea Gateway Terminal. The history of international shipping has seen very little technological disruption, despite accounting for 90% of global trade. A marketplace that employs 13.5 Million people and generates $436.6 Billion in the US alone is a prime opportunity to innovate, and to this we say: Bring in the hackers.