Civic Tech Roundup: December 29, 2016

Seattle happenings

  • The Let It Snow! Community Design Workshop presented by the City in partnership with Substantial and Open Seattle was a success, with approximately 30 participants across government, the tech industry, and community members. The event received widespread media coverage, including television coverage from Q13 Fox, radio coverage on KNKX, and online coverage at Geekwire, Madison Park Times, and 21st Century State. You can read more about the event on the Substantial blog as well, or dig into datasets, either by exploring these direct links or going to data.seattle.gov and typing “storm response.”

National news

  • Here’s one way to end 2016 with a bang: New York City announced that it is building a 254,000 square foot facility to facilitate civic technology work. It will include classrooms, meeting rooms, office spaces, and a food hall. Activities will be managed by the existing nonprofit Civic Hall, and will include tech education in partnership with General Assembly as well as work to advance social equity through technology through partnership with Coalition for Queens. At a cost of around $250 million, this marks the largest investment yet by a municipal government in civic technology. (StateScoop)

Must-reads

  • Tom Friedman was a guest on Kara Swisher’s Recode Decode podcast and broke a small section of the internet with his comments on technology, policy, and social change. The podcast covered a wide range of subjects emerging from his new book, Thank You for Being Late. He traces many of the innovations at the turn of the century to the dramatic drop in the cost of connectivity starting in 2000 – and the increase in the spread of ideas and the devolution of greater power to individual people that came with it. The interview covers ethics, education, the new economy, media, social media, social change, and fake news, among others, and puts the civic technology movement in a broader context. (Recode)
  • Fast Company documents the huge range of technology-related activities at the federal level that the Obama administration has introduced and developed over the last 8 years, including ambitious data projects, the recruitment of pioneering tech experts, and the development of structures that allow these activities to take place at a greater scale. There are many open questions about how this infrastructure will be used by a new administration, and those who started it hope that their legacies of encouraging citizen participation, more effectively delivering government services, and building trust will continue. (Fast Company)

Upcoming events

Community events with a civic tech component:

  • Wednesday, January 25, 10:00-11:30 am @ Impact Hub Seattle: “Community Cross-Pollinators: Technology + Social Impact.” Free. (RSVP)

If you’d like to suggest events or content, please email us at civic.tech@seattle.gov.