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Bloomington Announces Call-Out Meeting March 28 To Establish Civic Hacking Group
Updated March 24, 2017 6:58 AM
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(BLOOMINGTON) - The City of Bloomington will host a "civic hacking" call-out meeting at City Hall (401 N. Morton St.) on March 28 at 5:30 p.m. Parking is free.

Civic hackers or civic coders design and code computer applications and technology tools to identify, analyze and solve community problems with technology. Civic hacking is based on the idea that the city is a platform to remix data and ideas and to experiment with existing systems to improve life for people all over the community. Around the country, community-minded technologists have come together to build technology tools and use community data to improve civic life. Civic hacking groups provide an opportunity for technologists, designers and nerds of all sorts to contribute and make a difference in their own community with their own unique technology talents and to build on the work of others, deploying open source software tools.

The city's Information & Technology Services (ITS) Department is leading this effort. Rick Dietz, ITS Department Director, stated, "We are eager to get this organization off the ground, but we ultimately hope it will take on a life of its own, inspired by the vision and skills of its members." City Webmaster Ron Bronson and ITS Systems & Applications Manager Charles Brandt are spearheading this community initiative.

"This effort is a great example of our local talent and expertise combining in innovative ways to benefit the community. Bloomington is the perfect place for this data project to develop and thrive, and I'm pleased our ITS department has been the entity to bring these knowledgeable and motivated residents together. I'm looking forward to seeing what they develop," commented Mayor John Hamilton.

Examples of established civic hacking groups include BetaNYC, Code for Oakland and, closer to home, Indianapolis' Open Indy Brigade. Participants at the March 28 call out will consider whether to organize as a Code for America Brigade. Code for America is a national nonprofit that works with communities to design and build software for government and community engagement. Code for America Brigades are volunteer civic hacking groups that help create sustainable collaborations between community members, volunteer programmers, designers and community organizations to build services meant to have a community impact. Bloomington has collaborated with Code for America and received a Code for America Award in 2015.

Also in 2015, the City partnered with an IU Informatics student group to develop a civic coding organization. Rick Dietz stated, "The City's ITS Department hopes to build on that effort now and anyone with an interest in civic coding for Bloomington is encouraged to attend."

Those planning to attend are encouraged to RSVP and complete the following skills and interests survey:

Skills and interests survey:

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