Civic-minded hackers turn their attention to cities

Wed, 2013-10-02 06:00 -- Jesse Berst

Code for America is a Peace Corps-style non-profit that encourages coders and designers to take a year off to develop applications for government. The young-but-already-successful organization has a variety of initiatives in the works. But for the next few weeks, it will be shining its spotlight on cities.

I urge every city to visit the links below to track progress. One entrant will be chosen the winner and receive help to implement the concept. But the other 24 finalists will remain public for anyone interested in turning them into action. You may find a great idea for your community. -- Jesse Berst

Ideation Nation, as the project is called, is "a chance for citizens to be a part of something bigger — an opportunity to share thoughtful community-building ideas that could be a catalyst for creating better communities," according to its website.  People, it suggests, "are truly the firsthand experts about the communities they live in, with different perspectives from policy makers and government leaders."

The crowdsourcing effort will give those policy makers and government leaders insights they probably can't get anywhere else.  "It's the first national conversation of its kind, helping citizens become empowered and helping governments hear those ideas," noted MindMixer CEO Nick Bowden in an InformationWeek article.  MindMixer is a Web-based platform working with Code for America on the project.

The call for ideas continues through Oct. 31. Learn more details here.


Jesse Berst is the founding Chairman of the Smart Cities Council. Click to subscribe to SmartCitiesNow, the weekly newsletter highlighting smart city trends, technologies and techniques.