WANTED: Coders, Problem Solvers, Creative Thinkers and Civic Do-Gooders for National “Day” of Civic Hacking

All Weekend in Somerville
Random Hacks of Kindness hosted by Code for Boston, City of Somerville and Greentown Labs

SOMERVILLE – Proving once again that they may just be one of the coolest volunteer organizations in Greater Boston, Code for Boston is throwing a weekend-long civic hacking event at Greentown Labs in Somerville with the support of the City of Somerville and Greentown Labs.

From Friday, May 30, to Sunday, June 1, software developers, coders, designers, activists, government and nonprofit representatives, researchers, creative thinkers and a dude with a gong (to keep things on schedule) will plug in, hunker down and create innovative new technology-based tools that serve the common good. It’s all part of Code for America’s National Day of Civic Hacking taking place throughout the U.S. (and beyond).

Dubbed Random Hacks of Kindness Boston: Hack the Hub, the event is open to all (RSVP required). Whether you know Python and JavaScript, have a knack for problem solving, or are just curious what a hackathon is like, all skill levels are welcome. Drop in at Greentown Labs’ home at 28 Dane St. Friday evening (7-10:30 p.m.) for project brainstorming and opening talks, then come by anytime or all day Saturday (9 a.m.-9 p.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) to get to work.

Past Code for Boston projects created by volunteers include civic-minded apps and tools that help users get to polling locations (Vote Cambridge), fulfill needed individual donations to food pantries (Pantry Pickup) or help volunteers better coordinate. The automated Twitter feed @MBTA_Alerts they created now has more than 17,000 followers, and the map of U.S. census data (Census Map) built for the National Day of Civic Hacking in 2013 visualized the country along income, inequality, poverty and education lines so well that it received coverage in the Atlantic Cities (now CityLab).

The Somerville event will be one of over 100 National Day of Civic Hacking events taking place throughout the United States and overseas. Last year served as the first annual National Day of Civic Hacking and drew over 11,000 participants nationwide. Thousands of participants are expected to gather across the globe to leverage new datasets from local and federal agencies to create impactful, technology-based tools and services.

“We’re honored to welcome such a civically minded event to Somerville and it’s fitting that one of the organizations leading our innovation community, Greentown Labs, is home to this effort to think creatively about how to solve and address community and social needs,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “Let the coding begin here, but not end here. I hope this is just the beginning of a productive relationship with Code for Boston. Our data is your data.”

The event is a call to action for anyone in Greater Boston who wants to make an impact; anyone can get involved, irrespective of professional experience. RHoK Boston: Hack the Hub will illustrate the power of open government practices, particularly where data is readily available to support meaningful collaboration between the public and private sectors.

National Civic Hack Day is sponsored nationally by Intel and the Knight Foundation and supported locally by donations from Code for America, Socrata, Constant Contact, City Slicker Cafe, Dave’s Fresh Pasta, Boston Bean, Peet’s Coffee and Tea, Union Square Donuts, Kickass Cupcakes and Hi Rise Bread Company on Mass Ave.

Registration information
For more information on RHoK Boston: Hack the Hub, visit: http://hackforchange.org/events/rhok-boston/
For more information about the national initiative, visit: http://hackforchange.org/
To view some of the challenges to be addressed at National Day, visit: http://www.hackforchange.org/challenges

What is a hacker?
A hacker is someone who uses a minimum of resources and a maximum of brainpower and ingenuity to create, enhance or fix something. Civic hackers, as we think about it for the National Day of Civic Hacking, are anybody who works collaboratively to create, build, and implement open source solutions to real world problems using publicly available data, code, and technology. Civic hackers aim to solve challenges relevant to our neighborhoods, cities, states, and country through technology.

Code for Boston Contact Information

Harlan Weber – Code for Boston Organizer

Matt Cloyd – Code for Boston Organizer

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