Code for Alexandria!

code_for_america_brigade_logoA few weeks ago, a small group of "civic hackers" met in a conference room at ForumOne Communications in Alexandria to discuss what kind of applications they should build as a part of the  Northern Virginia Brigade of Code for America.

So, what is civic hacking and why should you care?

If you're interested in helping governments work better for people, you could be a civic hacker.  You don't have to have technical skills to be a civic hacker, although it certainly helps. You just need to be someone interested in using the "people and power of the web," to improve the way government works for citizens.

Code for America is an organization working to build a network of cities, citizens, community groups, and startups committed to reimagining government for the 21st century through a fellowships and their Brigade program which helps local, community groups reuse civic software.

Civic Hacking in Alexandria and the Northern Virginia Brigade

When you get the right people in the room, great things happen. During the first meeting of the NoVA Brigade, we were lucky to have e-government officials from the City of Alexandria and Arlington County agree that building a mobile app for their Open311 implementations would do the most good in both communities.

311 is the number you call for non-emergency services that concern public space and services. Open311 is the effort to create an digital location-based system for non-emergency services and issue tracking. For instance, if the City of Alexandria had a 311 mobile app, you could use your smartphone to report a pothole that needs to be fixed. Cool, right?

Next up, a NoVA Hackathon

Now that us civic hackers have a project to work on, the next step is to organize a NoVA hackathon before the end of year. And for that, we need a lot of civic hackers.  That's where you come in. If you're interested in helping local government work better for people, Join the Northern Virginia Brigade Google Group today!

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