A National Day of Civic Hacking, to take place in June 2103, has been announced by the United States Office of Science and Technology Policy. The idea is to use publicly-released data, code and technology to solve local challenges.
Described as a "call-to-action" for citizens across America to make a positive impact on their town, city and country the weekend event, scheduled for June 1-2, 2013, National Day of Civic Hacking is envisaged as an opportunity to roll-up-your sleeves, get-involved and work together to improve society.
According to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy blog:
Civic Hacking Day is an opportunity for software developers, technologists, and entrepreneurs to unleash their can-do American spirit by collaboratively harnessing publicly-released data and code to create innovative solutions for problems that affect Americans ... local developers from across the Nation [will] unite around the shared mission of addressing and solving challenges relevant to OUR blocks, OUR neighborhoods, OUR cities, OUR states, and OUR country.
The Hack for Change website that is coordinating events, such as hackathons, meetups and block parties across all fifty states, lists the benefits of getting involved as follows:
- Demonstrate a commitment to the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration.
- Exercise a government’s interest in using open data and technology, in partnership with others, to address your local community’s felt needs.
- Liberate open data that can inform better problem solving in every community.
- Continue to collectively map a national innovation ecosystem and create new access points to that system.
- Engage citizens in cities with little technology infrastructure to contribute to changing their community through open source, open data, entrepreneurship and code development.
- Promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education by encouraging students to utilize open technology for solutions to real challenges.
- Encourage large scale partnership and mutual understanding.
This initiative, supported by the United States Census Bureau, The US Department of Labor and NASA seems like an excellent example of how government and people can work together to use open data and technology to bring about positive outcomes. It is also nice to see "hacking" used in a positive way for a change.