National Day Of Civic Hacking Enters 5th Year


The National Day of Civic Hacking, a project of Code for America will celebrate its fifth anniversary on Saturday. At locations across the US, developers, and individuals will come together to work on web development projects aimed at improving government service delivery.

SecondMuse, a New York-based systems integrator is the lead partner with Code for America for the nationwide hackathon.

Code for America’s website offers a listing of events that are already registered, and if you want to quickly pull one together yourself you can still add it to the website. The website also contains several organizer resources including printable signs, banners and guidelines.

Hacking themes will vary at individual locations, largely focusing on local needs. In Washington D.C., the Deputy Mayor’s Office on Health and Human Services will host the first ever Health and Human Services hackathon to focus on local issues like senior care and how to get rid of rats.

Other local hackathons will make use of the Code for America Brigades stationed in their cities and states. The Brigades work with local government each day to find tech-enabled solutions to persistent service delivery problems and will be using the hackathons to build on existing development goals and bring new people into the process.

The hackathon comes on the heels of a recent blog post from Code For America Founder Jennifer Pahlka, which raised concerns about whether Apple’s new App Store policy will endanger the kinds of applications that could come directly from a day of hacking like the one planned for tomorrow. Part of Code for America’s ethos is to help governments avoid reinventing the wheel by reusing and customizing bits of code for municipal government applications. Apple, however, could limit the proliferation of government apps because they are now prohibiting applications that are based on coding templates. Code for America offers several coding templates to help municipalities make going digital easier.

“These changes will thus have several major impacts on cities, and few of them will be good for the public or government,” Pahlka writes.  Apple has yet to comment directly on Pahlka’s concerns.