Hawaii Joins National Civic Hacking Day

national-day-of-civic-hacking-hawaii

Hawaii’s civic hacking movement is finding its second wind, with local community-minded developers, designers, organizers and activists coming together on Saturday to participate in the National Day of Civic Hacking.

Leading the charge is Code for Hawaii, the local “brigade,” or chapter, of Code for America. The grassroots group was rebooted in April, launching regular meetings and hosting a reintroduction and brainstorming session at the 8th annual Unconferenz last month. Most recently, Code for Hawaii found volunteers to serve in various roles (with yours truly lovingly nominated to be the “storyteller”).

“I think it is good to get committed people involved and build some structure around the organization,” said Code for Hawaii founder and co-captain Burt Lum. “As in any volunteer group it’s about creating a sustainable environment.”

The third annual local event, “Hack to the Future III,” is part of the third annual national event in which thousands of people across the country will collaborate to make their communities stronger. The theme for 2015 revolves around the Principles for 21st Century Government:

  1. Design for people’s needs
  2. Make it easy for everyone to participate
  3. Focus on what government can do
  4. Make data easy to find and use
  5. Use data to make and improve decisions
  6. Choose the right technology for the job
  7. Organize for results

Last year, there were events in 13 countries and 103 cities around the world, with 40 out of 50 U.S. states represented. The format can range from hackathons to unconferences, and from meetups to block parties. Saturday’s gathering will be fairly free form, with a solid mix of brainstorming, coding, and planning for the future.

“People will gravitate into teams that want to work on various stuff,” Burt says. “I guess I am there to cheerlead.”

Some possible activities include launching a wiki for Code for Hawaii, building on some “Reboot the Commute” ideas (like #hitraffic mashups), and playing with CitySDK, recently implemented by the U.S. Census Bureau to make it easier for apps to make use of census data.

“It is  good the see the coding community getting together and working on projects,” Burt adds. “Less talk, more doing.”

Honolulu’s entry in the National Day of Civic Hacking will be hosted on Saturday, June 6, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Kakaako Agora, which is celebrating its first anniversary this month. For more information, visit the “Hack to the Future III” event page, or the main Code for Hawaii site. You can also connect with the group on Google+ and on Facebook.

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