The app trap; why we shouldn’t use ‘blight’ to describe cities and communities; and more.
The view from the summit: My favorite statement at this week’s Code for America Summit, which was attended by more than 1,200 people, was uttered by Boston CIO Jascha Franklin-Hodge, who explained why he was tired of hearing about why government should be “run like a business.” He said, “Businesses get to choose their customers, government has to serve everyone.”
Catherine Bracy, the director of community organizing at Code for America, explains to re/Code’s Noah Kulwin the dangers of the “app trap.” She says,
It’s really hard to point to when we’ve changed a system or we’ve improved some massive bureaucracy. It’s often years in the making. To separate the milestones along the way of this systemic story, we fall back on talking about the apps we’ve built, and the way the apps sort of represent a milestone or bigger picture. And that leads us into the “app trap” [that] now colors the conversation. “Oh, you’re just about building apps.” And the app is the end of the story. But it’s not.
GovTech’s Jason Shueh offers his four key takeaways from the Code for America Summit.
This is civic tech: Kudos to Travis Moore on the launch of TechCongress, a new nonpartisan fellowship program that will place technologists in Congressional offices. Moore is a former legislative and operations director to Rep. Henry Waxman. The fellowship is a nine-month residency working directly for a Member or a Committee. Fellows may focus on technology-related issues like NSA surveillance reform, patent reform, cybersecurity or network neutrality.
Kudos to Laurenellen McCann on the publication of her new book, “Experimental Modes of Engagement in Civic Tech,” edited by Smart Chicago’s Daniel O’Neil.
MySociety are making an open call for papers for the 2016 “Impacts of Civic Technology” conference, which will in Barcelona April 27-28.
NYC Tech Jobs, a one-stop-shopping portal for finding a tech job in New York City government, has launched.
Tech investor Nick Hanauer, the founder of Civic Ventures, says companies like Amazon should be more civically involved.
Food for thought: Ioby.org board member Justin Garrett Moore makes a plea that we stop using the term “blight” to describe the challenges facing urban communities. He writes:
Why do I consider ‘blight’ a problematic word when it comes to describing our cities and communities? Blight is a borrowed term from plant pathology that refers to a number of diseases that cause damage and death. The violence of urban renewal (versions 1.0, 2.0 and now 3.0 beta) used this terminology of disease to describe a place and its people to justify the use of constitutional police power “the betterment of the health, safety, morals” to take property and wealth, remove people, and to literally destroy places.
(h/t Erin Barnes)
Ear-worm warning: You haven’t lived until you’ve heard the “Open Data Song” by Keith MacDonald. (h/t Jill Miller Zimon and the Sunlight Foundation) I just can’t decide whether I prefer the acoustic or the electric version. Let’s see if we can get Keith over 100 views!