National Hackathon Offers New Fixes for Urban Problems

The second annual national “Civic Hacking” event, May 30 – June 1, brings together participants from the fields of software development, design, research, non-profits, local government and more to use their skills to solve civic challenges.  Civic Hacking events are scheduled in over 122 locations across the U.S.  and beyond.  Sponsored by Intel, this is a significant opportunity for government agencies, businesses, nonprofits and civically-engaged individuals to work together to solve complex social problems. Thousands of participants are expected to gather across the globe to leverage new data sets from local and federal agencies to create impactful, technology-based tools and services. RHoK Boston: Hack the Hub will illustrate the power of open government practices, particularly where data is readily available to support meaningful collaboration between the public and private sectors.  The Boston area event is hosted by city of Somerville with leadership from the Code for Boston group.  The event will be held at Greentown Labs in Somerville, Mass.  The city of Somerville serves as the official city partner and host of RHoK Boston. Last year served as the first annual National Day of Civic Hacking and drew over 11,000 participants nationwide. Here in Boston, 100+ people gathered to work on both local and national challenges including an application aimed at facilitating individual donations to food pantries (Pantry Pickup), a map of US census data (Census Map), and a method allowing Peace Corps members to collaborate. This year, Code for Boston aims to build on the success of last years’ event with new collaborations from local and national partners. At RHoK Boston, Code for Boston hopes to create a unique hackathon experience where participants can engage in the spirit of open source collaboration and use their diverse expertise and entrepreneurial spirit to make an impact on the communities of Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and beyond. Hackathon challenges have been issued by national government agencies including NASA, the Census Bureau, and Federal Emergency Management Agency, and will be supplemented by challenges from local governments, non-profit organizations, and community groups.   The event is a call to action for anyone in Greater Boston who wants to make an impact; anyone can get involved, irrespective of professional experience. National Day of Civic Hacking also demonstrates how the innovation community is active across America and deeply integrated across disciplines and geographic boundaries. The partners creating this initiative are eager to catalyze new innovation ecosystems and elevate the visibility of existing tech and creative communities throughout the country. “In this democracy, we the people recognize that this government belongs to us, and it’s up to each of us and every one of us to make it work better… We all have a stake in government success—because the government is us.” President Barack Obama Registration information For more information on RHoK Boston: Hack the Hub, visit: For more information about the national initiative, visit: To view some of the challenges to be addressed at National Day, visit: What is a hacker? A hacker is someone who uses a minimum of resources and a maximum of brainpower and ingenuity to create, enhance or fix something. Civic hackers, as we think about it for the National Day of Civic Hacking, are anybody who works collaboratively to create, build, and implement open source solutions to real world problems using publicly-available data, code, and technology. Civic hackers aim to solve challenges relevant to our neighborhoods, cities, states, and country through technology. Organizing Partners

  1. SecondMuse (
  2. Code for America (
  3. Innovation Endeavors (

National Sponsors

  1. Intel (
  2. Knight Foundation (
  3. Socrata (
  4. Yahoo (

Contact Information Harlan Weber – Code for Boston Organizer 914-217-3618 Matt Cloyd – Code for Boston Organizer 508-769-2973              

Follow Barbara Thornton @assetstewards

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