Top six reasons to participate in civic hacking now

Tomorrow, Saturday, June 6, the Cleveland Public Library main branch will host both the Cleveland Mini-Maker Faire and Open Cleveland’s activities for the National Day of Civic Hacking. OpenNEO will be at both and we can’t wait.

Why can’t we wait? Consider the run open data and civic tech has had over the last couple of weeks: Hack Cleveland’s Fix 216 hackathon; The Sound of Ideas program on radio and public broadcast television; Ohio Statehouse News Bureau coverage here and here.

And what safer place could you go and explore an activity called “hacking” than a public library? Especially one that has all these tools:

  • Laser Engraving and Cutting Machine
  • 3D Printing and Scanning
  • MakerSpace Vinyl CuttingVinyl Cutting Machine
  • Photography, Videography, and Graphics Desig
  • MakerSpace MusicMusic Recording and Production
  • Collaborative meeting space, Whiteboard and more

To further persuade you to come out of the library carrels, we’ve come up with the top six reasons to participate:

1. It’s good for cities. How good? Code for America came up with ten ways (visit the link to see examples of each):

1. Creates space for innovation (for government and citizens)

2. Engages digital citizens in the process of governance and creative problem solving

3. Spurs economic opportunity

4. Provides insight into government decision making

5. Enables community service through technology

6. Teaches important new tech skills

7. Creates a broad network of civic hackers

8. Helps citizens serve themselves

9. Helps government manage expectations around technology

10. Connects technology & non-technology groups together

2. Open Cleveland is one of just over 100 official Code for America Brigades, and here’s a great list of 10 solutions those Brigades developed through civic hacking. Visit that link or the hyperlinked name for each of the projects below:

3. Civic hacks are often replicable, so much so that one person prepping for tomorrow listed ten hacks he’d like to see done in his community. Examples include Adopt-a-Hydrant (to help shovel hydrants after snowstorms), Civic Hacks for Better Voting, and mapping Little Free Libraries, a project that has a lot of love (deservedly).

4. It’s how we build Utopia. Who doesn’t want to build Utopia in their hometown?

5. Columbus-based Civic Hacks already has spurred startups worth watching. It’s our turn now.

6. Oft-mentioned regions like Louisville are old hands at this, providing tools for their local governments and citizens. Come be a part of The First here in Cleveland.

If you can’t be there in real-time, follow along

-nationally, on Twitter via either the hashtag #hackforchange or the handle @civichackingday

-locally on Twitter via @opencleveland

We’ll be there from about 10:45am through at least 3pm. Let’s hack!

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