Michael Norelli could have called the city about a blocked street drain in his neighborhood. But he cleared it himself, then kept on clearing it in storm after storm — a simple do-it-yourself action that eventually led him to a civic tech team and even some notoriety with OpenOakland, Code for America's brigade in Oakland, CA.
Code for America
An LCD display hanging in a neighborhood art project's entryway for any passerby mapped a neighborhood's parties. That posed a risk. But small as it was, did it offer a long term, unseen benefit?
To watch a meeting of developers and others building an air-quality related app is to see a snapshot of the civic tech movement today. Civic tech projects start out looking like it’s all about technology. But the more you look, the more you see that “civic” -- meaning the development team, the people who’ll use their app, and anyone who might someday find value in their work — swings way more weight than “tech” ever will.
The secret sauce that's missing in so many complaints about transit service is supporting data. But soon there will be an app for that, at least in San Francisco. OpenTransit, now in alpha stage, running on public data, will provide transit users with the specific data they need to induce change.