Civic News

Why Patrick Hammons is coming back to Philly after his Code for America fellowship

The former City of Philadelphia GIS specialist is heading to Pittsburgh to see how technology can solve city problems in Western PA.

The fires of 2020 are still raging.

(Photo by Mike Logsdon for Technical.ly)

Patrick Hammons is leaving Philadelphia, but he’ll be back.

The 29-year-old South Philadelphian is heading to Pittsburgh as part of the 2015 Code for America fellowship, where he’ll work with Pittsburgh city government to see how technology can solve city problems. (That makes the second Philly government staffer to make off for Pittsburgh city government.)

“I want to be a CfA fellow because I’m convinced civic hacking is essential in making better government,” he wrote in an email.

He continued:

People in government are restrained by a lot of things (perhaps most importantly the specter of failure) and tech-empowered citizens funneling their frustrations with city processes into solutions can be a kind of R&D lab for governments. Code for America brigades form the basis of many of these communities and their fellowship program takes the civic hacking energy directly into city partner governments. While the apps we will build are important and will surely deepen my technical skills, I’m most excited to experience the transformative potential between civic hackers and their government. More than anything else I want to learn how to better foster this relationship.

"Beyond the plethora of sandwich options, this city exhibits an inspiring level of civic volunteerism."
Patrick Hammons

Hammons, who runs the MaptimePHL meetup, quit his job as a GIS specialist for the City of Philadelphia to become a Code for America fellow, but after the fellowship ends, he’ll be back.

“I’ve been in Philly since 2012, and beyond the plethora of sandwich options, this city exhibits an inspiring level of civic volunteerism,” he wrote. “People really care about their neighborhoods — chipping in to clean up a park, helping out with the next block party, raising funds to support a struggling family, etc. — and that’s something I want to always have in my life.”

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Code for America has had a strong impact on Philly.

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