From left: gb.tc executive director Jason Hardebeck, gb.tc board chairman Jason Pappas and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
The Mayor’s Office of Information Technology, in partnership with gb.tc, will be sponsoring a civic apps contest with $10,000 in cash prizes up for grabs, announced Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake at Thursday’s Tech Night at Lexington Market.
“We are challenging the tech community to create new civic applications that can enhance the quality of life for our citizens and improve government service,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. No deadline is confirmed, though the contest is now live and other details will follow.
While the city compiles data and information, there is a disconnect in creating a relationship with citizens to share and put that data to good use. A city hacker community, the thinking goes, might find some creative uses for that data for the chance at $10,000.
Below, watch Rawlings-Blake announce the contest.
Watch the video of the mayor’s remarks at Tech Night. For the part about the civic apps contest, skip to 3:50 in the video.
“Beginning immediately,” said the mayor, MOIT wants to hear people’s ideas for civic-minded apps. People can post ideas on MOIT’s Facebook page or tweet ideas at MOIT.
Mayor Rawlings-Blake encouraged those interested to use “city and partner data” in the creation of these apps, and said more news will be coming soon about the contest.
Giving a bounty for civic apps has been a popular way in other cities to bring attention to the interest in communicating with residents using data. And so long as it’s a part of an overall strategy — which includes lobbying for more real-time data and the city workflow to develop and continue cultivating a collaborative civic hacker class — the prize is a good addition. Yet to be proven is whether the city will see powerful visualizations that might challenge the government’s successes, like geo-maps of incarceration rates or the number of vacant houses, as an opportunity (and potential contest winner) rather than an obstacle or distraction.
For now, awareness of interest at City Hall is a fine start.