Austin will host Code for America technology developers while they identify City government’s needs for innovation web-based technology and communications tools. The developers then will create solutions that can be shared with other governments across the country with similar needs.
Earlier this year the City created a successful proposal outlining powerful online tools allowing municipal agencies to deliver information and services and move beyond request and response towards dynamic collection of feedback, issue management, notification, online discussion and event management.
“One of my commitments to the residents of Austin has been to lead a transformation in how we do business online. Partnering with Code for America will give us fresh ideas, skills and perspectives on not only how to achieve that goal, but how to become leaders and innovators in the delivery of service to our residents,” said Mayor Lee Leffingwell. “It’s an honor to be selected as a partner city.”
Code for America chose cities with proposals reflecting a deep understanding of the power that technology can bring to local governments. In 2011, Code for America hosted inaugural projects in Boston, Philadelphia and Seattle. For the 2012 program, more than 20 governments applied. Austin is just one of eight selected to participate, joining Chicago, New Orleans, Detroit, Honolulu, Philadelphia, Santa Cruz, Calif. and Macon, Georgia.
“A big part of pursuing the goal of being the best-managed city in the country is tapping in to the collective skills, talents and experiences we share nationwide. Code for America gives us an opportunity to do just that, and to share our successes with local governments across the country,” said City Manager Marc Ott.
"Austin has been a hotbed of innovation," said Jennifer Pahlka, Founder and Executive Director of Code for America. "The Code for America fellows will harness that energy and work with the community to make the government more open and engaging."
As part of the program, Code for America will conduct brainstorming sessions with Austin and other selected cities, where web industry innovators and thought leaders are invited to meet with key stakeholders inside city governments to further develop and solidify the conceptual projects they’ve proposed. Once the partnership and problem is clearly defined, three tech-savvy individuals (fellows) recruited by Code for America will begin to develop a light-weight creative solution that solves Austin’s challenge and other cities that can utilize the project.
The 2012 Code for America Austin fellows will begin their fellowship in January 2012 and will spend the month of February in Austin, interviewing civic leaders. Throughout the year, they will be based in San Francisco with the other 20-25 Code for America fellows, working together and collaborating, with frequent visits back to the city for research, testing and deployment.
About Code for America
Code for America (CfA) connects the talent of the tech industry with local governments to make cities more open, responsive, and efficient. Inspired in part by Teach for America, CfA recruits civic-minded, tech-savvy individuals to work with industry and governmental leaders to develop innovative applications that can be used in cities across the country.