Cities are at the core of the CFA program. Each participating city identifies the need for a project, and is assigned a team of five fellows who will develop that application for the city over the course of the 11 month cycle. Beyond simply procuring a piece of software, the cities engage in a deep multi-directional exchange between the city government, the fellows, and the other host cities. After the projects are completed, all CfA projects are made freely available to any other city who can use them. Reuse and sharing of technology among cities is a core principle of CfA.
For our inaugural year, we’re excited to have chosen four cities whose applications reflect a deep understanding of the power the web as a platform can bring to cities. Each of these applicants demonstrated not only cutting-edge thinking and a willingness to invest in long-term change, but also a fantastic idea for a web app that will make their city (and any other city who wants to use it) more efficient, transparent and participatory.
The 2011 Host Cities
The cities chosen for the first Code for America cycle are:
We’ve put together a page for each city to present the project concept, the challenge for the fellows, and tough questions they’ll have to grapple with. Follow the links above to get more detail.
For a more general perspective, you can read the sample description below to get an understanding of the kinds of applications you will be working on.
Sample Project: FourSquare for Urban Trees
The Urban Forestry Department of a major US city is facing significant budget cuts. How do they continue to maintain the same number of trees on a smaller budget? Because the trees must be pruned and watered on particular schedules, it has up until now been too cumbersome to ask citizens to take on some of the care of the trees near where they live, and the incentives of citizens to do so has been unclear. But the city keeps detailed records of the maintenance schedules for each individual tree in their care, and it’s now relatively easy to publish that data in a format that citizens can access. Code for America imagines a combination web app/mobile application that lets citizens look up any given city tree and either report back data about the tree’s condition or take the prescribed next action (watering, pruning, etc) and report that back. Citizens could earn badges or points for their actions, become ‚Äúmayor‚Äù of certain trees, brag about their service on Facebook or any other social network, and even tie into a rewards system supported by the city. Every tree that is adopted, even partially, by a citizen, would represent a savings to the city’s urban forestry department.