Code for America chief of staff Abhi Nemani talks about New Orlean's Code for America project BlightStatus at Big Kansas City in March.
Code for America fellows have started working with Kansas City officials in Kansas and Missouri as part of a regional approach—the first joint application to be approved for the program—to create lasting relationships between the cities and entrepreneurs. They also aim to produce web-based entrepreneurial tools for the government to use.
With no word yet on what those might be (see update below), we thought we would check out what other recent Code for America partnerships have produced. From fire preparedness to efficiently launching a business, the nonprofit organization dedicated to helping city governments use the web to increase efficiency, transparency and citizen participation has produced a unique list of apps. Code for America chief of staff Abhi Nemani discussed a few of them, including BlightStatus, at Big Kansas City in March. He said the company works off its founding challenge of "How can you bring cities and technologies together to bring worth to a city?"
Here are a few past examples:
"A tool to help make staying prepared for wildfire easier." The app provides a real-time wildfire risk for a specific address, suggests simple tasks for Austinites to complete in order to mitigate their risk and includes texting integration for alerts and reminders from the fire department.
Santa Cruz, Ca. - OpenCounter
"OpenCounter reduces the confusion of starting a business by creating an online experience that helps small-business owners discover city forms, fees and time needed to set up shop—and apply for them online in a single web session." Mayor Hilary Brant said the app "gets shops and stores open sooner, allowing entrepreneurs to focus on what they're best at: innovating and investing in Santa Cruz."
"An online tool that aims to answer the question, 'What's going on with that abandoned house down the street?'" The app merges data from multiple city departments into a simple interface that paints a clear picture about individual properties and what is being done to deal with them. BlightStatus is the first Code for America project to pull information directly out of a city's live, internal data system and provide it real-time to the public.
To follow along with the progress of the Kansas Cities' Code for America parternship and eventual app development, stay tuned to cfakc.tumblr.com.
Update 11:15 a.m. – Code for America announced the app they are working on, How to City, in an email newsletter sent this morning. It is a "learning platform with challenges that are web-based and civic-focused where anyone can create a challenge," according to the email. The fellows will be in town for a week starting Saturday for several events, to test a protoype of the app and do follow-up research.
Learn more about the fellows and their recent work in the Kansas Cities in our post, "Code for America's first month in KC all about 'listening, learning.' "
Credits: Photo by Kenny Johnson Photography