Earlier this year we partnered with the Blue Ridge Foundation of New York to bring the “Code for America effect” to America’s most populous city. I have to admit, it was a tall challenge for us. The City of New York is “firing on all cylinders” in terms of our own measures of effectiveness. They made structural changes in government that lead to more effective use of web technology. They published open, civic data that is easy for both people and software applications to discover and access. They built and improved apps that make open, civic data useful for delivering services and creating opportunity via the web. Through all of these activities New York clearly demonstrates that the web is an enabler for communities and citizens collaborating to resolve civic issues.
At the same time, we asked around at places like Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, Office of the Chief Digital Officer, Personal Democracy Forum, New Amsterdam Ideas, NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, Open Plans, and many others. We know that so much more is needed and possible. New Yorkers can and will build the digital city they want and a civic web that can work for anyone.
So we faced a tough question: what will Code for America do to make an effective difference in New York? Then we looked deeper: what can New York do for everyone else who is coding for America in cities across the country?
The answers to these questions aren’t the kind that are easy to articulate in a blog post. These answers will come in the form of a strategic plan, guided by a steering committee of peers, like those mentioned above. We’ll show you what we are doing in New York and results will be our answers. We’ve seen that our fellows and Brigades have a special capacity for establishing connections, for closing circuits, if you will. Closed circuits deliver power wherever the connections come together. In short, we are setting up Code for America’s first ever first field office in New York City and we need someone to lead it.
A great deal of what we do for New York will be embodied by the person who direct Code for America in New York. We are looking for you. This is our first field office and we are eager to set it up. It’s taken us some time to understand precisely the type of person we need to direct Code for America in New York. Now we think we know. Is it you?