Blogging for America

Announcing: Winners of the Race for Reuse

Meet Eddie. He’s an 8-year-old contributor to ToledoWiki, a new hyper-local information platform that’s serving Toledo, Ohio. After asking the first question at the community event for ToledoWiki he set to work on his Dad’s iPad creating a wiki page for his elementary school.

Eddie is one among the 631 users that have registered for open source civic apps over the past month as part of the CfA Brigade’s Race for Reuse.

Today, we’re happy to announce that the teams behind ToledoWiki and Anchorage Adopt-a-Hydrant are the two Grand Prize Winners in the Race for Reuse. The prize for each will be a block party and a year of free hosting for the app. Engagement Award winners will get a year of free hosting to help sustain the effort.

Instead of a focus on building new technology, CfA challenged Brigades and civic hacker everywhere to deploy one of four open source, civic engagement apps, by Election Day. Then, teams were challenged get as many people using the apps as possible, by December 8. The results were astounding: 31 civic apps in 28 cities. The most popular app was Local Wiki, with projects  deployed in 10 cities, a total of 2,009 new content pages were created by 419 new contributors.

This is still a beginning. For us, the greatest success of the campaign is that — at this time — every Race for Reuse team has reported that they will sustain their civic app going forward. We will continue to document the best practices for engaging local communities with civic tech in the Civic App Marketing Guide which we created to share our lessons learned at Code for America.

OK , let’s meet the winners!

Grand Prize: Anchorage, Ala., Adopt-a-Hydrant
Growth: 142 adoptions
The day before the Race for Reuse submission deadline we noticed some new activity in the Adopt-a-Hydrant GitHub repository by Beck Boone. With encouragement from Anchorage Chief Information Officer, Lance Ahern, an Adopt-a-Hydrant  instance launched for the City. Anchorage’s success is a testament to the power of getting visibility in local media, particularly one story in the Anchorage Daily News.

In Becky Boone’s own words: “We were amazed by the interest people in the community showed towards this initiative.  Lance’s daughter surprised him when she said she went to shovel the snow around “Zorro’s Potty Spot.”  That’s how he found out about the hydrant she adopted on a nearby street.

Grand Prize: Toledo, Ohio – ToledoWiki
Growth: 87 contributors
When Brian Zelip, who also started CUWiki, decided to bring Local Wiki to his hometown of Toledo, Ohio he called Kelly McGilvery to see if they could mobilize their personal networks for the effort. An event hosted over the Thanksgiving holiday attracted old friends but also a groundswell of support from Toledo residents interested in the idea. The result is one of the fastest growing LocalWikis in the country.

Engagement Award: Baltimore, Md. –  B’MORE Pipeline
Growth: 78 new contributors
Andrew Coy is democratizing the Baltimore tech industry. In other words, the goal of this modified Local Wiki is to help students, teachers, parents, and guidance counselors understand and engage with the local tech ecosystem for the purpose of preparing a next generation of tech workers. “We wanted to connect our students to real opportunities in Baltimore’s local tech community.”

Engagement Award: Kansas City, Mo. - wikiKC
Growth: 75 new contributors
In collaboration with Rick Usher, the Assistant City Manager of Kansas City, Mo., Andy Kallenbach stepped up and volunteered to host the site. On November 4, 2012, Andy downloaded the Local Wiki software, launched the wikikc.org website, created Facebook and Twitter accounts and the project was underway. The Kansas City Library, under the guidance of Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner, embraced the project and plans to take over hosting and curation for the future. “In one month, we took the idea from nothing to a website with 1000 unique visitors and 75 users/contributors, a Facebook page with 125 likes. and a Twitter account with 150 followers.

Engagement Award: Raleigh, N.C. – Adopt-a-Shelter
Growth: 26 new adoptions

In September, Raleigh, N.C. launched an offline Adopt-a-Shelter program. As part of the Race for Reuse campaign, Jason Hibbets and the Code for Raleigh team, launched an online component to the program. Allowing citizens to adopt shelters online has given the City initiative increased visibility and made it more engaging through monthly notifications.

 

Questions? Comments? Hit us up @codeforamerica.

Code for America Labs, Inc is a non-partisan, non-political 501(c)(3) organization. Content is licensed through Creative Commons.