Dear Hampton Roads Web Professionals,
I’m writing you today with an appeal. Please help your cities and communities. Use your technology skills for good right here in Hampton Roads. Throughout our region, indeed everywhere, there is both need and opportunity to serve the places in which we live through our professional skills. As technology advances exponentially our local, public infrastructure falls drastically behind. This doesn’t just mean government workers with old hardware and software. It means that fundamental processes upholding our basic infrastructure erode. It is hard to get simple information. It is hard to interact. It is hard to participate. That is a threat to democracy, not of the ominous, terrorizing kind but of the silent, apathetic kind.
Things don’t have to be bad, though, and you can help just by doing what you do best: code, design, write, and promote web technology. Think of it like adopt-a-spot but for websites. Because your city government doesn’t have the capacity to build a killer app for everything, it publishes open data so anyone can build those apps. Consider the pro bono work associated with the legal and medical professions. As a technologist, you can make a difference, too. Because of the combined technology lag and scarcity of resources those who cannot help themselves often are not helped at all when it comes to the benefits of technology.
So consider spending a few hours a month working to improve the lives of residents by making it easier to get public transportation information on a mobile phone or simpler to get a question about city services answered online. We call it Code for America.
You can also have fun, improve the local economy and maybe start a business by coding for America and Hampton Roads. Use open data to gamify a walking tour of local history and art. Help publish building permit and inspection data in open formats that make the data easier to reuse. Imagine every rental property listing with a simple rating based on inspections.
These are just a few examples of what you can do by using your technology skills for good here in Hampton Roads. You can learn more on Friday, February 21st from 4-7PM at TCC Roper Theater, with a social to follow. On Saturday February 22nd from 9-5PM you can see and participate in civic technology challenges and activities from the 20th floor of Dominion Enterprises. Registration for event, Code for Hampton Roads, is free and open to the public. To register please visit: http://codeacrosshr.eventbrite.com.
Kevin Curry, Organizer,
Code for Hampton Roads