Announcing the 2021 National Day of Civic Hacking (NDoCH)!

Dear Brigade leaders,

Save the date! We’re excited to announce the date and theme of this year’s National Day of Civic Hacking: Saturday, September 18, 2021. If you maintain an events calendar for your Brigade, we’d love it if you would include this!

Please see below for much more information about National Day of Civic Hacking (NDoCH) this year. Then, please fill out this NDoCH Brigade leader survey! Responses are appreciated by Friday, June 18.

The Theme & Selection Process

As they did in 2020, our Priority Action Areas (which are selected by Brigade members and the National Advisory Council) guided the theme selection for the 2021 National Day of Civic Hacking. The new Priority Action Area selected for 2021 is Policing. From there, the National Day of Civic Hacking committee (composed of Brigade Leaders and NAC members) chose the area of focus for this year’s event: Reimagining 911 Emergency Response.

Goals for National Day of Civic Hacking

  1. Our primary goal for this day of action is to come together, collectively as a Network, where together we’re more powerful than we are alone.

  2. National Day of Civic Hacking, started in 2013, is a day of action led by Code for America that brings together civic leaders, public servants, designers, coders, and data scientists to partner with our local community and tackle some of our toughest challenges.

  3. Provide easily actionable initiatives that allow participants to focus on effort and impact, without the burden of extensive planning and pre-coordination.

  4. As we continue to plan this year’s National Day of Civic Hacking, we intend to provide 2-3 activities that Brigades and volunteers can easily execute and make meaningful progress on without the burden of extensive planning and pre-coordination.

  5. Engage in value-added activities for our local communities, while strengthening our relationships and efforts with partners nationwide.

  6. Through easy entry-points to action and well-focused activities, our goal is to ensure individual communities and our Network as a whole is stronger after National Day of Civic Hacking.

This Year’s Event & Partnership

The NDoCH Committee is thrilled to announce that this year, we’ll be partnering with Transform911, a project at the University of Chicago Health Lab, to evaluate and improve how emergency services and dispatch work in this country. While our Policing PAA informed this selection, we know the 911 system is bigger than policing: as recent events have shown us over and over again, an armed police response is not a one-size-fits-all solution for people’s needs.

911 systems are a key point of contact people have with the government, so it’s crucial that governments offer and dispatch the appropriate response to meet the needs of anyone requesting help during a crisis. Considering our enthusiasm for transforming government services, and a strong partnership in place, we’ll have an important opportunity to understand and challenge the status quo of 911 emergency response.

Throughout the coming weeks, many teams will continue refining the specific actions that Brigades and other volunteers will undertake on National Day. In order to offer actions that represent the diverse strengths and interests of our Brigades, we are excited to test and validate potential options which include open data research and analysis, system mapping, qualitative research, and prototyping.

Understanding the respective capacities of Brigades and volunteers, these potential actions will allow for meaningful impact on National Day, while also setting the stage for unique local and national partnerships between Brigades, their communities, Code for America, and Transform911.

Our goal for National Day of Civic Hacking, and after, is to carry this work forward and become a key player in helping design a more human-centered 911 emergency response system.

What’s next?

Please fill out this Brigade leader survey! Responses are appreciated by Friday, June 18. This will give us a better idea of which Brigades are planning to participate, and how. Don’t worry if your plans aren’t final yet; we’re just trying to get some baseline information that will inform both the event planning process and help us identify local partner jurisdictions that could work with Brigades on specific issues related to the 911 response system. Remember, the NDoCH aims to make the event as easy as possible for Brigade leaders and members to join.

At the end of June, we’ll be releasing the first version of the NDoCH Toolkit, which will contain much more information about the specific actions we’ll be taking as a network on September 18!

In the meantime, if you’re interested in helping to plan the event, or helping to test and evaluate the actions we’ll be taking, join the National Day of Civic Hacking committee! You can reach out by email, or find us in the #ndoch-day-of-hacking channel on Slack. We’ll also be working with Brigade leaders over the next few months to support locally-organized events.

Can’t wait to see you on September 18!

Tyrek, on behalf of the National Day of Civic Hacking Committee (Diana V., Joel N., Micah M., Mohith R., Nick F, Tyrek S.)

Are there any open source 911/311 projects using Rust, Python, Go or Node that are equivalent to GitHub to allow us to assign rewards and bidding to real-time 911/311 requests? The ideal system would also pay certified community members to respond to issues posted in (leaking fire hydrant, cat stuck in tree, etc.). Both and were created years ago using Ruby and do not scale efficiently for mobile, machine learning and blockchain. Rust would be the fastest, Python for ease of development, Go for a good middle ground, and Node for javascript familiarity.

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