RFF on 21st century community boards

RFF stands for request for feedback. Last year, Will Colegrove and I outlined a program that would help modernize NYC’s community boards and help them enter the 21st century. This framework is a the core of the New York City Civic Innovation Fellows Program.

If you have a chance, check out this paper and provide us your feed back.

To wet your whistle, here is the abstract.

New York City’s fifty nine Community Boards are an important part of local oversight of municipal service delivery. However, because each one is run by two full time employees and volunteer representatives, they struggle to engage effectively with the demands of the digital landscape. This project offers a curriculum that is designed to enhance the basic digital literacy skills of Community Board Members. For a period of six months, twelve CUNY Service Corp Fellows, selected for competency in a variety of relevant skills, will be assigned and partnered with one of twelve participating Manhattan Community Boards. It is our objective to empower these boards to develop open data best practices appropriate for the local constituencies they serve. This program, a partnership between BetaNYC, the Manhattan Borough President, and Data & Society, is supported by the Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics’ goal of making “Open Data for All.”

announcing NYC’s inaugural civic tech & open data conference—NYC School of Data

The New York City School of Data is a collaborative conference improving the City’s data ecosystem. This year, we invite government, civic hackers, and community based organizations to learn from each other and share how we can improve our communities and our data.
This year, we explore two questions:
  •  How is civic technology and open data working for you?
  •  Can we improve to build smarter communities?
This year’s School of Data conference is a day-long showcase. Additionally, we will host workshops and collaborate on some of NYC’s most pressing issues—including a data jam with the NYCLU to address economic and social injustice.
Join us as we celebrate the fourth anniversary of New York City’s Open Data Law and make open data and civic technology work for all of us.
Register for NYC School of Data, Saturday – 5 March, via http://schoolofdata.nyc

An exclusive look into AirBnB’s NYC rental data.



If you’ve been following the discussion around AirBnB, many see it as a platform for illegal hotels. Absent from the conversation has been raw data around who is sharing their home, apartment, or who is acting as a broker for a number of units. Here is your opportunity to draw your own conclusion. 

Check out InsideAirBnB.com for exclusive access to NYC’s AirBnB rental activity. Don’t forget to download the data.

The Crunchies reinforce the certainty that they’ve already made a difference, which may explain the lackluster response to the civics segment of the show. Angel investor and philanthropist Ron Conway, the white-haired “godfather of Silicon Valley” reprimanded the crowd like a disappointed principal for shirking their duties as a citizen of San Francisco or the South Bay (for him, the East Bay doesn’t exist). After Conway scolds the audience, he touts the achievements of Sf.citi, a civic group for tech companies, that’s widely regarded to be a dud, despite his efforts. Last year, Conway took the podium with Mayor Ed Lee, a man-sized political puppet. This time, the local official was London Breed, the first female president of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors in 16 years.

Breed talked about growing up down the street in a public housing development in an apartment with five people that cost $700 per month. She appealed to the bootstrappers in the audience — the presenters for “Best Bootstrapped Startup” acknowledged that the days of self-sufficiency are over. “You have created new jobs and new revenues for the city,” she said, “Yet right or wrong your success has also created tension.” Breed acknowledged the protestors outside, and she almost had me until she added, “But to them I say, ‘What is your solution?’”

Silicon Valley prides itself on a solutionist worldview. Founders are told to think of a problem and then build a company that solves it. They invent problems no one has just to say it’s been fixed. She should have asked the auditorium.

More Bus Data, Better Bus Service: Kallos, Hackers Nudge MTA

More Bus Data, Better Bus Service: Kallos, Hackers Nudge MTA

What they did not want you to ever find out is that your generation, the generation born between 1980-1995, actually outnumbers the Baby Boomers. They knew that if you ever turned your eye towards political reform, you could change the world. They tried to keep you sated on vapid television shows and vapid music. They cut off your education and fed you brain candy. They took away your music and gave you Top Ten pop stations. They cut off your art and replaced it with endless reality shows for you to plug into, hoping you would sit quietly by as they ran the world. We as a society are only as strong as our weakest link. Give ‘em hell, kids. 

I’ve never loved a post so much in the history of tumblr