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Civic Hacking: Fighting Blight with Code

  • Hacker Fellows HQ 4219 Woodward Avenue (#300) Detroit, MI, 48201 United States (map)

Hackers are expert programmers, masters of systems and networks, manipulating technology sets into submission. This rare breed lives by the motto of build now test later. The ability to not only think creatively but act creatively has enlisted these autonomous problem solvers or hackers to better government systems and integrate new tools into civic engagement.

Civic hacking forces government into working effectively and creatively with technology. With short-term action, long-term change, civic hackers are beginning to unite our nation under technology with liberty and justice for all.

Hacker Fellows invites you to participate in a civic hacking case study led by LOVELAND Technologies.

What to expect:

We’ll definitely learn what civic hacking is and why the concept is relevant, see how civic hacking works through LOVELAND and learn how to get involved in-order to become a civic hacker. If you are brainstorming or executing a project, bring ideas along to share; there will be much discussion throughout the session.

Here’s a few bytes on LOVELAND Technologies:
LOVELAND is based in Detroit, Michigan and the San Francisco Bay Area with a growing team dedicated to putting America online parcel by parcel. They work with governments, developers, neighborhood groups, and passionate individuals to gather and present information about property in clear, actionable ways.

In Detroit their community missions include arming people with information to battle a plague of tax foreclosures and running an ongoing survey of property conditions to help fight blight.

Here’s a bit more insight into our session leaders:

Alex Alsup, CPO
Alex set his sights on Detroit while living in Hanoi, Vietnam, working on the iPhone game Meteor Blitz. Before his 2011 arrival in Detroit, he also had stints in New Orleans, Brooklyn, and Philadelphia, where he developed story and gameplay design features for the retro 8-bit style iPhone game, Hipster City Cycle. He is most proud of his 4loko power-ups that  ramped acceleration, but inverted your steering.

Since becoming LOVELAND’s first hire in 2012, he has worked on design and overseen the use of mapping and data collection tools. Alex describes his role as one of Process Engineering -- designing the interfaces and tools that take you from identification of a problem to development of a solution. He also handles business development for LOVELAND's suite of tools.

Alex is the proprietor of GooBing Detroit, an often-referenced visual resource on how the ongoing foreclosure crisis has affected Detroit’s housing stock. He holds a BFA in English from Skidmore College.

Mike Evans, Senior Developer
Mike is a web and mobile app developer, previous Code for America captain and founder of the Detroit brigade. Mostly interested in civic development challenges he also spends time helping tech literacy by teaching programing with Grand Circus Detroit and producing DIY shows at pishposh.tv.

Mike was a part of the team behind forrst.com, an online community for designers and developers to share projects and get detailed feedback. While there he also started the Forrst Podcast along with co-host Kenneth Love; the 155 episodes provided a daily resource for design and development news.

Right now Mike’s biggest interest is with physical computing, which entails seeing what projects and issues can be solved with 3d printers, arduino microcontrollers, and raspberry pi.

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