New York City looks to an open government hackathon to redesign NYC.gov

This week, Luke Fretwell suggested that “instead of building apps, civic hackathons should focus on redesigning websites, then turning them over to gov.” Today in New York City, the first day of the Revinvent NYC.gov hackathon started work on just that. (NYC had been working on this open government event long before Fretwell’s suggestion, but the confluence is worth noting.)

Tomorrow, the world will see what prototypes the Big Apple’s civic developers have co-created today, armed with NYC government demographic information and NYC.gov Web analytics.

They’re using a combination of digital and analog tools, including blackboards, projection screens, laptops and Post-Its. You can track the progress of the hackathon over at the NYC Digital Tumblr.

The formula here seems to be: Reserve space, provide coffee, bagels, electricity and Internet access and use the power of modern social networking, publishing tools and the New York City Mayor’s to convene the community.

If New Yorkers end up with a rethought, redesigned and relaunched NYC.gov, maybe other cities will try out that formula themselves.

For more on New York’s effort to become the nation’s premier digital city, learn more about how the Big Apple is thinking about architecting a city as a platform and citizensourcing smaller government.

[Photo credit: Colin Raney]

About Alex Howard

Alexander B. Howard is a DC-based a technology writer and editor. Previously, he was the Washington Correspondent at O'Reilly Media, where he covered the voices, technologies and issues that matter in the intersection of government, technology and society. If you're feeling social, you can follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook or circle him on Google Plus In addition to corresponding for the O’Reilly Radar, he has contributed to the Huffington Post, Govfresh, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, National Journal, The Atlantic, CBS News and Forbes. He graduated from Colby College with a bachelor's degree in biology and sociology. Currently, he is a resident of the District of Columbia, where he lives with his greyhound, wife, power tools, plants and growing collection of cast iron pans, many of which are frequently used to pursue his passion for good cooking.