Tyler Kleykamp, Connecticut’s chief data officer, summed up Saturday’s event best: “The opportunity to sit around a table and discuss how data and technology can improve a community was incredibly valuable.”
He was talking about an event I co-organized over the weekend in Hartford, during which 12 people brainstormed solutions to improve public transit in the Hartford area. It was one of the many nationwide events held for the National Day of Civic Hacking. There was also an event in New Haven.
At the Hartford event, rather than attempting to build an app or work with open data, the group worked on how to help residents find amenities like restaurants, parks and events close to bus stops and other transit access points in the Hartford area.
Although there were only a few developers and data wonks among the participants, the final result was a cohesive vision for a transit app and a commitment to recruit additional participants. Kleykamp said he was “really impressed with the diversity of the group. There were fewer technologists and coders than I expected, but significantly more people who were simply interested in improving their community.”
Co-organizer Christian Lemp facilitated the group and is working with attendees to set a date for a July meeting, during which the group will begin working with data sets available at data.ct.gov and data.hartford.gov, as well as framing out the app that will be under development throughout the summer.
The event was co-sponsored by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and was held at the new reSET incubator space in Parkville.
Chris was a co-organizer of this event. Anyone interested in assisting with this project should reach out to him on Twitter .