East Bay Express talks Oakland’s Civic Hackers

Great article about a very layered situation.

Civic hacking holds promise for resource-strapped cities like Oakland, yet triggers hot buttons around technology democracy and access in a diverse community. How can a city that is struggling to manage day-to-day operations negotiate with a volunteer group of technology specialists, some of whom may have issues with government and authority?

One way is by hiring someone with roots in both the Maker/techie scene and the Oakland DIY arts community. Did you know Oakland has an Online Engagement Director? We didn’t, and we are fascinated to learn about Nicole Neditch’s appointment to the position. Neditch is a programmer, was one of the co-owners of the much-loved and now lost Oakland institution Mama Buzz Cafe, co-founded The Bay Area Visual Arts Network, and helped launch Art Murmur. You can read more about her work here. Given Oakland’s uneasy history with the Anonymous/Occupy sector of the hacking community, the creation of these positive working relationships is also a testament to the good will the “Oakland Renaissance” has generated!

And there’s perhaps no better place for such a movement to take root than in Oakland, where a combination of factors — a tech-savvy workforce; an activist-oriented, DIY-minded populace; and a cash-strapped government with few resources — make for a ripe environment in which to create meaningful breakthroughs in civic hacking.


Full disclosure- Suzanne lives with a hacker active in Sudo Room, the hacker space discussed in the article.

This post originally appeared on the T324 Blog.

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