We all know about the Peace Corps, an independent government agency that sends volunteers all around the world to help countries that have requested assistance. But what do we do for local governments here in the States? We may have clean running water and plenty of electricity, but we still have a lot of issues that need help, and are often beyond the budget of city hall.
May I introduce you to a different kind of Peace Corps, called Code for America, made up of young tech whiz types, whose mission is to help come up with creative solutions for cities. You’d think, from the name, that they are all about computer code. But their genius isn’t just about software. Their genius is the way they think about things. Like in Boston – the city had an issue with their fire hydrants getting covered whenever it snowed, and thus creating a dangerous lag time in the event of a fire. How do you solve that with a computer? You put up a website that encourages individuals in the city to adopt a fire hydrant and make sure it is always ready for use. People have an incentive, because they want their neighborhoods to be safe, plus they get bragging and naming rights.
You can read more about Code for America, and other similar ventures, in this Christian Science Monitor piece.
Great Idea: Bringing volunteer spirit and ingenious problem solving energy to help our cities.
Practical Step: Inspiring creative thinkers to contribute to their communities in ways and through avenues that might have been out of reach.