Making Tough Project Decisions in Pittsburgh

After a month of building prototypes and soliciting feedback from our city partners in Pittsburgh, we’ve started to narrow the scope of what we want to build to help change the outdated ways the city buys everything from software to paperclips. Explicitly choosing not just what to work on, but what to stop actively developing is a difficult part of the user-centered design process. It’s also one of the reasons Code for America encourages fellowship teams to start building early, to get testable prototypes in front of users as soon as possible so that the hard work of scoping can happen sooner rather than later.

Observations From the First Month

We're officially into the final week of our residency month in Pittsburgh! Over the past 3+ weeks we've had the pleasure of meeting a ton of people who deal with purchasing in city government, as well as members of the business community, and have learned a lot about what works well, as well as how the process could be improved. In these conversations, a few common themes have come up that we wanted to pass along.

Announcing New Spatial Web Services

As has been noted on this blog before, making data available in formats that are easily consumable is an important piece of the larger open data project. Serving up data that can be incorporated into projects quickly and easily not only helps citizenry better understand our world, but provides a connection to government at all levels.

From Open Data to Big Data

At all levels, governments around the world are opening their data in order to better engage their citizenry and foster the development of new solutions to long-standing problems. If governments are serious about this mission, and if they want to harness the true power of open data, they must release with intent.

The Rise and Fall of NAYA Park: The Politics of Vacant Lots and Urban Nature in Portland, Oregon

This research investigates the role of a contested plot of green space located on private land within a formerly blighted neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. Employing a combination of semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and archival research, this work investigates the physical and symbolic constructions of the park, arguing that they have changed in line with larger neighborhood processes.