A Roundup of Saturday's Hack for Change

Written by Kendra Gaines on .

The National Day of Civic Hacking in Hampton Roads took place June 1, 2013 at Hatch.

stanleyAfter hearing about the event the week prior, I chose to participate and lend my talents as a designer. I showed up a bit after 9AM and shortly thereafter, things got started. After opening with an inspirational presentation, introductions, and delicious coffee, more than 15 civic hackers were ready to get to work.

Graphic design students from Old Dominion University helped lead the discussion on the visual identity of the Norfolk Arts District. Armed with wonderful sketches and great ideas, the civic hackers combined to push the movement a little further. We looked at over 30 logos, and with the help of Hannah Serrano, we dwindled it down to a 3 strong logos by the end of the day.

Advancements in the web design took place as well, as ODU student Trisha Tobias showed off her mock ups and Josh Fischer from ArtSmith Media helped create interactive wireframes.

“I wasn’t too worried about progress”, said Stanley Zheng, organizer of the event. “Days like National Day of Civic Hacking are to start something and meeting the right people to continue.”

Civic hackers working on the Norfolk Arts District created a plan of attack that will ensue over the coming months that include finding and perfecting the logo, finishing the website and creating the print collateral that will be passed out in the community.

Aside from the super popular Arts District, there were several other challenges presented and worked on at NDCH. Several developers from the Code for Hampton Roads Brigade finished up an ongoing project for the Hampton Roads Transit System. They’ve created an app that allows you to see exactly where your bus is located via map.

Brigade members Brendan Barness and his wife added some content to the Local Wiki page for Hampton Roads. If you’ve ever had any questions about the area or are just looking for another great resource that’s for HRVA, by HRVA, then the Local Wiki is extremely helpful. And anyone can contribute (that means you)!

We also hosted a special guest from the US Census Bureau, Ally Burleson-Gibson. As the Data Dissemination Specialist for the entire state of Virginia, she let hackers know of the data that was available through the Bureau, and the desire to have it packaged up to made useful to the public.

We worked on so many different projects and some of us connected with really interesting people. As the day came to a close and the crowd thinned out, some of the remaining designers and developers stepped outside Hatch to take a break and chat. We stood there, in a circle of sorts, reviewing the work we’d done and the progress made on projects for our community. And as we laughed and joked, it was then I realized what making was all about. Men and women, students and professionals, from all different background came together on June 1st to lay the foundation of making where we live a better place.

 


Kendra Gaines is an ultra-creative, 24 year old residing in Norfolk, VA. Follow her on Twitter, @TheGainesColl.

 

All photos by David Sullivan, Director, Information Technology at City of Norfolk.
 
Top photo: Lookmai Rattana Niace and Stanley Zheng

 

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