Civic Tech

Feds Follow the Crowd

Projects like the affordable, green Via Verde Condos in the Bronx are transforming communities. HUD hopes to captures these sorts of innovations in its portal. Credit: Rob Mintzes on Flickr

Here at Next American City, we’ve devoted quite a bit of coverage to civic tech that uses crowd-sourcing for everything from funding local projects to drafting a citywide comprehensive plan to repurposing an abandoned house as a giant ball pit. Lately, David Lepeska reported on how cities like Chicago have turned to Twitter in search of suggestions for improving services.

Even the feds have gotten on board. Back in August, the Department of Housing and Urban Development launched Innovation of the Day, an online portal that highlights emerging practices in affordable housing, community development and urban planning from around the world. Its purpose is to seek new ideas that can be leveraged not only within HUD, but among other agencies, local governments, philanthropic groups, non-profits and the public.

By crowd-sourcing different innovations, the program seeks to allow HUD to analyze emerging trends, issues and solutions in these emerging practices. Key features include an online submission form and innovations database, which are available for use by anyone. Both the HUD homepage and the program’s webpage feature select innovations weekly. After the portal accrues a sufficient number of emerging practices, HUD will identify trends and represent these graphically on the site with a dashboard tool.

It’s another development in a trend that has put civic tech — and the public — at the helm of local projects.

Tags: washington, d.c., civic tech, tech, affordable housing, hud, urban planning, twitter, non-profits, innovation