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National Conference on Citizenship Announces Winners of First-Ever Civic Data Challenge

Awardees Make Civic Health Data More Accessible to Decision Makers and Public

September 14, 2012
Philadelphia, PA – The winners of the first-ever Civic Data Challenge were announced today at the 67th Annual National Conference on Citizenship in Philadelphia.

The Civic Data Challenge was launched by the
National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) in April 2012 to bring new eyes, minds, findings, and skill sets to “civic health” data – information that shows how citizens are participating in their neighborhoods, communities and democracy. The Challenge asked applicants to turn the raw data of civic health into beautiful, useful applications and visualizations, enabling communities to be better understood and made to thrive.

“NCoC has long used civic health data to understand civic life in communities across the country. This year, we launched the Challenge to find new ways to make this trove of community insight even more accessible,” said NCoC Executive Director David B. Smith. “We hope the challenge will serve as a launching pad to inspire others to create similarly engaging tools and applications.”

First place winners of the Civic Data Challenge include:

Undergraduates from UC Berkeley built a website where users can view the impact of the Presidential candidates’ proposed economic policies on their pocketbooks. The team included Nikita Bier, Jeremy Blalock, Dat Duong, and Brad Voracek. ( https://politify.com/election )
A team from the digital agency Razorfish Healthware in Philadelphia created an engaging video demonstrating the value of the arts to community well-being, including health, education, and satisfaction. The team included Erin Abler, Rich Eden, Ranna Jaraha, David Karalis, Benjamin Katz, Phillip Katz, Matthew Davis, Matthew Livingstone, Debra Murphy, Matthew Sutter, Tim Kin, and Abigail Zug. ( http://vimeo.com/46536254/ )
Nicholas Doiron, a coder from San Francisco created a website that provides an interactive view of Oakland, CA local business districts, pairing economic data with user photos to attract more business and economic development. ( http://openblockoakland.info )
Will DeKrey and Sean McDonald, a nonprofit consultant from Washington, DC and data visualization specialist from Los Angeles, respectively, created WhyGDP?. The presentation provides a detailed look at whether or not GDP is a sufficient measure and predictor of community well-being and outcomes in a number of areas. ( http://www.goodification.org/WhyGDP )

Judges for the challenge included Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist and Craigslist Connects; Vivek Kundra, EVP for salesforce.com and former CIO of the United States; Darrell Hammond, CEO and founder of KaBOOM!; and, Sonal Shah, former director of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.

The judges reviewed submissions from over 60 participants across the country. They evaluated the entries based on the quality of the analysis and design, the compelling nature of the findings in the data, and the utility of the product.

Additional information about the winning entries, including second place awardees and honorable mentions, is available here:
http://www.civicdatachallenge.org .

In addition to announcing the Civic Data Challenge winners, today’s conference explored a new NCoC report , which concludes that a strong civic foundation is directly linked to strengthening employment at the metropolitan, county, and state levels. According to the report, communities with better civic health have weathered the recent recession far better – and experienced considerably smaller increases in unemployment – than other communities that faced similar economic circumstances. More information about the research is available here .

The Civic Data Challenge is presented in partnership with the
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and is sponsored by the Salesforce.com Foundation and supported by partners such as Code for America, GOOD, the Case Foundation and Kaggle.

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About National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC)
At the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC), we believe every American has the power to make a difference. We are a dynamic, non-partisan nonprofit working at the forefront of our nation’s civic life. We continuously explore what shapes today’s citizenry, define the evolving role of the individual in our democracy and uncover ways to motivate greater participation. Through our events, research, and reports, NCoC expands our nation’s contemporary understanding of what it means to be a citizen. More information is available at www.NCoC.net .

Contact:
Ranit Schmelzer, 202.538.1065
Jeannette O’Connor, 202.302.3268
Press@NCoC.net
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