City to go on solution-finding spree

February 12, 2014 by  

Jim Gray, the mayor of Lexington, recently made an exciting announcement. For the next 10 months, the city will be working closely with three technology consultants from Code for America. Their job is to gather data that will be useful in solving particular problems faced by city residents.

Assigned to Lexington are Erik Schwartz (developer), Lyzi Diamond (mapmaker), and Livien Yin (an expert in visual design and web development). Their work is actually supported through a Fellowship grant through the “Peace Corps for geeks”, as Code for America is sometimes called. Over the next months, the consultants will regularly visit the city to meet with residents and officials and collect data on a variety of concerns. The information is shared with other Fellowship participants to develop approaches that solve old problems using new technology-based methods.

In his press conference, Mayor Gray said:

“To be competitive today, cities must be smarter than ever. The best way to do this is to embrace data-driven decision-making, encourage experimentation, engage citizens in problem-solving and tap into the creativity and talents of the community.”

Building interactive applications to make all types of services more accessible and consumer-friendly has become popular in recent years. For example, print companies routinely encourage regular customers to submit print jobs via desktop publishing software. In the public sector, residents of New Orleans can follow the status of abandoned properties in the city thanks to an app developed through a project with Code for America.

Lexington is one of eight locales in partnership with Code for America in 2014.