In our March 1st post we shared highlights of our CodeAcross event, “Crafting Civic Tech: The Housing Edition”, which was held on February 21st. We were excited to join sixty other CodeAcross events, which were held in cities throughout the world. Highlights are shared in this Code for America post. In addition, the City of Boulder Channel 8 created this 90-second video snapshot of the day.

In today’s post, we’re sharing what’s happen since the event and what we expect the Brigade to work on in coming weeks. Given the Brigade is an all-volunteer program, our efforts are based on the availability, skills and willingness of those that choose to spend their precious time on civic tech projects. We welcome anyone that shares an interest in these efforts to join us! Contact or come to our next meetup.

Sharing Your Ideas and Solutions

For those that attended, you’ll remember that at the end of the day participants were encouraged to rate the ideas/solutions that were generated by the small groups. Each person was encouraged to place two dots next to the idea(s) that they believed were most important. Red dots indicated “hot” ideas and blue dots indicated what may be a “quick win”. The top three vote-earning ideas are shown below. All ideas/solutions are available here.

12 votes

Idea #1: Create two-way dialogue with citizens based on clicking an online map of current development projects to learn about it and leave comments. Received 12 votes total, 7 blue + 5 red.




9 votesIdea #2: Enable groups of senior citizens to live together legally a housemates. Received 9 votes total, 8 blue + 1 red.





9 votes (1)

Idea #3: Create “lo-fi” means of engaging people that do not require a personal computing device. Received 9 votes total, 5 blue + 4 red.


City Council Study Session

On February 24th, a description of the event was presented by David Driskell, City of Boulder’s Executive Director of Community Planning and Sustainability, at the City Council’s Study Session. Starting at 14:00 of the recorded video (below), David updates the Council on the City’s project with Code for America. At 16:30 he tells about the CodeAcross event. From 18:30-27:00, Becky Boone answered the Council’s questions and shared the three ideas that received the most participant’s votes.

Housing Process Subcommittee

On February 26th, Becky and Code for Boulder Captain, Christian Ellis, shared our ideas and solutions to the recently-formed Housing Process Subcommittee. The subcommittee asked to stay informed about how the Brigade progresses any of the ideas created by the event. Meetings notes can be found here. Members include:

Next Steps for Idea #1

Code For Boulder - Code Across 2015

The group that generated Idea #1 is talking to Liz Hanson from the City of Boulder. Code for Boulder is considering options to further Idea #1, which was the top vote-earning idea of the day.

The Code for Boulder Brigade met on Tuesday March 3rd. A small team gathered to talk about how Brigade members might further Idea #1. The team included me and Becky; Darcy, our Code for Boulder Delivery Lead; Matt, who was a participant in the Idea #1 group; and one newcomer, Brennan, with skills in mobile app development.

The team reviewed these three technology-based offerings to determine what needs they might fill with regard to Idea #1.


  • Why? Residents and businesses want information about planned development projects by specific location.
  • How? Click dot on map, get static document(s) on project in that location.
  • What? Website, source code and data from City of Boulder.


  • Why? Get updates on the topics and areas residents care about.
  • How? Citygram is a web application that can be hooked up to your city’s open data platform. To create the notifications, the application regularly checks for new data and transforms it into human speak according to a template you define.
  • What? Citygram is a notifications platform for subscribing to your city, whether it’s foreclosures in your area or building permits along your commute. Sign up to find out about the things that matter to you where they matter to you. Source code is open and extensible.
  • Want more info? Watch the CfA CityGram webinar


  • Why? CityVoice was created to make giving community feedback quick, easy and accessible, as well as, turn that feedback into actionable information. This means using technologies that all residents are comfortable with – telephones – and distilling and directing feedback to appropriate decision makers.
  • How? The app initially solicits residents through traditional media such as signs and flyers, ensuring local residents are targeted. Residents then call in and are prompted to respond to structured polls as well as leave voice feedback explaining their opinions. All of this feedback is then collected and presented on a public website.
  • What? A place based call-in system for gathering, sharing, and understanding community feedback. Municipalities can use the data and information collected to got broad overviews of community sentiment on issues as well as drill down to the details of a specific location. Source code is open and extensible.
  • Want more info? Watch recorded video from from 2013 on CfA Summit and visit CityVoice page on CfA website.

The project team set the following ACTION ITEMS in preparation for our next Brigade meetup on March 17th:

  1. Follow up on request that was entered on CityGram website to add Boulder.
  2. Follow up with City of Boulder open data representative about data availability from the Public Notice Map website.
  3. Review functionality, source code and support for mobile devices to determine if existing options can be used as a starting point to add new functionality to further Idea #1.

We look forward to sharing continued progress on potential CodeAcross projects and other work of the Brigade. If you have a desire to work on any of the other ideas generated at CodeAcross, we welcome you to join us or to strike out in other directions.

Written by Geri Mitchell-Brown

Geri Mitchell-Brown is Code for Boulder's Captain and Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for CA Technologies' Agile Business Unit (formerly Rally Software). Contact Geri at and follow her on Twitter at @GeriMB.