Code for America’s 2012 City Application Now Open.

Is your city facing a fiscal crisis? I imagine so. We are at a critical point where most local governments are not able to provide the same services they could just five years ago. And it’s not just a fiscal crisis; it’s also an identity crisis, as city residents change how they communicate, how they work, and how they engage with businesses and institutions. City Hall is challenged to keep up. So what can change, what can our cities do to make a difference for their citizens, and what can we do to strengthen our public institutions?

For us, these aren’t rhetorical questions; it’s the challenge we will take on with our local government partners each year. And we believe we can leverage the power of the social and mobile web to create new kinds of solutions through public service, one city at a time. This is why we’re pleased to announce that the application process for our 2012 City Program is now open: http://codeforamerica.org/cities

We are looking for applicants representing cities who share our belief in the need for new kinds of solutions. These public sector leaders will need to identify a problem area they want to work on together to promote efficiency and openness in government. This isn’t a typical software development contract; it’s a fellowship program where we connect web talent with city officials and see what they can do together.

As we’ve met with cities across the country, we’re hearing common themes: an increasing need to promote collective action, improve transparency and invest in economic growth. We’ve put together some model projects for our 2012 City Applications; projects like a new business gateway to promote local economy, an assess tracking solution to efficiently utilize government resources, and a citizen empowerment tool to engage residents in solving local problems. We encourage cities to use those ideas as springboards for their applications so we can create sweeping value together.

If you are a city representative, take this opportunity to make a difference in your city: apply to participate in Code for America’s 2012 City Program. If you’re a civic-minded citizen eager to bring CfA to your city, make some noise and contact your city representatives.

For more information on the program and to get started go to codeforamerica.org/cities. Let’s work together to make our cities work better for all of us.

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