Help Launch CityGroups in Boston

On September 6 at MIT we are organizing an Open “Hack Day” to launch a Code for America project, CityGroups, for the city of Boston.
CityGroups is a public directory of community groups. CityGroups makes it easier to find those little, super-local community organizations that work to make our cities better.


  • A public directory of community groups.
  • Groups listed with email or url, geographic information (a shape) & tags
  • API & Imports CSV. Working on round trip syncing and outputting data to other databases.
  • Data collection projects. For example, for Seattle we are reaching out to Block Watch Captains, to map all of the Block Watch Captains in a neighborhood. For Boston, it would be possible to reach out to all of the biking organizations, or various other community groups.

The Open Hack Day

We invite community organizers, Drupalistas, open government advocates and interested citizens to this Open Hack Day.
The goal of the day (and of the whole week of Sept 4-9) is to launch this application as a community, and to continue the development of the software, in a social way. The ideas is that community members can become better technologists by being involved in a tool that is actually helpful to their everyday work in making Boston a great place to live, work & learn. Calagator is an example of a project that was very social. Let’s to do that!

When & Where

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 at MIT (Cambridge, MA)
11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
ROOM: E51-151 map
Tang Center 70 Memorial Drive (near Wadsworth)


Please come when you can.

If you plan to stop by, you can sign up on the EventBrite page.(http://citygroupsBOS.eventbrite.com)

11:00 a.m. Meetup at MIT.

11:15 – 11:45 Formal presentation on CityGroups & the goals of the Open Hack Day.

12:00 – 1:00 Grab lunch & talk

1:00 – 1:30 Make a work plan

1:30 – 5:45 Work on project to launch CityGroups

5:45 Meet up to discuss what we did.

6:00 – 7:00 Dinner

7:00 p.m. Drupal Meet-up (same space)

After the Meetup, around 9:00 p.m. – Informal discussions about sustaining open source projects as a community.

Who should come?

We invite you to join us to kick off this community directory. We need lots of help.

  • Drupallers interested in creating Drupal products, as a community.
  • Community organizers who have a need for reaching out to small community organizations.
  • If you are technical, but not a Drupal person, we need people to come help test and document the API.
  • Like marketing and outreach? We need to make some flyers and email templates for getting more community members involved

If you can’t make this time because you are working…

We are sprinting on CityGroups All Week (Sept 4-9, 2011)

Public Calendar for the Week Follow the calendar to see where we are, or drop Chach a line chacha (at) codeforamerica (dot) org.

Goals of the Sprint Week: September 4 – 9, 2011

1. Get CityGroups up and running for Boston.
2. Get some community groups into the system. (We have at least one database to start with, but can use some more!)
3. Identify a few initial data collection projects & write invitations. (Ex. reaching out to education related groups, bicycling organizations, or other groups that work to make Boston better.)
4. Draft a strategy for making CityGroups useful to Boston.
5. Discuss opportunities to keep the project running in Boston.


Code for America fellow Chach Sikes is working with Boston-based community organizer/technologist/Drupallers Benjamin Melançon, Ben Mauer, and Ben Sheldon (Ben Sheldon will be a Code for America fellow in 2012.)
If you have any questions: please email Chach – chacha at codeforamerica dot org. Twitter: @chachasikes.

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