We’re thrilled to be based out of the SoMA area of San Francisco, a hotbed for tech startups (where keeping tabs on new companies is as easy as searching for a new wireless network). Almost everyday, it seems, there’s a new company with a new product and a new possibility for impact. And this is just in one part of the city.
This summer, we’re going to be working with our friends at Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA) to take advantage of that energy and talent with a new initiative to develop innovative solutions to pressing urban issues for San Francisco. The program, called Summer of Smart, will directly engage SF’s innovation, urbanism, and social change communities through a series of events throughout the summer, kicking off this Thursday, June 16th, with SFOpen11, a debate on technology and open government between nine mayoral candidates presented with GovFresh and Change.org. This will be followed by the second annual CityCampSF unconference just two days later on June 18.
And that’s just the start. Summer of Smart consists of three components:
- A series of Urban Challenge Weekends – 48-hour hack-a-thons where application prototypes are developed in key urban focus areas; accompanied by keynote speakers and cocktail discussion mixers
- A series of public events – debates, forums, presentations, and (un)conferences – around the issues of open data, open government, technology, and innovation
- An online portal of all the applications and media coverage associated with the Summer, hosted and curated by GAFFTA and The Bay Citizen.
So there’s a lot going on, and we’re excited to be a part of it. We’re hoping to contribute to the ideas, technology, and connections made at events, and try to spread them nationally to maximize their impact.
But first things first: a cocktail party. While the debate this week has limited seating — there will be livestreaming though! — as soon as it ends, we’ll open up the space at the Automattic / WordPress offices for cocktails, mixing, and discussion of the debate and all the exciting issues involved. We hope you’ll join us: http://cocktails-candidates-code.eventbrite.com/
Find out more information about Summer of Smart — details on each event, prizes, etc — at summerofsmart.org.