On Friday, November 18, 2011, the inaugural class of Code for America fellows were released back into the world. This applies to the Code for America fellow who has spearheaded the CityGroups project: me, Chacha.
It’s a funny thing to end a project just as it is getting started. But have no fear, there’s a plan.
The West Seattle Block Watch Captain’s Network is going to moderate all of the new Block Watch Group submissions. So far there are 27 that have been listed for West Seattle. This is super exciting. Block Watch Directory.
Chach plans to continue to be involved with this project as a leader, driver, founder. She has an exciting new job as a community liaison for an open source project. This is a part time job, so if funds can be raised to continue development on CityGroups, then more will happen with it in a more timely manner.
What will hopefully and probably happen is this
Between November and January 2012, we will create a space for all of the various people who have expressed interest in the project. This will probably include a forum, a mailing list, a calendar, information about who is doing what, and some sort of steering committee. We’ll identify people in cities that want CityGroups to be city liaisons. We’ll define volunteer roles. We’ll have more code sprints. We’ll work on bugs. We’ll find money for the hosting for 2013.
There will probably be some training videos made.
We’ll work on the administrator and moderator experience.
We’ll reach out to more neighborhoods and get more groups listed.
Chach actually lives in California, so eventually she’ll start getting community groups for her own hometown.
We’ll probably define a civic schema for community resources, and help get some more community groups into the Google Places API.
We’ll probably integrate with something like Fusion Tables to do some rapid code cleanup.
We’ll set up our social media properly.
We’ll probably do a Kickstarter campaign.
We’ll fix some of the funny looking design elements on the site and improve the layout.
We’ll make comment guidelines.
We’ll work on the instructions for setting up the codebase.
We’ll make a development sandbox so people can test out the tool.
We’ll refine the data fields.
We’ll work with public libraries to provide positive experiences for people new to the neighborhood, especially renters.
Working on improving the multilingual features.
Develop a collaboration model for city governments to support and advise the project.
Continue to improve the community group categories.
Improve the map experience.
Set up Facebook page.
Experiment with connecting community group data to maps like Open 311 and Crime Maps.
There’s lots of stuff to do.
This is an open source project — like all open source projects, if you want to see it get better faster — you can always kick in some resources.
Resource that would be helpful include…
Documentation, grant writing, testing the installation, Kickstarter campaigning, video making, content editing, community management, Drupalling, community outreach, funding, training moderators, sponsorships, coding, design, and giving feedback.
I expect that the project will grow slowly during the first half of 2012, and then hopefully we’ll find some funding to continue to grow the project into a tool that serves our communities well.
I think we would be in a good place if, by this time next year, CityGroups has a process to serve a few cities, and can continue to grow to meet the needs of people in cities.