The City Council was introduced to the Code for America Fellows as part of a joint project between the city of Las Vegas and the Downtown Project at today’s City Council meeting.
Code for America is a non-profit organization working to bring together a network of civic leaders and organizations to build and support web-based infrastructure to help local governments become more transparent and connected to the people they serve.
“This is an exciting step for the city to be a part of this prestigious program to bring fresh new ideas and perspectives to how we communicate with our residents and visitors,” City Manager Elizabeth N. Fretwell said. “We want to put relevant and useful information in the hands of the public to create opportunities for citizens to be active in the community.”
The city applied for, and was awarded, this year’s fellowship along with other cities including New York, Kansas City and San Francisco. Funding for the project is split between the city and the Downtown Project, a local company funded by corporate leader Tony Hsieh.
The Code for America fellows include Lou Huang, Lindsay Ballant and Ryan Closner. All three will be working in Las Vegas for about a month assessing community needs and potential web-based applications. They will then continue to work on the Las Vegas project through the end of the year.
"It's exciting to be working with a city that's so dedicated to finding new and innovative ways to connect with residents," said Huang, a 2013 Code for America fellow. "Together with the city and the Downtown Project we hope to create new tools and improve downtown for all of Las Vegas residents."
The Code for America effort is launching on the heels of the city providing a new app for iPhone users who want to report a neighborhood problem or need assistance locating parking downtown.
The Code for America team will work to add more ways for citizens to connect with the city. The new app, City of Las Vegas Mobile, is available for free at the App Store (sm).
Zach Ware, of the Downtown Project, and city Information Technologies Director Joseph Marcella were also on hand for today’s meeting to talk about the public-private partnership.
“We think this is an amazing opportunity for our city to leverage emerging technologies and new ideas to do awesome things at the municipal level that help build community,” said Ware.