Hello civic tech friends!

As a native Brooklynite, I love all things New York City, and never cease to be amazed with its vibrant atmosphere. I am also privileged to be a product of our public school system, as well as CUNY undergraduate and graduate schools. 

These are unquestionably difficult times, and while it is never easy to live with uncertainty, we are as determined as ever to keep everyone informed with our events, interests, call of actions (and even some fun facts!). We hope to publish these newsletters on a monthly basis, and in the process, provide a sense of hope, and purpose. Please stay safe, and healthy. These are strange times, but we will persevere by staying informed and positive.

NYC civic tech is alive and kicking, perhaps more than ever before. We are noticing increased interest in civic society, from mobilizing voters to supporting communities in their responses to the pandemic, and in collaborations with new partners. Read on to learn about what we and our community have been up to, and what lies ahead.

Save the date! On Friday, October 23rd at 12PM, my colleague Onedeige James, and myself will host an Open Data Journey on tenant and housing issues. We hope to see you there!

Take care,

Gabrielle Langston
Civic Innovation Apprentice at BetaNYC

Recent News

Hats off to our Summer Civic Innovation Fellows!

The Civic Innovation Fellowship program invites CUNY Service Corps to join us for a school year to gain civic analyst skills and learn all about the infrastructures of NYC Government, Community Boards. Over the course of five weeks this past summer, our fellows engaged in a data-oriented bootcamp, and used their new skills to create interactive, personalized story maps. This year’s summer fellows came to us under challenging circumstances, and we are thankful to have been able to grow alongside them during these unfathomable times. 

To our summer fellows - Ameen Alhubaishi, Kasandra Carabello, Mir Afra Humaira, and Sabrina Rivera - thank you for all your hard work, and we look forward to seeing you in person one day!

Check out their ArcGIS story maps to learn about housing evictions, NYC tree planting, and the impact of remote learning.

🏘 The Discriminatory Evictions Process in NYC by Kasandra Caraballo
🌳 Tree Health Conditions in NYC by Mir Afra Humaira

Reuniting at our first virtual Civic Innovation Fellowship Alumni Event

This summer, we revamped our alumni group for Civic Innovation Fellows to foster new relationships and networking opportunities. We hosted a virtual alumni event, with Josh Greenberg of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and Saumya Gulati of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Josh and Saumya shared their career journeys, provided insight about navigating the job market in the age of COVID, and gave some insider tips on project management tools (head below for their recommendations!). Thank you Josh and Saumya for spending the afternoon with us!

Stay tuned, Alums! There will be more events in the future. And to everyone else, if you are interested in getting to know our alums, please get in touch, we are always looking for guests to share their experience in the field! Contact 

What Josh and Saumya are digging:

Hacking with New York State on National Day of Civic Hacking

This year on the 8th annual National Day of Civic Hacking, we joined forces with other Code for America Brigades in New York State to address an issue facing many Americans right now: accessing their social safety net benefits. BetaNYC, Code for Buffalo and Code for Syracuse spent the Saturday afternoon together addressing three challenges:
  1. conduct a design audit of the NYS unemployment application in order to generate insight into the challenges that many New Yorkers are facing when filing their applications

  2. assist Hunger Solutions New York in developing a SNAP screening and budgeting tool, by applying modern technology and human centered design principles to their existing excel sheet solution.

  3. convene a dialogue on budget transparency and define needs for information about funding statuses of social safety net programs

** Request ** If you know of any stakeholders who would be interested in carrying this work forward with us, we’d love to be in touch. We continue to meet regularly and are planning a hack night event later this fall to act on next steps. Stay tuned for a synthesis of work completed and information about next steps in a blog post.

It’s all about the journey... ✈️

Explore NYC Open Data with us in our new Open Data Journeys. It's kind of like the Magic School Bus... for open data and civic society. Open Data Journeys are virtual sessions, led by BetaNYC  apprentices and/or fellows, where we show you how to investigate community issues using open data and civic tech tools. In August we looked into motor vehicle collisions around the city with Council Member Kallos; in September we checked out noise issues with a community-led task force in Washington Heights and Inwood, and later this month, we delved into housing evictions and tenant issues in North Brooklyn with Council Member Reynoso. 

View past sessions in our youtube playlist.

Sign up for the next journey here.

Got a topic you’d like to propose for a journey? Email

Highlights from our NYC Civic Tech Community

With so much content out there, sometimes it’s hard to know where to look. Here is a little of what our team has been into recently.

What we’re digging: 

2020 Open Data for All Report: NYC Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics (MODA) released their annual report the other week. Check out the City’s plans for all things open data here and a quote from BetaNYC Executive Director and member of the City’s Open Data Advisory Council, Noel Hidalgo: NYC's open data helps bridge the river of uncertainty we all face. This open data report builds trust in that bridge. While we stand above the turbulent waters of injustice, austerity, and a climate crisis, BetaNYC thanks the Mayor's Office of Data Analytics and NYC DOITT team for their hard work. They have built a comprehensive roadmap, a complementary set of partners, and recruited dedicated government stakeholders. This is the vision and leadership we need to make NYC's government open, accessible, and functional for the digital era.

Open Data Journey 002: Noisy Neighborhoods: Learn about NYC Open Data in BetaNYC’s latest open data journey 

Governor's Island (go!): Our team went to governor’s island and had a blast alongside a cargobike celebration. Highly recommended for a pandemic outing!
 :] (Zhi and Onedeige had a blast!)

Covid Alert NY Fred Wilson (AVC) shares his thoughts on NY State’s recently launched Covid Alert NY, which was built by the NYS Department of Health and Tech:NYC, along with Google, Apple, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Goldman Sachs, and a coalition of technology and research partners.  CNBC also offers a perspective on the app, speaking to privacy, public engagement, and public trust.

Cities are starting to publish algorithmic inventories. Read about Amsterdam and Helsinki doing it here

The City of Los Angeles’ Controller calls for a comprehensive digital services strategy for residents and city employees for a post-COVID19 world.

When zombie data costs you a home / the struggle to align restorative justice with zombie data

Who we’re following: 


Hashtags we’re tuning into:


Upcoming Events:

Oct 6-7 at 11am Power After the Pandemic
Oct 15 at 1pm 2020 Virtual Protecting New York Summit
Oct 17 TransportationCampNYC 2020
Oct 19-23 5th Annual Vision Zero Cities Conference
Oct 23 at 12pm BetaNYC Open Data Journey 003: Tenants, Housing and Displacement with Kick-Off remarks from Council Member Reynoso
Oct 29-31 
OpenStreetMap US: Connect 2020 — 10/29 Mappy Hour; 10/30 Curated Talks; 10/31 Community Sessions

Announcements, Calls to Action, Opportunities

We are reserving space here for anyone with community announcements, job opportunities, and requests. We are here to help get your message out. 

To contribute to our next newsletter listings, be sure it is mission aligned and submit it here: 
  • Rock the Vote! TOMORROW is the DEADLINE to REGISTER to VOTE in New York State. ELECTION DAY is NOVEMBER 3rd. 
    • Check your voting status
    • Register to vote 
    • Know how and when you are voting...
      • Vote in person on Election Day, Tuesday November 3rd.
      • Vote in person before Election Day. In New York state, the early voting period runs from Saturday, Oct 24 to Sunday, Nov 1. 
      • Apply for and vote with an absentee ballot. In NYC, you must postmark, apply online, email or fax completed applications for the General Absentee ballot by October 27, 2020. You may apply in-person by November 2, 2020.  Ballots will be mailed beginning on/after September 18, 2020. < > 
    • Not in NYC? Check out national resources here < >
    • GET INFORMED. As you know by now, we are in a Presidential election year, and there are also Congressional, Senate and local council races you need to vote in! Read up, get informed, and make a plan before placing your vote!
  • Get paid to be a poll worker! Many sites still need poll workers to work during the early voting period (Oct 24 - Nov 1) and on Election Day (Nov 3). If you are healthy, willing and able, apply ASAP.
  • The Queens Chamber of Commerce is looking for a Business Recovery Technical Specialist. Apply! 
  • The NYC Campaign Finance Board is hiring a Content Writer, among other positions. Apply! 
  • Women Who Code is hiring a Staff Data Engineer for their analytics team in NYC. Apply! 
  • Design guidelines for NYC Street maps! Shout out to David McCreery for this share: For anyone who's interested, the design guidelines for the official NYC street maps used in subway stations and other places are now available for download from the NY Courts website. The geodatabases for the maps can be downloaded here: < > < > 
Fun Fact of the Month: Did you know that NYCDOT is responsible for 6,300 miles of streets and 12,750 miles of sidewalks? That's a road from NYC to Berlin and a sidewalk from NYC to Cape Town! Learn more here
Are you a member of our community? Stay up to date with BetaNYC and connect with other civic techies in the following forums, and join our public groups on Meetup and Slack and Facebook
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