Friday, October 8th

Hello BetaNYC friends!

As we begin the final quarter of 2021, and conclude eight groundbreaking years in the civic tech sphere, I would like to take the time to acknowledge our upcoming elections, reflect on these past eight years and look ahead to the future.

This Fall, we hope many of you will vote in citywide races and five statewide ballot proposals. However, it is just as important for you to participate in our Peoples’ Tech Assemblies. As you may know, we launched the Peoples’ Tech Assemblies this summer, but you might be wondering about the scope of the project, what events led to the current coalition, or to put it crudely, why you should care.  

Eight years ago, around 250 New Yorkers gathered together to outline a comprehensive public interest technology vision. In coworking spaces across the city, we demystified technology and painted a vision for the future. These conversations led to the Peoples’ Roadmap to a Digital New York City — our community values document and an outline of 34 programs and opportunities critical to realizing a 21st century New York City.

Every day, BetaNYC has argued for a smarter city, built with New Yorkers. When we realized our hacknights were only privileging those who already had access and literacy, we started the Civic Innovation Fellowship program for CUNY students. Then, we hired them as apprentices to continue their career development. Our fellows and apprentices have built tools for Community Boards and supported research and data assistance requests, better known as RADARs. Together, we have supported Community Boards, NGOs, council members, journalists, and mutual aid groups to navigate our digital working environments. 

For the past five years, we have harnessed the Roadmap’s values to a celebration of transparency, participation, and demystification — we now call this NYC’s Open Data Week. 

The Peoples’ Roadmap directly led to new government accountability laws. It outlined pathways to strengthen our municipal open data program, and forced the city to publish audits of the data. The Roadmap inspired the creation of digitally savvy teams to design better government services and code openly. Also, we accomplished the following...

  • The City Charter and City Record were put online.
  • The Open Data Law and Chief Analytics Officer were made permanent and enshrined into the City Charter.
  • Community Boards have gotten more resources and are using digital tools to engage.
  • Digital Units have proliferated — The City’s CTO, Labs in City Council, City Planning, and Service Design departments across several agencies
  • Access to the City’s Freedom of Information Law is centralized, online, and powered by open source software.
  • A proliferation of open source projects across agencies.
  • Participatory Budgeting was expanded into the Municipal Budget.

TL;DR - We need your ideas to help us rewrite the Peoples’ Roadmap. In 2013, we came together to write a collaborative vision. Today, we ask you to assemble with us at < >. We need your help to keep our beautiful city strong, resilient, and accessible to all in the years to come. 


Here’s to a fruitful next eight years.


- Noel Hidalgo

Recent News

The Peoples’ Tech Assemblies is in motion!

We need your input on the future of technology, data and design in New York City. How can they be harnessed to better serve New Yorkers? Your contribution to these conversations will help inform our next re-write of the Peoples Roadmap. Here's how you can participate:

1) RSVP to participate in upcoming virtual workshops with NYC Deputy Public Advocates:

2) Log on to to contribute respond to our survey and add input to projects.

3) Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and let us know if you'd like to host a structured conversation in your community about a community issue and technology.

And if you have questions about participating, hosting conversations or using the platform, please join us at weekly community sessions every Fridays at 12pm ET on Zoom. Click here to RSVP in advance.

Save the Date: NYC's Open Data Law turns 10 yrs old in 2022!

The most wonderful week of the year is on the horizon! We are gearing up for another fantastic NYC Open Data Week with the NYC Mayor's Office of Data Analytics (MODA) and Data Through Design. Mark your calendars! Open Data Week will take place from March 5th to March 12th in 2022. We can't wait to publish our call for organizers later this Fall and share more about the events.

Subscribe to receive the latest on NYC Open Data Week here.

Testimony on Int 2158-2020: Designating a Geospatial Information Officer

It's about time! Last month, BetaNYC’s Zhi Keng He, Assistant Director of the NYC Civic Innovation Lab testified before the NYC Council Committee on Technology in support of a bill that would create the position of a geospatial information officer. Read his full testimony here and view the meeting details with the recording at

What's up?

Here are some recent content picks from our team and community. Share yours in next month's newsletter here.

👀  Serving lewks...

The Redistricting & You map from The Center for Urban Research at the CUNY Graduate Center

Check out this dashboard of the history of the Supreme Court, courtesy of Spencer Baucke.

Ever wonder which U.S. counties have the oldest populations? Overflow Data has some insights for you!

Civis Analytics conducted a study illustrating the effects of messaging on the remaining unvaccinated population. Read their report here

📰 Recently in the news...

The rise of Latinos in the New York City Council by Jon Lentz

NYC and taxi drivers have very different ideas for how to tackle medallion debt by Annie McDonough

We Have to Survive’: Meet NYC Immigrant Women Fighting for Their Communities During the Pandemic by Tanvi Misra

NYCLU Sues NYPD For Still Keeping Full Set Of Disciplinary Databases Away From Public View by David Cruz

NY Nursing Homes See Overnight Surge In Employee COVID Vaccinations Thanks To State Mandate by Jaclyn Jeffrey-Wilensky and Caroline Lewis

Study: What’s Behind Partisan Splits Over Transport Reform? By Kea Wilson

New Urban Farm Opens in Brownsville, Aiming to Combat Food Inequity by Ben Brachfeld

📚 Recommended reading...

Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Umoja Noble

Numbered Lives: Life and Death in Quantum Media by Jacqueline Wernimont

Data Feminism by Catherine D'Ignazio and Lauren Klein

🎧  Listen on your commute...

Databite No. 146: Moving Through Molasses: On Intellectual labor, Productivity, and Belonging. Hosted by Data & Society

Max Politics Podcast: Assemblymember Catalina Cruz on Pro-Immigrant Policies & More. Hosted by Gotham Gazette.

Building Brooklyn: Like Coming Home. Hosted by the Brooklyn Public Library.


Tweet of the Month

Hats off to ANHD for a delightful list of cocktails to wind down the day! 

 🤩 Accounts we’re following












#️⃣ Hashtags we're watching












Upcoming Events

Sep 15 to Oct 15 Hispanic Heritage Month

Oct 1 to Oct 31 Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Oct 11-17 LatinX in CV (LXCV) Research at ICCV 2021 hosted by LatinX in AI

Oct 12 at 6pm Peoples Tech Assemblies: Workshopping Civic and Community Empowerment

Oct 14 at 6:30pm Peoples' Tech Assemblies: Workshopping Equity in Public Housing

Oct 15-17 Brigade Congress 2021 hosted by Code for America

Oct 16-17 Open House New York (All Weekend!)

Oct 16 10:30am TransportationCamp NYC 2021 

Oct 18-22 New York FinTech Week hosted by Empire Startups 

Oct 20- 22 DecidimFest 2021 

Oct 25-28 Spatial Data Science Conference hosted by CARTO  

Oct 28 at 4:30pm Peoples' Tech Assemblies: Workshopping Housing Security

Nov 8-10 SCNY Urban Tech Summit hosted by Cornell Tech 

Nov 17-18 GIS Day 2021 | Racial Equity, Social Justice & Climate Change Gentrification hosted by The College of Staten Island Tech Incubator  

Nov 23-24 EU Open Data Days: DataViz 2021

Nov 23-24 EU Open Data Days: Datathon

Announcements and Opportunities

To contribute to our listings, be sure it is mission aligned and submit your announcement, job listing, opportunity or request here.


The NYC Mayor's Office of Data Analytics is searching for a Data Scientist and Data Engineer.

The NYC Mayor's Office for Economic Opportunity is recruiting for full-time and fellowship roles across product management, design, and software engineering.

The NYC Department of Transportation is hiring a Director of Press.

NYCPlanning is looking for a data scientist to join their population division. Apply here.

The Beeck Center is seeking a Fellow for their State Software Collaborative. Be sure to apply by October 13th!

Numina is seeking an Operations Intern

Co:census is searching for CX, GIS, and Data Analyst Interns for their 2022 program is recruiting backend engineers, UI/frontend engineers, Machine Learning Scientists, and Developer Advocates. If you have any questions email

The Knowledge House is hiring a Business & Partnerships Specialist.

Civic Fact of the Month 

Image Credit:  Library of Congress. 14th Street station in 1904.

Do you know the story behind the first train ride in NYC?

On October 27 1904 at 2:35pm, then New York City Mayor George McClellan took the controls on the first ever underground train ride in New York City, launching the New York City subway system. The trip lasted for 28 stations, running from City Hall to 145th street and Broadway. Later that evening, the line was open to the general public who paid a nickel (yes you read that right!) to take a ride under Manhattan. In honor of the upcoming 117th anniversary, learn more about the construction of NYC’s first subway line and more details about the first route.     

Want to support the public interest tech talent pipeline in NYC!

Donate $21 to our 20$21 campaign to support employment opportunities for Civic Innovation Fellows and Apprentices to continue working and growing with us. Thank you!

Connect with us on:

See you next month! Peace, openness and gratitude!

- BetaNYC 🗽
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