Jeff Reichman

Policy Hackathons Pop Up in Houston

By Jeff Reichman / April 5, 2016 / Comments Off on Policy Hackathons Pop Up in Houston

There’s a new spin on hackathons, and it doesn’t involve technology. In the last month alone, Houston hosted two policy hackathons. They got people thinking creatively about our government and the laws they write. On March 5-6, Polithon and Young Invincibles held a policy hackathon about student debt. They brought together a few dozen people between…

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Making Maps Is Easy Using These Free Tools

By Jeff Reichman / April 4, 2016 / Comments Off on Making Maps Is Easy Using These Free Tools

Making maps is a great way to visualize data. Building them is easier than ever. In the past, you had to have enterprise software licenses and a lot of GIS knowledge. But if you’re just getting started with making maps, you probably don’t want to shell out thousands of dollars for software. Maybe you’re at a…

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Parks Contest Quietly Introduces Participatory Budgeting to Houston

By Jeff Reichman / April 14, 2016 / Comments Off on Parks Contest Quietly Introduces Participatory Budgeting to Houston

Over at Sketch City, we’ve been working with various governments in the Houston area to introduce the idea of participatory budgeting. We’ll post more about our findings in a few months. In the meantime, I received this email from the Mayor’s office: Three Houston Parks and Recreation Department projects are competing for a $20,000 grant…

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Houston Open Challenge Winner: Public Meeting Notifications

By Jeff Reichman / January 4, 2016 / Comments Off on Houston Open Challenge Winner: Public Meeting Notifications

The City of Houston Open Challenge closed on December 1. It was a lightning-fast, 30 day challenge around three areas identified as “priorities” by Mayor Parker and Mayor Pro Tem Gonzalez. This is part one of a three part series profiling each of the three open challenges. (part two) (part three coming soon) Up first…

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Crowdsourcing Transportation Policy With MobilityHouston

By Jeff Reichman / January 1, 2016 / Comments Off on Crowdsourcing Transportation Policy With MobilityHouston

MobilityHouston is a website that crowdsources transportation policy ideas from Houstonians. The goal is to help lawmakers create smarter, more comprehensive transportation policies. They do it with a specific focus on mobility and a broad community engagement strategy. So Far, Policymaking is Offline Houston’s lawmakers have to get smart on a range of issues before they write the laws. They…

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Renewing Our 10% Open Source Discount

By Jeff Reichman / December 31, 2015 / Comments Off on Renewing Our 10% Open Source Discount

Last year, we announced a 10% open source discount for 2015. We’ll be honoring that open source discount throughout 2016 as well. We love open source software, and we seek opportunities to launch or work to improve open source projects. 2015 was an important year for milestones in the movement, too. I won’t go into…

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Recap of the Houston Controller Forum About Technology

By Jeff Reichman / October 8, 2015 / Comments Off on Recap of the Houston Controller Forum About Technology

This morning was the first debate of its kind, anywhere in the US. The six candidates for Houston City Controller gathered at the Houston Technology Center to discuss… technology. The City Controller is Houston’s Chief Financial Officer. They are responsible for communicating financial issues to the public, reporting on our finances, and auditing the city…

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Houston Mayoral Debate Takeaways

By Jeff Reichman / December 5, 2015 / Comments Off on Houston Mayoral Debate Takeaways

Last night, I attended the KPRC Houston mayoral debate between Bill King and Sylvester Turner. This has been a long, grueling campaign season, and it comes to an end next week. One of these men will be Houston’s next mayor. The League of Women Voters, KPRC, and Telemundo Houston produced this debate. They selected questions that address…

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Learn About the Houston Economy Through Spending Data

By Jeff Reichman / December 15, 2015 / Comments Off on Learn About the Houston Economy Through Spending Data

What does the Houston economy look like through the eyes of our credit and debit cards? A new study from the JP Morgan Chase Institute analyzed debit and credit card spending patterns in 15 US cities. There’s a lot that it can show us about how spending patterns differ with age, income bracket, and location throughout…

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Text Mining the City of Houston Bright Ideas Program

By Jeff Reichman / April 20, 2016 / Comments Off on Text Mining the City of Houston Bright Ideas Program

Last year, we helped the City of Houston launch a cost-savings crowdsourcing program called Bright Ideas. I was reading through some of the responses, and I got curious about terminologies, priorities, and the general language used by City of Houston employees. So on April 9, 2016, I grabbed a database dump of the Bright Ideas…

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