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Policy Hackathons Pop Up in Houston

By Jeff Reichman / April 5, 2016

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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Houston Mayoral Debate Takeaways

By Jeff Reichman / December 5, 2015

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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Mapping Houston's Capital Improvement Projects By Location and Budget

By Jeff Reichman / June 26, 2016

Every year, the City of Houston goes through a capital planning process where they allocate about $8 billion over five years. I wanted to know where these projects are, and how much we’re spending on them. I became curious about this process after last year’s discussion about equitable distribution. So I extracted a bunch of data from the…

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minimum lot size restrictions third ward houston

Minimum Lot Size in Houston: Maps to Protect Your Block

By Jeff Reichman / January 14, 2018

A few weeks ago, I attended a civic club meeting where we talked about minimum lot size restrictions. Many of my neighbors were concerned about townhouse developments in the neighborhood, and the City of Houston Planning Department was on hand to teach us how to apply for minimum lot size protection. Minimum lot size restrictions…

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Evictions in Houston After Harvey

By Jeff Reichman / May 16, 2018

Immediately after Hurricane Harvey, everyone in Houston figured that evictions were going to be a problem. There was a lot of media coverage about evictions of vulnerable populations, including some heart-wrenching stories about low income tenants and elderly residents of a Harris County subsidized living facility. The Mayor of Houston pushed back, asking private landlords…

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Houston Startups: 2013 Year in Review

By Jeff Reichman / December 24, 2013

I’ve been working in the Houston startup community since 2009, and one thing is clear: we’re growing like crazy. In a twelve-month period between 2011-2012, the City of Houston added more than 34,000 new residents, second only to New York City. But that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to what’s coming. The Greater…

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The Story Behind the Houston Writeathon

By Jeff Reichman / March 4, 2014

Back in October, I was in San Francisco for the Code for America summit. It was an inspiring trip, with civic hackers from around the world converging to share stories about technology and community development. Of course, the best stories travel over beers.  That’s exactly how Rebekah Monson told me about the writeathon she organized in Miami.…

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Recap of the Second Annual Houston Hackathon

By Jeff Reichman / June 9, 2014

On May 31, over 150 people converged at the Houston Technology Center for the second annual City of Houston Open Innovation Hackathon. Over the course of 24 hours, they formed teams, worked all night, and presented 18 different projects to Mayor Parker and her senior staff. You can check out all 18 projects here. Once…

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Building a Community with a Mission Statement + Hackathon

By Jeff Reichman / July 2, 2014

In the months following the first Houston Hackathon, several organizations approached us.  They read about the city hackathon in the newspaper or they heard about it online, and they wanted one of their own.  From the first email, there were always little clues that something didn’t quite add up.  But we took every meeting.  One by…

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How the Houston Hackathon Happened

By Bruce Haupt & Jeff Reichman / June 4, 2013

This is the story of how we planned and pulled off the first City of Houston Hackathon.  It’s a story that has an ensemble cast filled with software developers, policy wonks, civic innovators, bagels, and bahn mi.  Here’s a video.  It would not have been possible without the support and leadership of Mayor Annise Parker…

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