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Databite No. 87: Noel Hidalgo

the future of municipal open data, smart cities, & civic technology


July 28, 2016 - 12:00 pm

Data & Society
36 West 20th Street, 11th Floor
New York, NY, 10011

Databites are Data & Society's weekly lunch conversations focused on unresolved questions and timely topics of interest to our community. To request an invitation, please email events at data society dot net.

Noel Hidalgo presents: Fellowshipping the future of municipal open data, smart cities, & civic technology

Noel Hidalgo will share lessons learned during his time as a Data & Society fellow, training CUNY Service Corp fellows, and partnering them with Manhattan Community Boards.

For the last 14 months, Noel Hidalgo has journeyed to demystify New York City’s open data future. A sane hobbit would have given up years ago. Yet Mr. Hidalgo rages with a magnificent madness, a glowing obsession to surmount every obstacle, find his Frodo, destroy the Ring of weak political will, and cleanse the isles of Mannahatta of its festering malignancy of poor technology choices. Might he fail? Perhaps. And try once more? A thousand, thousand times if need be, but he would not give up the quest — that is to paraphrase J.R.R. Tolkien.

As a 2015-2016 fellow at Data & Society, Mr. Hidalgo journeyed into the unknown — over the past year, he partnered with New York City’s open data fairy godmother and the City’s tree sprites. Along with William Colegrove, the two led a fellowship of undergraduates and government employees to rethink how citywide datasets should be released and how Community Boards use information technology to engage their constituents.

For this Databite, Mr. Hidalgo will journey through two fellowships — his Data & Society Fellowship and construction of a new fellowship for 21st century civic hackers. The first half of the discussion will focus on detailed lessons learned from working within the City’s civic technology community, collaborating with CUNY’s Service Corps students, building a municipal open data curriculum, and developing partnerships with the Mayor’s Office, Manhattan Borough President, and various City agencies.

The second half of the discussion will outline the next epic — designing 21st century systems — political and technological, that are rooted in reason and aspire to build the vaulted cathedral of idealism outlined in foundation the 20th century’s vision of progressivism.

Warning: this presentation will feature Hobbits, Lord of the Ring references, and lofty ideas.

 Recommended reading:

 Noel A. Hidalgo, Executive Director of BetaNYC (@betanyc), is a 2015-2016 fellow at Data & Society. His work focuses on empowering community-based organizations, NYC’s Community Boards, and government employees to understand how data, tools, and culture are unified in today’s civic hacking ethos. 

“One tiny Hobbit against all the evil the world could muster. A sane being would have given up, but Samwise burned with a magnificent madness, a glowing obsession to surmount every obstacle, to find Frodo, destroy the Ring, and cleanse Middle Earth of its festering malignancy. He knew he would try again. Fail, perhaps. And try once more. A thousand, thousand times if need be, but he would not give up the quest.” 

― J.R.R. Tolkien