Meet the Others
“If you find your life tangled up with somebody else’s life for no very logical reasons,” writes Bokonon, “that person may be a member of your karass.”” – Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle
So much of what became the field of civic tech emerged from gatherings. Meetups with just enough funding to offer some pizza to civic hackers getting together to code and design on a Tuesday night. Industry and government conferences, where a new generation of technologists huddled in hallways and at bars, strategizing over how to update our democratic institutions. Whether in person, or, post-COVID, online, so much of the work of building effective civic tech depends on those you’ll meet in the groups counted in these pages.
Meetup counts over 100,000 members of 166 civic hacking meetups around the world. The groups included here vary in how technical they are, but you can always count on meeting people and contributing to projects, regardless of whether or not you can code.
Working groups are formed to explore and often, consider the feasibility of an emerging topic or concern. For example, a working group might consider the balance between efficiency and privacy in a smart city project.
Community gathering spaces dedicated to civic tech that often provide coworking, meeting space, and other amenities like makerspaces, cafes, or theaters.
Professional gatherings offering presentations, conversation, and networking.
Roundtables are groups of people selected to weigh in on a central organizing topics. They may be public or closed invitation, and are usually organized to build conversation and connections between actors on a given topic, such as open government data.
Digital hangouts for civic-minded technologists.
Online support networks for people who are harassed based on their gender, race, or sexuality.
Digital conversation hubs for conversations of civic import. They are often designed to facilitate constructive dialogues, but sometimes fail by attempting to creating new destinations rather than embrace existing community hubs.