Civic life today in the United States seems like it's on life support. Our elections are defined by partisan battles, and volunteerism is low. Our communities are suffering. It’s easy to wonder... how do we strengthen government & community life together? Where are the positive stories about civic engagement and participation?
Civic Tech: Making Technology Work for People will be the first guidebook to the big ideas behind the Civic Tech movement. Over the last five years I've been collecting stories and strategies to make communities stronger and government more responsive. These are stories of geeks banding together with government and local leaders to help solve our biggest social problems. The book is about about community organizers like Tiffani Bell, who created The Human Utility for Detroit residents who couldn’t pay their water bills. It is about civil servants like Mark Headd who use data to drive participation. It is about how government teams like Boston’s New Urban Mechanics experiment with city life and reform government from the inside.
Civic technologists are a new breed of leader. They are changing the culture of government to overcome bureaucratic gridlock. They are building community infrastructure and hacking it to make it better. If a policy is obsolete, they update it. They work with the community to help residents' voices get heard.
If this sounds exciting, you can jump ahead and read the first chapter right now!
Civic Tech builds on ideas I've developed in posts and articles, as well as working in government and teaching. The book will have 128 pages with a full-color cover, pictures and illustrations. Each chapter will feature real stories of geeks and hackers making positive change in their communities through user-centered design, community infrastructure, open government, participation, and changing government from the inside. Each chapter features full-page layouts describing projects and key concepts using accessible language.
Andrew Schrock is an author, educator, and researcher active in Southern California. For the last decade he has written about how technology can help strengthen communities and improve government responsiveness. Currently he teaches communication and technology courses at CSU Dominguez Hills and Woodbury University. He was the first Civic Data fellow for the city of Los Angeles. He is also co-author of the edited volume "The Hacker and Maker Movements in Context."
Livien is a talented designer. You might remember her covers for Civic Quarterly! For this book she hand-painted an phenomenal wrap-around cover using delicate layers of gouache. Her cover is a stunning illustration of how Civic Tech is a meeting place for collaboration between community and government. It looks even better as 18" x 24" full-color poster that shows all the intricate details, which you can get at the $45 reward level!
Dr. Laura Portwood-Stacer is an renowned author, teacher, and editor. Her book Lifestyle Politics and Radical Activism changed the way I thought about politics. She has helped me get the tone and organization just right. You’ll get a polished product that will be readable and exciting, whether you’re new to the idea of civic tech or a seasoned veteran. You can even read the first chapter right now to see how it's coming along!
My baseline budget is modest. It is enough to print 1000 books, create the rewards, and pay my editor & designer what they deserve.
If everything really takes off, I've got some fun ideas for stretch goals! The better this project does, the cooler the final product will be.
Let's Make it Happen!
Civic Tech has the right message. I’ve put together the right team to make a beautiful and compelling book. By cutting out publishers I can put this book in your hands for the right price: $25! A deluxe package with a postcard and poster can be yours for $45. And if you want it "born digital" get the digital copy for a scant $15. But I can't do it alone. I need your help.
Last but not least, I'm a big believer in open access! If the book is funded it will be made available under a creative common license for everyone in the world six months after backers have received their copies.
I hope you find this book as exciting as I do and help me make this book a reality!
Risks and challenges
I am an experienced writer and author. The graphical design is completed with the exception of the project diagrams. Printing will take 6-8 weeks. Teaming up with a designer and editor will free up my time to focus on writing.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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