Hack for Change Aims To Make Miami A Better Place

Categories: Culture

The LAB Miami's Daniel "Danny" LaFuente.
Hacking, once a hobby solely for computer experts, has gone mainstream. This Saturday and Sunday, LAB Miami is hosting Hack for Change, a "National Day for Civic Hacking" that's also happening simultaneously in other cities across the country.

These hackers, however, won't be busting into the FBI website and adding handlebar mustaches to the faces of America's Ten Most Wanted. Instead, they'll be making the world a better place.

Government and corporate websites have increasingly made information more accessible to the public in the spirit of transparency. This weekend, hackers will use that info and apply it to a social problem, in the hopes of finding a solution.

Daniel LaFuente, COO and CFO of LAB Miami, explains, "Some people complain about the lack of access to fresh, local produce. Farmer's Markets complain [about] their troubles in attracting customers. So The USDA has created a challenge to create an interactive Farmer's Market Directory to support local agriculture and healthy eating."

In the farmer's market scenario, hackers will use public information to create an app that improves the lives of American consumers and business owners.

LaFuente continues, "This hackathon is more than just clever uses of technology - it's about people coming together, in the spirit of civic duty, to identify problems, generate ideas and solutions, and take action on improving our city. The fact that you can do all of it in 24 hours shows the power of collaboration and benefits of serendipity."


Cultist: For those not technically inclined, could you give a "HackNation for Dummies" kind of explanation of the event?
Daniel LaFuente: While hackathons typically bring together people involved in software development to create solutions for a certain problem, Hack for Change: Miami is calling on anyone with a passion for Miami, a desire to improve it, and the time/talent to do actually do something about it.

Simply put, Hack for Change: Miami will start by having participants identify problems and brainstorm solutions. Then participants will actively work with the more traditional hackathon participants (programmers, graphic designers, etc...) to create solutions over the course of the weekend.

Why is Hack for Change socially relevant?
Because this hackathon is the first [event], at least in Miami, where people across all disciplines will be participating. From the traditional programmers and graphic designers, to newcomers like artists, stay-at-home moms, and goverment officials, all will be collaborating on this hackathon. Technology isn't going anywhere, and it's only getting faster -- this hackathon will help even the most novice technical person understand the benefits of software development.

Because this hackathon is trying to create solutions for all citizens - not just a small subset of people. This is the coolest, and most direct, way of increasing the efficacy of our government by helping solve problems that could take the government years to do.

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