Join with PennFuture and their partners, the Sierra Club and SUNWPA, for the 2013 Pittsburgh Solar Tour — a look at Pittsburgh homes and businesses that use solar energy and other green technologies. This year’s tour is on Saturday, October 12th from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. There are 22 different locations across Western PA, including the City of Pittsburgh, Mt. Lebanon, Millvale, Aspinwall, Moon Township, Fair Oaks, Saxonburg, Sarver, Rochester, Cheswick, and Bentleyville.
Do you have the skills and the passion to use technology to make cities work better? Are you a developer, designer, researcher, data enthusiast, urban planner, or entrepreneur or wants to give back? Do you think being called a “web geek” is a badge of honor? If you answered yes, Code for America is looking for you to be part of their 2014 fellowship program.
The nation has an obligation and commitment to our veterans. Two years ago, President Obama issued a challenge to the private sector to train or hire 100,000 veterans by the end of this year and unemployment rates for veterans have been dropping. One organization which is meeting this challenge is TechShop.
Code for America is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 2009 to help cities modernize their operations and take advantage of new technology to increase transparency and accountability and provide new models of citizen engagement. Through the Code for America Fellows program, young programmers and developers are placed within city governments around the country to work directly with the Mayor’s office and the staff of city departments. In addition to the Fellows program, Code for America also provides seed funding to startup tech companies and runs the Code for America Brigade program, which places staff within community organizations to help build their capacity and increase their use of technology. Dozens of cities across the country have taken advantage of this unique program and it’s time for Pittsburgh to become the next Code for America city.
One of the most incredible technological advances of the past decade is the ability to simultaneously communicate with thousands of people via text message or a smart phone app. Agencies of the federal government, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service, utilize free smart phone apps to keep citizens informed about issues ranging natural disasters to the daily weather forecast. Smart phone apps provide easy, immediate access to information and can play an important role in alerting citizens to everything from traffic conditions to school closings. The City of Pittsburgh should offer a free smart phone app that will keep residents, commuters, and visitors informed. And we should go even further by enabling this app to provide two-way communication so residents can report neighborhood issues such as potholes, illegal parking, or graffiti.
Pittsburgh’s tech and start up universe is rich and diverse and has been a major driver of our economic stability and growth over the past decade. However, recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other agencies have shown Pittsburgh lagging in new job creation, especially in high-tech industries. The city has to be a strong partner with our emerging industries and work hand-in-hand to ensure that they are getting the public and private resources and opportunities they need to be successful. One of the best ways to do this is create new business incubators that provide the transitional space and resources for young firms in a collaborative, cooperative environment where they can learn from one another and from established firms in related fields. The idea is not to try to force innovation to happen where it is not already happening but to nurture organic startups and provide a bridge from start up to successful company.
In 2010 Boston Mayor Thomas Menino created an experiment in Boston city government. He pulled together a few civic-minded entrepreneurs and Boston residents and paired them with innovators within his office to create a new program of the mayor’s office called the Office of New Urban Mechanics. The purpose of this new program was to advance the speed of innovation within city government by working directly with constituents to find new ways to address the issues that matter to them through the use of new technologies. In 2012, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter reached out to Mayor Menino and asked to bring the Office of New Urban Mechanics to Philly via a franchise model where the two cities worked closely together to share ideas and data and pioneer new problem-solving technologies. I have been in touch with Mayor Menino’s office about the possibility of bringing the Office to Pittsburgh. As Mayor, I will create a Pittsburgh Office of New Urban Mechanics to engage our tech sector innovators to work directly with city government and residents to address the issues our neighborhoods care about.
We need your help to build a New Pittsburgh and there’s no reason you can’t have a FUN-tasic time while doing it. We have two fun and creative events coming up on Sunday and Monday. Enjoy a fiesta! Mingle with the ‘Burgh’s creative community. Either way, you can help elect Bill Peduto by attending one of these FUN-draisers.
You’ve created the next big thing in urban apps. Could you use and extra $5,000? Of course you could! You still have a couple of days to enter your app in the AppMyCity! Prize contest. The prize is organized by the New Cities Foundation and made possible by Google and The Atlantic Cities.
Pittsburgh’s Summer Youth Employment Program provides paid job opportunities for several hundred Pittsburgh youth each year. The program gives kids an opportunity to gain some real-world work experience, make a bit of money, and make connections with employers and other youth. The program is a joint venture of the City of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Foundation, and corporate sponsors and allows kids between the ages of 14 and 21 to apply to participate. The Summer Youth Employment Program is a fantastic partnership and something that we absolutely must continue to support. However, I would like to bring in a more diverse set of site partners and allow kids to enter a broader field of summer jobs that will better prepare them for the kinds of jobs that are available in our region. We must expand the program to provide kids exposure to jobs in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields.