PRESS RELEASE: Local Governments to Partner with Citizens to Tackle Public Problems

Charlottesville, VA, March, 7, 2017

Smart Cville and presenting sponsor WillowTree are pleased to announce the first annual Charlottesville Civic Innovation Day (CID) which will take place on June 3.  The event, to be held at WillowTree, invites technologists, designers, and citizens to tackle a specific public problem identified by local municipalities and organizations.  This year’s event includes topics ranging from environmental stewardship and traffic congestion to supporting the homeless and economic development.

“We have incredibly talented citizens here in Central Virginia.  Now, more than ever, they would like the opportunity to take a hands-on approach to civic engagement,” said Lucas Ames Founder of Smart Cville.

To facilitate this, local institutions will present challenges to CID attendees who will use technology and user-centered design to develop solutions.  Four local entities will be sponsoring challenges at the event: City of Charlottesville (Office of Economic Development), Albemarle County (Environmental Services Division), Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (RideShare), and Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless (TJACH).  WillowTree is serving as the presenting sponsor and Ting Inc. has signed on as the first contributing sponsor.

“Every day WillowTree works with clients to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. We’re excited to be part of this event because we believe our communities can benefit from the same level of innovation,” said Tobias Dengel, CEO of WillowTree.

Throughout the course of the day, teams will form alongside challenge partners to tackle the problems presented.  Each challenge partner will have someone in attendance to serve as an “expert” on the problem in order to guide teams and answer questions.

“Initiatives like Civic Innovation Day inspire citizens to actively participate in their government. Our community has such great talent, tapping that knowledge and know-how for challenges facing local government propels us forward and allows us to more effectively deliver services that benefit everyone,” said Emily Kilroy, Community Engagement Specialist for Albemarle County.

Parallel to the challenges, a series of workshops will run to educate participants on issues related to civic technology, user-centered design, and civic engagement.

“We invite all citizens, regardless of age, technological savvy, or background to join us for this event.  Anyone who is interested in working hands-on to improve our community is welcome.  Participants will learn more about a public problem, brainstorm how technology can be used as a solution, and even develop a prototype solution.  It should be a lot of fun,” said Ames.

Please visit http://cid.smartcville.com for more information or here to sign up for the event.  This event is free to the public.  For ongoing updates please follow the event Facebook page.

Smart Cville is a 501(c)(3)-designated, non-profit organization committed to promoting public discourse on municipal government, collaborating with Charlottesville-Albemarle regional municipalities to promote forward-thinking development and management, and partnering with like-minded organizations to make open data work, support innovations in infrastructure, and participate in progressive and thoughtful planning. Find out more at https://smartcville.com.

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