Innovating with Open Data from Zillow and HUD at “Hack Housing”

One of the biggest opportunities for new products and services to come out of the Civic Hacking movement in 2015, may be through place-based initiatives that foster collaboration across industry, academia, local government, and the federal government. This has the potential to greatly improve the way citizens use data to make decisions, by (1) first gaining a deeper understanding of user needs at the local level, then (2) bringing together the right data sets and know-how to help enable solutions. Since not all datasets are created equal, it’s sometimes difficult to mash up siloed data to create apps that demonstrate new and compelling capabilities. Tackling this head-on, Zillow Inc. and the University of Washington are hosting “Hack Housing: Empowering Smarter Decisions,” Feb 6-8 in Seattle. This event has participation from US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the US Department of Commerce, and the White House. In addition, the Hack Housing event coincides with newly released APIs and datasets from both Zillow and HUD, which should help jumpstart some compelling submissions from the participating teams.

Hack Housing hosted by Zillow and UW

About the Event

Zillow Inc. and the University of Washington are hosting “Hack Housing: Empowering Smarter Decisions,” Feb. 6-8 in Seattle. The winning team will receive a $10,000 prize. As part of the event, participants will have access to newly released government data sets on topics like federal housing programs; apartment buildings with accessible apartments; and transit information. In addition, Zillow will make available its data on home values and rents. The event is hosted in partnership with the Department of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, and with the participation of the federal government.

How to Register for Hack Housing

To register for the hackathon or to get more information and schedule updates, visit the Hack Housing event registration page.

Have local data?

Hack Housing is a great example off open data collaboration across industry, academia, local government, and the federal government.  If you have local data that you’d like to share for the benefit of your city, here are two ways to help data users and civic innovators find out about it:

  1. List it in the Local Government section of Data.gov.  This provides a searching capabilities so users can find multiple datasets in a single place.   To learn more about how to get local open data on to Data.gov, check out the resource How to Get your Open Data on Data.gov.
  2. Follow and contribute to the open-source City SDK project from the US Census Bureau on Github. User stories and feedback are requested to help improve interoperability between local and federal data. The City SDK is scheduled for a beta release prior to the 2015 National Civic Day of Hacking.
By Jeff Meisel, Presidential Innovation Fellow @US Census Bureau and @18F
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