City Stats

  • 7 Projects
  • 3 Team Members
  • 4 Events Hosted
  • 210 Event Attendance
Name Tags Team Active Milestone Progress Last Updated

Email Forwarding

quick win Yes

Planning Department Deed Entry

quick win Yes

Twitter education

detroit, twitter, quick win Yes

Adjacent Lot Program

detroit Yes


detroit, local, information, wiki Yes

DDOT Real-time bus tracker MVP

detroit, DDOT, bus, data Yes User Testing & Iteration


detroit, data, community Yes User Testing & Iteration
Team Name Attendance Event date Url Description
Detroit Urban Geek Drinks Detroit 75 01/31/12 Join Code for America and the Detroit Internet Club
Detroit Property & Technology in Detroit Workshop 35 02/25/12 To continue the conversation around new ways techno
Detroit Goodbye for Now Happy Hour 30 03/01/12 Our initial visit to Detroit is coming to a close.
Detroit Apps for Detroit 70 06/28/12 On June 28th, join Code for America for a kick-off

New Event
  • Detroit: LocalData: The short: our app helped Wayne State University students survey 9,000+ properties in Detroit quickly and accurately. A group of Wayne State University urban planning students will present a final report to stakeholders and the campus community following their City of Detroit surveying project. The project, titled Detroit CLICS (Commercial Land Inventory City Study), conducted by a group of 19 WSU students, addressed the lack of data pertaining to the use and condition of commercial parcels in the city, as well as inconsistencies between the use of many of these parcels, Detroit Zoning Ordinance and the city’s current Master Plan. ... Commercial land, consisting of 9,558 parcels (2950.5 acres or 4.61 square miles), was surveyed using a web-based smart phone application built by Code for America to collect data. This technology has the potential to be useful and accessible to city governments and community groups looking to conduct similar inventories in the future. The survey data and the student’s recommendations will be fed into the on-going Detroit Works Project.
  • Detroit: Connecting our city contact to other people she might not have engaged with was a somewhat unintended benefit to our events and organizing efforts. Karla Henderson is an executive administrator under Mayor Bing. She had some preconceptions around the work of D3, Jerry Paffendorf (Loveland Tech) and Vince Mazzola of, among civic "hacker" types working in Detroit. Through attending our events and engaging with these types in a less formal setting (and workshop atmosphere), she indicated to us, "I'm here because of you guys." meaning that she wouldn't have been in the room had it not been for CfA. She also indicated we had an uncanny ability to "rise above" all the politics and expose her to people who she otherwise wouldn't have met with. Information was exchanged, and although partnerships may not blossom overnight, it was important both for her and groups like D3 to listen to distinct (at times competing) interests.
  • Detroit: When meeting with the Chief Procurement Officer for the City of Detroit, Andre DuPerry, as well as his Director of Purchasing, Boysie Jackson, the topic of competitive bids came up. Currently Detroit's government has a problem with BIDs getting too few vendors. This encourages using the same vendors over and over again, driving costs up, and encouraging corruption. The purchasing team also described how different departments will team up on contracts that cover more than one area, i.e., instead of three contracts for gas for different departments with the same vendor, make it one big contract; as well as a history of attending purchasing trade conferences nationally to see what other cities are doing. Through these conversations came a desire to be able to post BIDs/RFPs/RFQs online to open them up to a wider audience. This in turn would allow Detroit to engage more directly with other cities' best practices around vending and contracts, and drive down the cost of contracts and vendors through competitive BIDs at a national scale.
  • Detroit: Fire and Planning Department staff rarely (if ever) end up at the same meeting. Bringing together a lower-level GIS-analyst and planning staffer with the CIO of the Fire Department at an early meeting sparked discussion about data needs and enthusiasm for inter-departmental information sharing.
  • Detroit: Data Driven Detroit (D3) collects and analyzes many data sets in Detroit. They typically are somewhat closed off in regards to data, although they produce maps and other analyses for some nonprofits in the area. They are very excited about the different people coming together around Code for America, though, and they want to contribute to that energy. They have created an open data repository, to which they are contributing some of their own datasets. They have access to some propriety data, but they have started thinking creatively about opening the portions that they are legally able to share.
  • Detroit: City complaints are received by the City of Detroit in a multitude of channels. 311 is the minority channel -- many other areas -- City Council staff desks, city ombudsmen, The Mayor's Office and specific departments all receive information and city service requests on a regular basis. All of these different desks manage requests differently. Some have excel spreadsheets, some don't keep track, some use the 311 complaint management system, and some have had their own complaint tracking systems built. In the latter case, there is one currently under development in Councilwoman Jenkin's office called "Jenkin's Case." When meeting with City Council in Detroit, we were in dialogue with the young, tech-savvy staff under City Council President Charles Pugh on a regular basis. We had a great meeting letting the Council President's staff what we had observed and pointed to the possibility for streamlining at least the City Council's request systems across the board (making Jenkins' Case the standard). They want to do this and are eager to eliminate redundancies toward providing constituents with better "customer service."
  • Detroit: The Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) has useful information for riders, but it is often missing from the website or poorly called out on the site. We learned from a meeting with the web team that city employees can take a training course and earn edit permissions for their portion of the city website. One of our DDOT contacts advocates very actively for DDOT usability issues, so we mentioned the training. She immediately looked up the web group's phone number and called to sign up for the training session. We apparently made her day with that information.
  • Detroit: Detroit Venture Partners is interested in hosting and supporting hackathons in Detroit. From a conversation with the Social Media Manager at Ford, we knew that Ford wants to hold hackathons or similar events in Detroit (rather than in the suburbs). Ford and Detroit Venture Partners are going to meet to discuss partnerships for such an event.
  • Detroit: One evening Team Detroit decided to take public transportation along with a DDOT transportation analyst and a legendary Detroit-based transportation cartographer. Detroit has a history of unreliable bus service, cold weather and long waits. There is currently no way to find out a) what time the bus is coming b) if its on time or not, and c) there are no route maps on the bus stops. We briefly engaged with a typical rider, a young woman who shared with us her daily reality -- giving herself a 2.5 hour buffer in order to take two buses to get to work. A bus ride that she'd missed 7 times already due to poor service and no way to tell her boss at Walmart that she would be late/miss work that day. She has a cell phone, much like most Detroiters (FCC says 105% cell phone penetration rate) with SMS access. This experience and many like it pushed us further to want to implement an SMS-integrated Real-time bus data alert system. Onward!
  • Detroit: Following our initial communication with Department of Transportation (DDOT) we had encountered Portia Roberson, a woman working with the federal SC2 program. We mentioned potential for launching an SMS-based notification/alert system for riders to know when their bus would come. We were then connected to Stewart McKenzie, of the federal transportation administration , who indicated the option for federal support for this initiative and DDOT generally in the amount of $17 million which needed an avenue for application in Detroit. We then connected our contact at DDOT, Tim Roseboom, to a potentially significant partnership and funding stream for an underresourced department.