OpenPGH – Code for America – Pittsburgh Brigade

I have been meaning to write a post about the last Code for America Pittsburgh Brigade Meetup which was held at the Studio for Creative Inquiry in February.  But is has been a busy month – I promise I will write more about my experience attending the StartingBloc fellowship in Los Angeles at the beginning of march.  I have lots of ideas to share.

At the February meetup the group decided to call the Code for America Pittsburgh chapter (other cities use the term brigade – so you will often see Pittsburgh bridgade) OpenPGH.

The February OpenPGH MeetUp is one of the best events I’ve attended this year.  It was great to see so many folks from many different areas of Pittsburgh come together to talk about how we can use data to make Pittsburgh a better place to live.  Connor Sites-Bowen was one of the presenters and shared some fascinating data and maps about hunger in Western, PA.  I feel like IheartPGH has been hacking together a story of Pittsburgh and it was exciting to brain storm with other people on how to use websites and apps to hack a better city.  I left the February MeetUp and said to a friend – what sort of job will pay me to be a full time civic hacker. [If anyone has any ideas on who might hire me as a civic hacker – please let me know. :)]

English: Code for America Logo

What is Code for America?

From the Code for America about page:

Code for America is a 501(c)3 non-profit that envisions a government by the people, for the people, that works in the 21st century.

Our programs change how we participate in government by:

  • Connecting citizens and governments to design better services,
  • Encouraging low-risk settings for innovation; and,
  • Supporting a competitive civic tech marketplace.

Bringing Code for America to Pittsburgh

There are several ways that Pittsburgh has been working towards more open data and civic hacking in the past year.

  • Last summer, Pittsburgh along with many other cities participated in the national day of civic hacking.
  • Mayor Bill Peduto has hired Laura Meixell, a Code for America fellow to work in his office.  You can read more about Laura and the projects she’s started working on here.
  • Pittsburgh has passed an open data policy.  Check out this blog post from the Sunlight Foundation for details on how Pittsburgh’s open data policy is different from other cities.

OpenPGH March MeetUp

open-pgh-logoWednesday, March 26th is the next meetup for OpenPGH.  The OpenPGH group meets every month at a different location.

Facebook event for the OpenPGH March MeetUp

Agenda for March MeetUp:

  1. Welcome and introductions 5 minutes
  2. Host’s welcome / presentation (Kostas Pelechrinis, Pitt Information Sciences) 10-15 minutes
  3. Quick updates (City legislation, state advocacy) 5 minutes
  4. Allegheny County GIS (Matt Mercurio, GIS manager) 15-20 minutes
  5. County election data – (Brady Hunsaker) 10-15 minutes
  6. Visual survey toolkit demo using LocalData (GTECH) 10-15 minutes
  7. Participant survey results 5 minutes
  8. Project ideas / open discussion / “planning party” ideas

OpenPGH and Open Data Links & Resources

Website Links:

Follow on Twitter


Networking Organizations for Women in Pittsburgh

pittsburgh-women-networking-groupsJust a quick post to let you know about a list that I have put together and published on the c-leveled blog.  Click here to see a list of women’s networking organizations and meetup groups in the Pittsburgh area.  If you know of any other organizations that should be on the list – please leave a comment on the c-leveled blog and I will update the post.


See Pittsburgh Batman at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater – March 20-22, 2014

pittsburgh-batmanNot going to see Pittsburgh Batman is one of my biggest regrets of 2013.  Pittsburgh Batman is a play that was performed last year at Bricolage Theater.

Back by popular demand, Pittsburgh Batman will be at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater this weekend.  There are only 3 performances and I’m sure this will be a sell out again.

Pittsburgh Hearts

Pittsburgh Hearts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pittsburgh Batman is the brain child of Lord Grunge and Jackson who hail from Pittsburgh, but are often traveling as the dou Grand Buffet.  I have the good fortune of getting to know some of the other cast members, who are incredible performers and some of the most creative people in Pittsburgh).

Here is some press on last years performance:

Tickets are $25.00 and available online here.  Follow @PittsburghBTMN on Twitter for updates.


International Premiere of ‘Madame Presidenta: Why Not U.S.?’

I know the tickets for the premier are expensive but I wanted to share this because this film was made by a Pittsburgh resident and I know there will be more screenings of the film to come.

Check out the trailer and be sure to follow @wgfpa for updates.

‘Madame Presidenta: Why Not U.S.?’, a documentary exploring the role of women in global politics, was inspired by Arnet’s grandmother, the late Vivian Goldstein, whose own mother marched as a suffragette advocating for women to achieve the right to vote. As the film shows, Goldstein had hoped to live long enough to see a woman elected president of the United States. Sadly, she was not able to see her dream come true.

Inspired by Vivian’s resolve, Heather traveled to Brazil to ask women from different regions and socio-economic backgrounds to share their perspective on the dynamic shifts that have occurred in Brazilian politics over the course of just one generation.

Why Brazil? Presidenta Dilma Rousseff leads one of the most rapidly developing nations on earth, having surpassed the United Kingdom to become the world’s sixth-largest economy.  The film debuts as Brazil prepares to host the World Cup in June of this year, as Rousseff faces re-election in October, and as the nation prepares to host the Summer Olympics in 2016.

Through the production of this film, Heather uncovered powerful new findings connecting female economic security, political participation, and new democracies in fostering the advancement of women.

The Women and Girls Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania invites you to join us for the premiere, leading the way for women in shaping the world through advocacy and civic involvement.

International Premiere of ‘Madame Presidenta: Why Not U.S.?’
March 8, 2014
Carnegie Museum of Art Theater
Dessert reception and Q&A with director Heather Arnet to follow