Brigade Award

Citygram

by City of Charlotte, NC and Code for Charlotte (https://www.citygram.org/charlotte)

Citygram is a notifications platform for subscribing to your city, whether it's foreclosures in your area or building permits along your commute. Sign up to find out about the things that matter to you where they matter to you.

Citygram is a web application that can be hooked up to your city's open data platform. To create the notifications, the application regularly checks for new data and transforms it into human speak according to a template you define.

Why they won

Have you ever walked past a construction site in your neighborhood and thought "I wonder what’s going in there?" Or come home from work to discover that a parking restriction is in place on your street?

Like most cities, Charlotte, North Carolina published information about land developments, rezoning decisions and traffic accidents on the City’s website, but not in a way accessible to most people, and certainly not in the moments and places when they’re needed the most.

Citygram, an app handed off from the Code for America fellowship that quickly grew into a true collaboration between the City of Charlotte and the Code for America Brigade, lets people subscribe to the kinds of information they’re interested in, choose the locations they’re interested in, and then automatically receive friendly, understandable updates. CityGram has successfully delivered more than 1.8 million updates.

But the true impact of Citygram’s implementation in Charlotte, and the reason it’s receiving this award, is that it shows what’s possible when government is willing to truly engage its community of tech-minded volunteers in the work of making their City more responsive.