More than 1,500 attended a technology conference at Los Angeles City Hall this weekend to watch seminars, build new apps, and meet city officials. The event coincided with the launch of two new city websites, an open data portal and a performance dashboard website for Mayor Eric Garcetti that uses statistics to showcase the work he’s doing for the city.
The city’s new open data portal contains access to more than 200 data sets and follows a mayoral directive issued to city agencies less than six months ago. During the conference, Garcetti held the inaugural meeting of a new council on technology and innovation to discuss the city’s technology economy, how to attract startups, and how technology could be used to improve life in the city.
Seminars hosted at the conference included topics like big data, the tech economy, self-driving vehicles, and the digital divide.
The city billed the event as being the first of its kind hosted at City Hall, and that sentiment was mirrored in the reaction of some critics, who said this kind of technological and civic engagement by the city mayor’s office was long overdue, the LA Times reported.
About 30 groups participated in a 24-hour hackathon themed around civic engagement. The winners of the contest were four high-school students who built an app that allows homeless shelters to report what goods and services they need so that restaurants and volunteer groups can contribute and donate appropriately.