Ben SheldonBen Sheldon

Ben Sheldon is a web developer and community organizer. Ben directed the Digital Arts Service Corps, a national AmeriCorps*VISTA program, improving the capacity of community organizations to employ media arts and technology. A longtime resident of Boston, he developed online tools to facilitate education, economic development, and bicycle safety. Ben is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and the Institute for Nonprofit Management and Leadership at Boston University.

Posts by Ben

Put Your Civics Where Your Houseplant Is

Posted on by Ben Sheldon

The core assumption of engagement applications is that people will do an activity consistently and repeatedly if you just structure the experience and incentivize it correctly — even if it’s asinine.  The justification for civic engagement apps can be similarly foolish: people will perform a …

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Hard Data on the Status of Open311

Posted on by Ben Sheldon

open311status.herokuapp

With the recent announcement of 311 Labs and Code for America’s recent podcast featuring me talking about my perspective on Open311, this write-up about Open311Status is probably long overdue. Open311Status—still a work in progress–polls Open311 servers in 30 cities and …

Refactoring Success

Posted on by Ben Sheldon

“I don’t know how much more emphasized step 1 of refactoring could be: don’t touch anything that doesn’t have coverage. Otherwise, you’re not refactoring; you’re just changing shit.” – Hamlet D’Arcy It’s no secret that Agile and Lean methodologies have …

Educating Chicago

Posted on by Ben Sheldon

school-tiers

Chicago parents have a new tool for understanding the public school selection process: Chicago Public School Tiers, an app launched last week by Open City. The application is a perfect example of how independent civic developers can use open data …

Capturing the whole story in Chicago

Posted on by Ben Sheldon

taxi311

This weekend the Code for America fellows shipped out. As one of the four members on Team Chicago, I arrived at O’Hare on Saturday night with a month’s worth of luggage in tow and caught a taxi to what would …