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‘WRITE-A-THON’ BUILDS NEW CITIZEN-CENTRIC CITY WEBSITE

 

(July 28, 2012)—Mayor Peter Carlisle today joined City information technology professionals and citizen participants for a unique “Write-a-thon” to create content for the new Honolulu Answers website that provides easy-to-find information about the City and County of Honolulu.

 

The new site is at http://answers.honolulu.gov .

 

“Our new Honolulu Answers site is designed to be simple, resident-focused and easy to use,” Carlisle said. “Some great people have pitched in to help formulate clear, helpful answers to common questions.”

 

Today’s event, sponsored by the City and nonprofit Code for America, brought participants together at The Greenhouse Innovation Hub in Kakaako to examine topics that people frequently seek information about when they call the City or search the City’s main website, such as driver license renewals, camping permits, and garbage collection.

 

The result is a comprehensive citizen-focused website that provides straightforward, non-technical answers like those a person would expect to receive from a friend or neighbor. Users can browse a variety of topics and type in questions or key words to receive answers.

 

“My Code for America colleagues and I hope that Honolulu Answers helps build a stronger relationship between the community and City Hall,” said Sheba Najmi, a 2012 Code for America fellow who has been working with the City since January. “Working in such a forward-thinking city with such passionate and innovative public servants is truly inspiring.”

   

The new site will be continually expanded and updated, and will be linked to additional sources of information. The sites will also soon be accessible on smart phones.

 

“We have a wonderful community here in Hawaii that is always eager to help out when called upon,” said City Information Technology Deputy Director Forest Frizzell. “Couple that with great co-working places in Kakaako and it creates a mechanism for civic engagement and government innovation.”

 

Carlisle has continually emphasized the use of new technology to make City government more transparent, responsive and efficient. Honolulu was a first-place winner in the 10th anniversary Digital Cities Survey conducted last year by the Center for Digital Government and its Digital Communities Program.

 

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Media contacts: Dept. of Information Technology Deputy Director Forest Frizzell, 768-7806;

Lauren Reid, Code for America, 415-200-9468.