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Jul 24, 2013 10:47 AM by Ryan Haarer

Code for Tucson: Taking the city digital

TUCSON - What if city government could be more efficient? In the digital age it's possible with the help of smartphone applications and updated computer programs.

It's called Code for Tucson, part of a nationwide initiative to create ideas that will better the community with technology. Gangplank Tucson is home to some of the city's most creative developers and will serve as idea central in this weekend's collaboration.

"It's exactly the kind of thing that we are looking to do here in Tucson is identify those creative, talented people, bring them together, find opportunities to invest and put them into an opportunity to grow their business and grow our local economy," said Justin Williams, founder of Startup Tucson.

In its first three months downtown, Gangplank has already seen it's share of successes in the tech world. But, Code for Tucson has a different goal.

"The space is benefitting the community by basically allowing people to come and learn about different things, to sort of serve as a catalyst to get their ideas out and to participate. So with code for Tucson, you can take your technology knowledge and actually apply that for civic good. That's a really interesting and cool idea," said Andrew Lenards, a drop-in member of Gangplank Tucson.

Code for America events have already seen success in other cities. In Boston an app helps parents find the best school for their kids. It's a program creators estimate would have cost taxpayers millions of dollars and taken much more time in the hands of local government.

"Most cities do have a problem. They have infrastructure and it's an understandable problem, they have infrastructure that they have to maintain and they have limited budgets so it's really hard to convince them to change things so we are hoping that we can form a partnership so we can do some of that work," said Dan Stormont, one of the event organizers.

It's not just city government the group plans to help. They are making partnerships with other Tucson organizations. So what's bothering you Tucson? If you have an idea or want to participate you can sign up at

http://www.startuptucson.com/codefortucson.

For more information on Gangplank visit: http://tucson.gangplankhq.com

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