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Podcast: The Power of ‘CivicTech’ to Involve People in Civic Affairs

A movement to empower citizens through technology takes root in Newark and Jersey City

While we're on winter hiatus we'll be publishing podcasts of some of the most compelling and challenging sessions from our October NJ Spotlight On Cities conference, as well as a podcast diary of a colleague who is struggling with breast cancer.

The CivicTech movement has had an exciting few years as national organizations like Code For America and their local counterparts have worked to involve ordinary citizens in their communities through technology tools. Our NJ Spotlight On Cities panel on CivicTech — described by moderator Heather Taylor as “the intersection of government, politics, democracy, and technology” — provides you a primer on the subject as well as a look at exciting projects currently underway in New Jersey.

Panelists were Isaiah "Zay" Little, brigade captain at Code For Newark and program manager for Office of Information Technology for the City of Newark; Akisia Grigsby, founding partner, Open JC; and Sharad Hegde, director of engineering at Open JC. Taylor, manager of Digital Media & Programs of the Dow Jones News Fund, moderated.


CivicTech is all about public participation, and we want to bring that spirit to NJ Spotlight On Cities. We’re just starting to plan our event for next fall, and we want to know what you think we should be talking about. What exciting things are New Jersey cities doing to reenergize for the future? Is there a particular project that’s worth showcasing? An organization that’s doing important work that more people need to know about? Tell us about it by emailing us at

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