Adopt-a-Hydrant is a web application that allows citizens to "adopt" civic infrastructure, such as fire hydrants that need to be shoveled out after it snows. The Adopt-a-Hydrant program allows residents to go to a website, enter an address, and choose a hydrant to shovel from their specified geographic area. To motivate residents to volunteer, the program incorporates game dynamics like having the option to name your hydrant, and “steal” ownership of a hydrant if the shoveling is not done.
The project started in 2011 when Erik Michael-Ober was a Code for America Fellow, partnered with the City of Boston. Launched in January 2012, Adopt-a-Hydrant is a map-based web app that allows citizens to claim responsibility for shoveling a fire hydrant after a snowstorm. The project was developed by Michael-Ober while working in the Boston Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics in partnership with the Boston Fire Department It was created in response to firefighters having difficulties quickly accessing, and using, a fire hydrant buried under snow. Residents who shovel their own walkways are not responsible for shoveling hydrants, and the municipality does not have the resources to check and shovel every hydrant between one heavy snowfall and the next.
Description of the participants
Civic-minded Boston residents.
The City of Boston has over 13,000 fire hydrants, which are mapped.
That Adopt-a-Hydrant continues to grow and spread, as it has every year since I created it.