Peace Corps For Geeks

An eager army of programmers is creating apps to help tech-starved cities--and their residents

Cody Pickens for TIME

From left, Cris Cristina, Richa Agarwal and Sheila Dugan are fellows at Oakland's city hall.

The Gumbo is great, and the nightlife is even better, but let's face it: no one is ever going to mistake New Orleans for a tech hub. But that's exactly why Amir Reavis-Bey knew he could make a difference in the Crescent City. In 2012, Reavis-Bey left a well-paying job as an investment-banking technologist in New York City to join Code for America, a fledgling nonprofit group that puts civic-minded techies to work in city governments around the country. He felt some culture shock at first--the tech infrastructure "was very different than in New York, to say the least," he notes--but...

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