Heading into the second decade of the 21st century, we constantly hear about how social media, geolocation, mobile apps and similar technological innovations are changing the way we interact with each other. But how are they changing the way we interact with our governments (particularly local governments)? Are they offering new opportunities for civic engagement? Are they changing the way residents view their role in local government, creating new opportunities for citizen involvement? Or are they cementing old ideas of citizens as customers by facilitating the delivery of government services?
These questions are of particular interest to those of us at the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership as we seek to help solve public problems by promoting citizen's participation in governance. We have created this blog to provide up-to-date information relating to what is being called "Government 2.0." We hope what you find here will help local governments and their residents make the most of the technology available for genuine citizen engagement.
New to Gov 2.0? Check out our foundational documents »
Three mobile applications from around the world have made it to the final round of the New Cities Foundation’s AppMyCity contest:
- PublicStuff, from New York City, USA, helps local governments turn civic inquiries into tangible community improvements, by enabling residents to connect to their representatives through mobile phones, laptops, and tablets.
- BuzzJourney, from Kfar-Saba, Israel, is a social transportation app that provides information on all means of urban transportation including bus, train, taxi, bike rental and even car sharing
- Walkability, from Delhi, India, crowd-sources data on walkability to inform the government on how to create more pedestrian-friendly urban spaces.
You can read more about the contest here.
An interesting project at the Ash Center of Harvard’s Kennedy School directed by Stephen Goldsmith looks at how open data is changing the face of government in a variety of areas including public safety, civic engagement, public works, and health and human services:
Data-Smart City Solutions is working to catalyze local government efforts to more effectively solve local problems through the use of integrated, cross-agency data combined with community data to better discover and preemptively address civic problems. The initiative is designed to offer city leaders a national depository of working analytics methodologies and to connect leading industry, academic, and government officials in the field.
You can explore the website and featured projects here.