What if you could pay for your street parking with an app on your smartphone? Or plan your commute to work using only streets with dedicated bike lanes? Or track your water consumption, live?
That’s where municipal government may be headed in this digital age. Those ideas were just some of those…
Early on in the CityCamp movement there was a fair amount of confusion about which “camps” to join and who should be partners. Some local organizers were frustrated by the number of groups forming in their area. They were experiencing a kind of social network fatigue. Others complained that people weren’t working closely enough together, weren’t coordinating efforts. Some had (have?) strong feelings about how the open source brand should be interpreted.
My answers then and now: 1) Join and partner with whatever feels right and is easy. 2) Yes, we are working together. It just doesn’t feel like what you are used to when it comes to collaboration and team work. 3) Don’t worry about it. Together we’ll do the right thing. There will be more good than bad, while everyone remains free as their will without judgement. That’s powerful. The reason for my answers is that CityCamp works like the Web.
CityCamp is a network within a network, the Internet. There are nodes and there are links between nodes and they all generally represent the same concept. Some nodes grow large. This is mostly because of the number of links that point to them and the quality of links to which they point. Some nodes die and links go dead. No one should take that personally and everyone should rejoice in the fact that it’s super easy to create new nodes and new links. Farm the fields that produce. In the end, we are all hyperlinks that point to the shared goal of using the Web for the good of better governance and community. We want that node to get huge and every time someone starts a CityCamp we point to it.
This idea that our behaviors model the Web has been on my mind often, lately. Sometimes I’m afraid of it. (Who on the Web hasn’t been freaked out by it?) Mostly I think this is all fantastic. CityCamp, like the Web, is an Architecture of Participation.
“Of all the things that made up the ‘gov 2.0’ meme, open data may be one of the most important. It’s a key part of government thinking like a platform player rather than an application provider.
At Code for America, the work ended up being about liberating data as much as about writing apps.
We’re just at the beginning of a really interesting new approach to government services.
So much can flow from so little. Consider how Google Transit began with outreach from the city of Portland to create GTFS, a standard format for transit data, which was subsequently adopted by other cities. Now you can get transit arrival times from Google, as well as from hundreds of smartphone apps, none of which needed to be written by city government.”- Tim O’Reilly
Last week, NPR listeners learned about “local Gov 2.0.” This weekend, civic applications and open data emerged further into the national consciousness with a widely syndicated new Associated Press story by Marcus Wohlsen, who reported that a “flood of government data fuels rise of city apps.
We live in interesting times.
Above quote via Tim O’Reilly on Google+.
Join us in DC in January for an unconference on transportation and technology. Plus, we’re excited to pass on news about TransportationCamp MTL in December
I’ve been advising one of the leading local governments in the US, Oakland County, Michigan (population 1.3 million), on their next-gen government strategy. This has included co-production, which they have cleverly combined with social media.
Recently they opened up a crowdsourcing site using…
Mark Kuznicki challenges City Campers
Juan-Pablo Velez offers his three take-aways from City Camp