AP covers Gov 2.0 and open government in US cities as citizensourcing grows

QR Codes on NYC building permits

Mayor Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Operations Goldsmith and Buildings Commissioner LiMandri announced the use of Quick Response (QR) codes on all Department of Buildings permits, providing New Yorkers with instant access to information related to buildings and construction sites throughout New York City.

As people who follow this blog know well, there’s a new movement afoot to make government work better through technology. This week, Samantha Gross covered the trend for the Associated Press, publishing a widely syndicated piece on how cities are using tech to cull ideas from citizens. In the private sector, leveraging collective intelligence is often called crowdsourcing. In open government, it’s citizensourcing — and in cities around the country, the approach is gaining traction:

Government officials tout such projects as money-savers that increase efficiency and improve transparency. Citizen advocates for the programs argue they offer something deeper — an opportunity to reignite civic responsibility and community participation.

In some ways, the new approach is simply a high-tech version of an old concept, says Ben Berkowitz, the CEO of SeeClickFix, which helps citizens post pothole-type complaints and track whether they’ve been addressed.

“It’s participatory democracy,” he says. “Open government … is something that was laid out by Thomas Jefferson pretty early on. This is just a way to realize that vision.”

Efforts towards open government in the United States remain in beta. It’s early days yet for all of these trends. On this day, however, it’s good news for the community that the AP reported a “Gov 2.0″ approach took off in Manor, Texas because of financial concerns.

As Gross reported, city officials in Manor “decided they wanted to engage residents and beef up services beyond the means of their modest budget.” The approaches they chose to tap into the local civic surplus, including ideation platforms, QR codes and open source publishing, have been widely documented. Over the past month, QR codes and citizensourcing have been adopted in New York City.

Below, one of the officials – former Manor CIO Dustin Haisler – talks about what Manor did to implement Gov 2.0, speaking from a business perspective:

There’s a long road ahead for citizens, government and technology. This story in the Associated Press, however, will means that a few more citizens will be aware that change is afoot.

Alexander B. Howard is a DC-based a technology writer and editor. Previously, he was the Washington Correspondent at O'Reilly Media, where he covered the voices, technologies and issues that matter in the intersection of government, technology and society. If you're feeling social, you can follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook or circle him on Google Plus In addition to corresponding for the O’Reilly Radar, he has contributed to the Huffington Post, Govfresh, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, National Journal, The Atlantic, CBS News and Forbes. He graduated from Colby College with a bachelor's degree in biology and sociology. Currently, he is a resident of the District of Columbia, where he lives with his greyhound, wife, power tools, plants and growing collection of cast iron pans, many of which are frequently used to pursue his passion for good cooking.

About Alex Howard

Alexander B. Howard is a DC-based a technology writer and editor. Previously, he was the Washington Correspondent at O'Reilly Media, where he covered the voices, technologies and issues that matter in the intersection of government, technology and society. If you're feeling social, you can follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook or circle him on Google Plus In addition to corresponding for the O’Reilly Radar, he has contributed to the Huffington Post, Govfresh, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, National Journal, The Atlantic, CBS News and Forbes. He graduated from Colby College with a bachelor's degree in biology and sociology. Currently, he is a resident of the District of Columbia, where he lives with his greyhound, wife, power tools, plants and growing collection of cast iron pans, many of which are frequently used to pursue his passion for good cooking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>