New York City Sees Its Future as a Data Platform


This action is admirable. It shows foresight and courage, in the face of what will almost inevitably be peppered with false starts and mistakes.

The ‘data driven’ enterprise may be forthcoming, but it will be (in most cases) developed and consumed in private by the enterprise itself.


Citizen Apps to Solve Complex Urban Problems



Tackling complex urban problems requires us to examine and leverage diverse sources of information. Today, cities capture large amounts of information in real-time. Data are captured on transportation patterns, electricity and water consumption, citizen use of government services (e.g., parking meters), and even on weather events. Through open data initiatives, government agencies are making information available to citizens. In turn, citizens are building applications that exploit this information to solve local urban problems. Citizens are also building platforms where they can share information regarding government services. Information that was previously unavailable is now being used to gauge quality of services, choose services, and report illegal and unethical behaviors (e.g., requesting bribes). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper to examine the range of citizen applications (“citizen apps”) targeting urban issues and to address their effects on urban planning, decision-making, problem solving, and governance. We examine citizen apps that address a wide range of urban issues from those that solve public transportation challenges to those that improve the management of public utilities and services and even public safety.

Kevin C. Desouza & Akshay Bhagwatwar (2012). Citizen Apps to Solve Complex Urban Problems. Journal of Urban Technology.


Exploring data analysis: Palo Alto looks to use open data to embrace ‘city as a platform’ -- O'Reilly Radar


“The city of Palo Alto in California joined over a dozen cities around the United States and globe when it launched its own open data platform.

The city initially published open datasets that include the 2010 census data, pavement condition, city tree locations, park locations,…

A new Partnership to make our Cities Smarter


You hear a lot of people talking about “smart cities” these days. That may not mean anything to you. Maybe you never thought your city was “dumb”?

Well, let’s see. In your city, do you think people consume too much, and waste unnecessary energy and resources? Is there too much traffic? Do you want to help the environment, but don’t know the best way? Or are you fed up with not having information at your fingertips about urban services, and not having the power to improve them?

Well, you probably answered yes to at least one of those questions. And by that definition, maybe your city isn’t quite dumb – but it could probably be a little smarter.

For me, smart cities are about using ICT to make your life better, and greener.

hungry for life: Survival Guide to Your First Hackathon


Last weekend, I attended my first ever hackathon and with minimal expectation, had a blast out of it and learned loads. My team did not win, nor did most of us slept at the event, but everyone got a lot out of it.

The Hackathon, DevelopHer, was organized by LinkedIn, claimed to be the…

Ash Blankenship: Why cities should choose crowdsourcing


Crowdsourcing is not like outsourcing. As a community-based initiative, crowdsourcing fosters ideas and strengthens communities by bringing neighbors and strangers together for a shared enterprise. New York City has begun using this model to influence change with its government initiatives and…

5 Eco-Friendly Apps That Could Change City Living


Mashable posted a slideshow on the winning apps from Reinvent Green.  The article raised an encouraging point: “The apps created during the hackathon are focused on New York, but could be adapted to work for any metropolitan area.”  This is a fantastic example of how the NYC tech community gathered and set the precedent for other cities big and small.