(Photo courtesy of NYU Poly)
Next week, technologists who care about the way that innovation can make cities better, stronger and more livable for everyone (not just the tech scene), will descend on Philadelphia for Technical.ly’s Rise conference.
One topic that will come up over the course of the two days is transparency in government. If that’s a topic you’re interested in, have a look at Technical.ly Philly’s story about the departure of Mark Headd from the City of Philadelphia. He was the city’s first Chief Data Officer, and his story is illustrative of the fact that in some fights within government, sometimes the existing bureaucracy wins.
Here in Brooklyn, we’ve followed ways in which technologists are opening up data, whether government likes it or not. From the first civic hack night we visited, where data experts looked for ways around, for example, the NYPD’s insistence on sharing information in cumbersome, non-searchable PDFs, we’ve seen talented technologists opening up public information.
- Significance Labs built a mobile workaround for applying for food stamps, prying open access for the city’s many food-insecure.
- Brooklyn Atlantis is putting the job of understanding just how dangerous the Gowanus Canal is into the hands of the people.
- Elected leaders respond to the issues that people bring them. If some communities are more silent than others, they get less attention. That’s why HeartGov is giving New Yorkers that are less likely to have cell phones an easier way of reaching their city council member.
- Chris Whong shows that when a government agency releases a pool of data, the right way of using it can just be really interesting, if nothing else. Check out what he did with taxi data.
- Visual artist Karen Schoellkopf will be sharing her historical scavenger hunt project the Seven Deadly Sins of Times Square, which used open data to power its discovery.
On the other side of this conversation, however, some data is sensitive. Downtown’s NYU Poly is one of the leaders in training digital Spartans to defend the public’s information against the hordes of Internet invaders.
If this is a conversation that you’d like to have more of in real life, consider taking the train to Philadelphia and taking part in Rise next week. (There’s a discount code for you up at the top right.)
Rise is sponsored by Comcast, the Fels Institute of Government, the Knight Foundation and NYU Poly.
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