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Data / Municipal government / Year in review

DC tries to get its open gov mojo back: No. 4 #dctech trend of 2016

The city government revived some old practices and tried some new things this year.

As the year draws to a close we’re looking back at all that has happened in #dctech — this post is part of our 2016 year in review series. See the full list here.

At the beginning of 2016, Matt Bailey, still in his erstwhile role at D.C. gov, told that “D.C. was a one-time epicenter of open data, but then in recent years momentum got lost.” But, he added, the District government was trying to get its groove back.
In 2016 D.C. gov published a new draft open data policy which, in the spirit of openness, was made available for public comment via the site Madison. Mayor Muriel Bowser picked a new city CTO in Archana Vemulapalli, finally filling the role that ultimately oversees a lot of the governments open data and open gov work. And Bowser also revived Mayor Gray’s Open Gov Advisory Group — a cross-disciplinary group of individuals that includes a lot of local civic hackers.
But with all this infrastructure movement in the open gov space, we at had one recurring concern — what does “open” really mean? That is, open for whom? And to what end?
Hearteningly, in a post to Medium in JuneJoshua Tauberer (one of the public members of the Open Gov Advisory Group) touched on this issue. “In addition to transparency and participation, the group will likely form a working group to improve the understandability of government information, maybe including civic literacy and data literacy,” he wrote. “I’m excited to see the group focus on making transparency meaningful.”
We are, too. And we’re excited to see this continue in 2017.

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