BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, September 4 2013
Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribersIs Washington too obsessed with itself to gauge public opinion on Syria correctly?; Al Gore's incredibly shrinking climate change group; and the best executive director monthly report you've ever seen; plus much, much more. Read More
BY Sam Roudman | Friday, August 9 2013
Boston’s office of New Urban Mechanics is a model for other cities looking to provide more and better service with less cash. By taking advantage of mobile technologies, bridging long siloed departments, and engaging civic minded tech entrepreneurs and academics, the department, under the direction of Mayor Thomas Menino has had its hand in an array of projects in the past years, from figuring out how to repurpose 19th century fire boxes for the digital age, to testing online games to inform city planning. A list of projects doesn’t really get at what actually makes New Urban Mechanics tick but a new case study from Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society just might. Read More
BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, October 5 2012
Boston's office of New Urban Mechanics is hiring former Code for America Fellow Michael Evans as its first in-house developer as it seeks to build out a team of "civic technologists." Evans, 32, starts his new job in ... Read More
BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, October 3 2012
When Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter announced on Monday that Philadelphia will get a new arm of city government called the Office of New Urban Mechanics, he was signing on to a sizable experiment in how government is supposed to work.
Nutter's administration is emulating a program Boston City Hall put in place two years ago to find innovative — you might also say "untested" — ideas and see if they can make government work better. The Boston Office of New Urban Mechanics is just a handful of people led by Nigel Jacob, a former programmer, and Chris Osgood, a city official who came to Boston after a stint at New York City's Department of Parks and Recreation. Their job is to help those new solutions to old problems navigate the often tricky hallways of city bureaucracy.Read More
BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, October 2 2012
Inspired by Boston, the city of Philadelphia is establishing its own Office of New Urban Mechanics, said the city's Mayor Michael Nutter late Monday at the Code for America Summit.
"New Urban Mechanics Philadelphia is a nimble and entrepreneurial government outfit," Nutter said during a Monday afternoon speech in San Francisco. "It is piloting and prototyping small innovative projects in the civic space, which along with efforts of individuals across multiple city departments, will better enable our city to sustain a culture of innovation and entrepreneurial approaches to problem-solving."Read More
BY Nick Judd | Thursday, April 21 2011
Cities across the country seek to lay the groundwork for innovative third parties to build on, based on the premise that city government is too inflexible or narrow-minded to be the best host for ground-breaking work. ... Read More