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How New York City Might Do to Government what Obama Did to Campaigning

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, February 28 2013

Photo: Trodel / Flickr

The same idea that revolutionized Barack Obama's 2012 presidential campaign is now being put to use in New York City government. Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently announced that Mike Flowers, director of analytics the mayor's Office of Policy and Strategic Planning, has a new title: chief analytics officer. In an interview, Flowers tells us the role change comes from the growing importance of cross-agency collaboration in the digital city. Read More

Is New York City The Best Place In the World For Open Data? We Find Out March 7

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, February 22 2013

City Council discretionary funding, 2009-2013, built on city data. Source: Gothamist

Last year, the New York City Council passed a bill touted as a groundbreaking step forward for open data that would make New York a leader among 21st-century cities. On March 7, city officials will have their first chance to show whether they're up to the challenge. Read More

New York City's New "Code Corps," A Volunteer Force of Techies in Disaster Response

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, February 14 2013

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a new initiative called Code Corps in his State of the City address today, billed as the country's first municipal program that brings volunteer technologists to bear on city government's emergency and disaster recovery needs. Read More

New York City Officials Announce a New Dashboard for Municipal Spending

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, January 23 2013

A recent version of Checkbook NYC 2.0

Much of New York City's financial data will be available in a newly searchable, machine-readable, programmatically accessible form through a new web application, New York City Comptroller John C. Liu was scheduled to announce this morning. Read More

New York's Chelsea Neighborhood Is the Latest Free Public Wifi Experiment

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, January 8 2013

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was on hand this morning to announce free wifi covering all the outdoor areas in a stretch of Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, from Eighth Avenue west and from Gansevoort Street to 19th Street.

The announcement is the latest in a patchwork of city gestures towards the idea that Internet access has transformed from luxury to necessity.

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Michael Bloomberg Wants You to Design New York City's Payphone of the Future

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, December 7 2012

New York City's new payphones may be so different that the term "payphone" will no longer apply, according to Rahul Merchant, the city's chief information and innovation officer. The city has launched a contest calling for new ways to use the payphone's connectivity and power source as a way for citizens to access information and navigate the city using modern technology. Read More

How Participatory Budgeting Is Transforming the Way New York Funds Neighborhood Projects

BY Joe Maniscalco | Tuesday, August 28 2012

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Usually, when it comes time to fund capital improvement projects in large municipalities like New York City, it’s local elected officials who ultimately decide how taxpayer money is spent in their districts.

Last year, however, following prior success in Chicago, democracy-minded groups like the Participatory Budgeting Project and Community Voices Heard convinced four New York City Council members to hand over the purse strings to their constituents through a process called participatory budgeting.

Here's what the city has learned so far, and how some City Council districts will continue an expanded experiment with the system this year.

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New York City to Offer Free Wireless Internet Access at Payphones

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, July 11 2012

(credit: DoITT)

New Yorkers will be able to access free, unlimited WiFi through pay phone locations as part of a pilot program launched by the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, the agency announced today. Read More

Five Ways New York City is Changing its Broadband Policy

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, June 21 2012

In a broad announcement today first unveiled by New York City Deputy Mayor Robert K. Steel, city officials rolled out a series of initiatives designed to widen the availability of broadband Internet access in the city. Read More

New York City Just Radically Changed Who Manages Its IT Projects

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, April 24 2012

For the first time, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's New York City now has a single person responsible for overseeing all of its information technology operations.

Rahul N. Merchant, a former executive at financial services and technology firms, starts today as New York City's first chief information and innovation officer, the city announced. Merchant will report directly to the mayor and will be responsible for the city's IT infrastructure, making him in effect the alpha and omega for city IT across all agencies. Previously, one city department — the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications — was responsible for maintaining many core IT projects, such as a city wireless network and an ongoing project to consolidate data servers, but agency IT operations were more independent. Merchant will oversee information technology development and management across all city agencies.

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