DC's Digital Public Square
BY Dave Witzel | Friday, October 24 2008
Yesterday Nancy Scola gave a great overview of the "Apps for Democracy" challenge. The contest is a way to promote and enhance the amazing, real-time, data catalog the District of Columbia has made available to the public.
In September, Washington DC's CTO, Vivek Kundra spoke at an event hosted by Forum One called Web Sites Without Walls: Influential Strategies for Data and Content Syndication. In his talk he points out that 80% of what government does is public yet government tends to guard data and argue why it should be withheld. When government data is made available, it tends to be late, incomplete, and difficult to use.
Kundra went on to describe DC's version of Jefferson's concept of the "public square," a modern "digital public square," where data is available to for-profit and non-profit organizations and government workers have modern technology tools to support their work. The Fenty administration's vision of an open, participatory government where citizens can hold government responsible using current data is refreshing and exciting.
Here are Kundra's slides with audio - a well-spent 12 minutes. After you get pysched up by this talk, go ahead and join the Apps for Democracy contest.