Mark Headd recently published an excellent post on applying the principles of microservice architecture to the infrastructure of civic tech. I think the idea there is fundamentally correct and quite important. However, one paragraph and image in the post bothered me immediately and my brain has been gnawing at it ever since. Since a couple … More Some Thoughts on Mark Headd’s Thinking Small Post
It’s out! A fun interview with Eric Jackson of DemocracyApps and Tony McDowell of the City of Asheville about the Asheville budget app and the broader effort to make community budgets more accessible and to better engage citizens in the process. Reach out to us if you are interested in setting up a budget site … More GovLove Podcast on the Asheville Budget & DemocracyApps
GovLab has a good post about making data open for everyone, pointing out that a focus on making open data machine-readable, while important, isn’t good enough. It needs to be human-readable. I certainly agree with the point, but I would go further still. I think of opening data as a kind of ladder we must … More The Open Data Ladder
Better late than never – the 2015-2016 proposed budget for the City of Asheville, NC is up at avlbudget.org. The site is similar to last year’s (which you can still find here), but with a few improvements: The year-over-year change chart on the What’s New? page has been updated and also has a table version … More Budget App 2.0 Has Launched!
At a February talk about the Asheville budget project, I mentioned that the Asheville Citizen-Times iframed the site in their online edition and that it had dramatically increased our reach into the community. During Q&A, Asheville CIO Jonathan Feldman asked if it might have led visitors to believe the site was created by the Citizen-Times … More Budget 2.0 – Building for Partnership
After a great deal of discussion, we have decided that operating officially as a non-profit organization is much better aligned with our goals. We have not yet begun the legal process – we’ll start that after we get through the launch of the new local budget explorer for Asheville, so stay tuned.
McKinsey has a good conversation with Mike Flowers, former chief analytics officer of New York city. Flowers points out that there is much more to an effective open data initiative than just getting the information online. It is critical also to: Overcome cultural and political barriers within the government, barriers that are more than just … More The Technology Part is the Easy Part: Lessons from NYC’s Open Data Efforts
A few months ago I wrote The News Gap: Rethinking the Role of Local News. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do next and was exploring journalism as one possible option. DemocracyApps wasn’t yet even a conscious spark in my imagination, but in retrospect it’s clear that I was well on … More The Democracy Gap: Stories of Civic Possibility
On May 2, 2007, CNN.com editors felt readers should know about the latest Bush veto, as well as about contaminated feed that could affect farms nationwide. Readers disagreed, preferring to learn about Britney Spears’ sexy stage comeback and why Joan Baez was banned from a concert at Walter Reed Hospital. This kind of disconnect fuels … More The News Gap: Rethinking the Role of Local News