I recently had the wonderful opportunity to publish two posts on the University of North Carolina School of Government Civic Engagement blog. The first presents a vision of what open budgets can and should be. The second lays out some practical guidelines for heading in that direction. Please check them out at the links below! … More Two Posts on Open Budgets
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
We’ve been pretty quiet the last couple months, but don’t be fooled – there’s a lot going on. Here’s a quick overview of some current activities: We submitted an application for the Code for America Summit Technology Awards – fingers crossed! We’re also at work right now on a Knight Prototype Grant application, so cross … More A Quick Update
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
Local government budgets reflect a community’s values and priorities, or at least they are supposed to. Unfortunately, the barriers to citizens’ ability to understand the issues at stake and to participate in the public conversation can be daunting. Budgets are complex and traditional budget processes rarely work well to allow ordinary people to contribute in … More Introducing the Budget App 2.0
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