What’s “civic tech” got to do with a cheap ornamental Buddha statue that managed to stop people from dumping trash? What’s it got to do with grafting fruit-bearing limbs onto ornamental sidewalk trees? Civic tech, after all, is technology used for civic benefits that usually entails data and software. #Smartcities #civictech
Two problems with civic tech products -- Generous volunteers build impressive software to improve life in a city. These projects spring from imagination that’s free of institutional boundaries, and to any users or city administers who want to use them, they’re just plain free. What could go wrong?
The secret sauce that's missing in so many complaints about transit service is supporting data. But soon there will be an app for that, at least in San Francisco. OpenTransit, now in alpha stage, running on public data, will provide transit users with the specific data they need to induce change.
Here's a theory I'm working on. Smart cities find a welcome duo in public projects and white-hat hackers. The hackers make apps that fill in the cracks where city administrators don't see or don't have time for. They can design, build, and propagate their wares unfettered by public expectations.