Louisville, Kentucky's chief technology officer works with the Code for America Brigade captain every day. That sounds to me like a good way to start building a smart city. But there's more to it than that. “My job is to help us chart the course forward” for what he sees as the new IT. If as the metaphor goes, data is the new oil, or technology is the new steam engine, or “smart” is the new “rich and famous,” Ed Blayney has just sprung the gate. This former second-in-command of an Army infantry company in Afghanistan says civic tech's not going away.
Many people by now have resigned themselves to the ways of smart because they like the features. But smart cities are still new and mysterious, even a little bit unsettling. A friend asked me, "What's a smart city?" I give her the standard spiel about smooth traffic, sustainable garbage, on-demand this and that. She rolls her eyes. "Another top-down miracle," she says in disgust. What's it going to take to win widespread trust?
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?
If any app gets just 15 minutes of fame out of the box, shouldn’t those who promote it rank marketing up there with programming — especially when there’s no money for promotion, such as in projects by low-budget, volunteer-run civic-tech groups?