MyPB Wins 2 Awards from NYC’s Mayor

We built MyPB.community for Participatory Budget Project to display six years of NYC participatory budgeting proposals. Users can search by address, apply multiple filters, and view all data on maps, in charts, and export to CSV and PDF. The app won two awards from the Mayor’s Office: the Mayor’s Civics Award for the project that […]

Building MyGov.NYC

myGov.nyc integrates public datasets and information resources together into a single data-driven website that gives New Yorkers a more complete understanding of how New York City’s agencies turn resources into actions that benefit New Yorkers. Its innovative backend allows users to connect data together even if it comes from different APIs and in different formats.

MyGov.nyc Offers New Yorkers a More Transparent City, with a Page for Every Capital Project

Few things impact the lives of New Yorkers more than the city’s “capital projects.” These projects create, maintain, and improve the infrastructure New Yorkers use every day, including: streets, bridges, tunnels, sewers, parks, and so much more. In 2018, the capital budget will be $16.2 billion, approximately 17% the size of the city’s $85.2 billion […]

SimCity Showed Us Brilliant Civic Technology Interfaces 30 Years Ago. Let’s Build Them.

I was eight years old when I first encountered a computer game called “SimCity.” The general premise of the game was that you were the mayor of a virtual city, and you would use game money to create a place for communities of “Sims” to live. First you set up basic infrastructure like roads, pipes, […]

Disaster Preparedness Requires a 211 System. New York City Still Doesn’t Have One.

Over the last few weeks, New Yorkers have watched with great anxiety as Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, among many other places, were pummeled by massive hurricanes. Whenever we see storm destruction, memories of Sandy re-enter our consciousness; as does the question: Is New York City significantly better prepared for the next big one? My […]

Presenting the “Open Aid Movement” at the Open Source Bridge Conference

“Open source” is a method for putting intellectual property in the public domain, allowing anyone to use it however they see fit. I’m an advocate of the “open source way” because I believe that if more people shared intellectual property of all types – whether its farming techniques, software code, music, etc – then we’ll […]

How to Run Collaborative Projects That Don’t Fall Prey to Bureaucracy

Today, when people call something “bureaucratic,” they usually mean that in a negative sense, but bureaucracy didn’t always have this negative connotation. About 100 years ago when many professional bureaucracies were being built, they were seen as a means of bringing quality control, predictability, and integrity to administrations. But bureaucracy has taken on a life of its […]

When Platform Co-ops are Seen, What Goes Unseen?

If you’re involved with the “cooperative community” on social media, you’ve probably heard a lot about platform cooperatives in recent years. The vision is simple: what if Uber or AirBnb were owned by its users, who could share decision-making responsibility and profits among themselves? Instead of being exploited by platforms, users could and should be […]

What is “Municipalism”?

The definition of “municipalism” is still up for grabs. If you Google the word you’ll be given a snippet from Wikipedia about “libertarian municipalism”,  a compelling but very specific utopian political philosophy of Murray Bookchin. Surely “municipalism” can and should mean something more. Over the last fifty years, the percentage of people around the globe living in urban areas has increased from 30% to […]